I have had a lovely weekend. I spent Friday night in the green room at the People’s Theatre drinking lovely day with lovely people and my lovely wife. They’re a great crowd at the theatre and I think I may have made a few new friends.
On Saturday I realised the perhaps the lovely beer had been too lovely and I drank too much of it. So I spend Saturday largely in bed holding onto my head and then eating a very lovely large Domino’s Pizza. In the evening we watched the film: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The film was very good and deserved all the plaudits it had received.
On Sunday after a night of heavy rain the garden was cool and wet: perfect weather for gardening. I have largely neglected the garden during the period of PhD writing up. It was an absolute Delight working in the garden, reminding me how much I enjoy it. Ann made a lovely Bolognese and we then watched the last episode of the excellent docudrama about Norman Scott and Jeremy Thorpe: A Very English Scandal.
All in all a cracking weekend. Poor Amn got a bad cold..
So, RHS Chelsea is over and I wish I had been able to go. On the other hand the BBC provided truly excellent and comprehensive coverage. I drove Ann mad watching the hour long show every day, although often the next morning or late at night, but it was excellent in HD. So.. what did I like, well my favourite gardens were:
The Brontës’ Yorkshire Garden
The Brewin Dolphin Garden
Homebase Teenage Cancer Trust Garden
The Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden
But in many ways it’s the themes, the visits to the Pavilion and the lovely range of flowers and plants that I find most appealing and that’s why next year I shall be going.
Last week was 3 days at home working hard, with a seminar at Sheffield Hallam University by the CILT on the recession (but as usual became a row about bus regulation), then 2 days in Newcastle at the Industrial Research Strategy Group presenting on freight modal shift and it’s decline as crown on EUfreight transport policy. Then Saturday I was up at 7.30 and did some full on gardening, tipping and sorting my compost bins, some great compost from there, and all from teabags and vegetable clippings and cardboard! Beds nicely rejuvenated after I discarded the broad beans that had died of chocolate spot and the cauliflowers that had frankly been frozen and thawed so many times that all but 3 were rotten. Colected my parcels from the Post Office, 2 nice new pairs of trousers, a copy of a Zombies: A Field Guide, and True20: Revised Edition. Sunday was an aching day for me, but we got our act together and went and bought a Pussy Willow tree, a Virgina creeper and a sieve to sieve the remaining compost of the not-quite ready bits of cardboard.. Then a good shop at Asda and home. We’ve been watching Sopranos quite intensively. We finished Season 3 last week and started Season 4 this weekend.
I have been reading Games of Thrones by George RR Martin and (despite the fact that everyone else read it 14 years ago) have really got into it. Will not buy into the current rpg, but I so would like to play it at a con or locally.. hint hint. I have been reading OpenQuest, which is a very nice lighter (it’s not LITE) version of the RuneQuest I played for so many years. I running adventures set in the Savage North at Cons all year, and I am looking forward to it. I also bought and read the Dungeon of the Bear, the classic T&T dungeon from the mists of time.. Wow! What an amazing artefact of it’s time. Traps, puzzles, swinging doors, utterly inexplicable locked rooms containing 3 orcs who must somehow be in suspended animation to have survived in there. I’ve never run T&T as a GMed game, so I have madly offered it as a game for the March21st TomCon, with Savage North as the alternative. I suspect I may need to re-acquaint myself with the rules. True20 calls me as ever, offering the lost hope of a class/level/d20 rpg that is playable, flexible and doesn’t set my hackles up.. I have already bought more rpgs this year than I will run in 5, so nothing new there, but I hope to sell on quite a few at the Con-Quest bring and buy stall, or ebay if needed.
The weather improves, I have trays of seedlings popping up all over a table in Matt’s room, and having cleared the back bed the weekend before last all look good for the spring garden. It’ll be time to brush off the Leica and Canon and get out for some photography.
Monday-Wednesday. Tried to read for work and instead worked at all the management stuff that stops me being a proper academic! Thursday. Went round to Martin H at night and played 2 good games of Carcassonne. I love Carcassonne. Friday. Put loads of stuff on ebay, my friend Ian N came ane we hot tubbed until late. Ann was unwell and had to go to bed. Saturday. Bubble wrapped greenhouse, Ann and I got cold but greenhouse got warm. Played ‘Who wants to be a Miillionaire" on the Wii with Ann and crashed to bed early. Today skidded and slid and ended up at the bottom of the hill. 3.5hours of shovelling later, entire estate snow free. Feel like very civic minded Heracles. Then planted seeds for germination, planted two tubs of bulbs and laid out a survey for Ann’s consultancy.
Just finished a long weekend’s gardening which has been very enjoyable and productive. The Hozelock Aquapod system worked very well watering the greenhouse whilst we were away, admittedly some plants may be a little moister than they needed: tomatoes, and some drier: cucumbers, but overall it worked excellently. The hanging baskets should have probably gone to stay with a neighbour, but after a good trim by Ann and repeated soakings in water they look to be recovering. Most things are growing very well, at last my sweet peas are peering out from behind the lilies I mistakenly planted them behind. The marigolds (dwarf) are blooming in profusion, the petunias are starting to flower, the pansies are resplendent and just next to the house the first California poppies are making a show. The raspberries are beautifully ripe, the apple trees have fruit (which I have thinned a little) and my runner beans and climbing French beans are doing well. The balcony is full of deep red and yellow lilies and the aliums have finished flowering and have become artistic globes of drying seed heads.
