Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Saturday 14th January 12

A happy day.  I got up fairly early and did a few bits and bobs around the house, including finishing off the soup I made last night.

But shortly before midday I cycled down to the