In the greenhouse the tomatoes are growing well, maybe I little slower than last year, but flowering well, which is earlier than last, so that’s good. I have a sea of green in the pepper department and the two cucumber plants are really going for it. On the raised beds I had a cornucopia of lettuce which I harvested and have shared amongst the neighbours (the cornucopia of cabbage was before the holiday) and I have today sown carrots, peas, lettuce, radish, cress and some basil. My red onions are huge and close to harvesting, so I’ll pop some beetroot into their slot, and the new rows of cabbage are already looking deep green and close to being good to eat. The mesh net isn’t that great at keeping cabbage white butterlies out but at least once they’re in they never get out again.. I harvested 4 potato plants and we’ve had delicious new potatoes yesterday and today, and my courgettes, dwarf beans and sweetcorn look good. Obviously I mowed the lawn, and did a feed and weed. I could do some more weeding but I’ve done the veg beds and the worse weeds in the flower beds so that’s all for now.
All in all, a great gardening weekend..
Got up and gardened all day today and yesterday. Cleared nettles, cut down brambles, trimmed hedge with my eldest’s trimmers. Then planted out winter pansies and put down crocus bulbs. There are lots more things to be done and much more clearance, but I feel that I put in a good 12 hours productive gardening. Compost bin totally full, as is the ‘green recycling bin’ so goodness knows where the next lot of green stuff is going to go.
Got to work now, then the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ results show and a couple of episodes of Silent Witness before bed. Off to lecture to lecture tomorrow.
Oh, and I shaved my moustache off when in Belgium last week and both Ann and Matthew say they prefer it.. wow. I have had a ‘tache for 28 years!
I am watching ‘Tales of Earthsea‘, the latest Studio Ghibli film based on some part of the Ursula K LeGuin books. I loved the books, they opened the doors to non-Tolkien fantasy in a much better way than Moorcock. Sad to say, 60 minutes in and I suspect this as duff a film as the IMDB reviews suggest and LeGuin hints herself on her webpages. It wasn’t made by Hayao Miyazaki and isn’t patch on other masterpieces such as Nausicaa, Laputa or Kiki’s Delivery Service. Very sad.
Over the last week I have realised that there is no way I can afford to heat my greenhouse, save to stop the frost. I have moved all the seedlings and propagation indoors. I have created and planted a bulb area in my borders, and realised that my problem is that we have no topsoil. Since I am building my raised beds soon and they will need topsoil, I shall order extra and layer it onto the back beds. I have fertilised my raspberries, planted rhubarb plants, popped in a blueberry and potted on my tomatoes and fuschias. I’ll need to get my veg. bed sorted soon so I can plant out cabbages and lettuces in a fortnight or so.
I have been working all week, and although my boss is very keen that I do not travel too far, I think I need to get out and start my wider job soon.
Gaming wise there is no sign of the promised Traveller game so I think I may run some Gwenthia on Tuesdays now we have a full ruleset to playtest. I have a planned Talislanta game next Thursday with my son and his friends, I shall run Scent of the Beast. I have found the pretty rare Sub-Men Rising campaign by robin-d-laws. Maybe I’ll get to run it all! I am implementing the more restricted magic rules from Codex Magicus to throttle back magic a little and give a reason to wizards to track down spells and artefacts. It looks like darransims may run some HeroQuestTekumel at Continuum and that would be awesome.. I hope he knows how popular it will be..
We had our second gaming weekend session. Simon stayed over last night and today we played my first ever Talislanta game. I have adored Talislanta for years and years and (according to Simon and Graham) wittered about it but never run it. It’s been something I have been a little unsure of letting people see since it is so cosmopolitan and alien and a little silly.. and everyone loved the setting, the system, I managed to ft the whole scenario in and everyone had FUN! FUN is our objective and so success all round.
Bloody gales, hammering on the roof. Can’t sleep. When there was an earthquake I assumed it was the wind ripping off the the roof.. again. We have such a nice house but we live in such a valley of wind..
I am always slowly scanning, editing and cataloguing old pictures. The latest are a set from University and the NODDSOC 25 hour roleplaying events. Some nice nostalgia if you were there or know the people..
I have also posted an idea for sorting out WebDAV on Ubuntu Brainstorm. If you have the time please vote for it..
My steroid dose reduced again yesterday. I have been having weird little facial muscle “freezes” all week.. and an appointment with my consultant on the 19th March.
Looks like Hilary has had it. Obama looks to be the winner in the Democrat primary. Mind you I have nothing against Hilary except she has a discomforting stiffness, but I think women have a hard time balancing the sexism and expectations in political life, it’s a tricky one.
I am running a Talislanta game on the 9th March so I need to focus on that fully and deliver a great gaming experience. I hope people are going to come.. it’s gone a little quiet.
I feel crap today.. I felt like a truck had run me over Monday, great Tuesday and the truck has been back today. Matt has a bad cold and we just watched Resident Evil: Extinction, which was a great blast. Nowt original but rock’n’roll fun as usual..
Now, time to write my rpg tribute trilogy of scenarios..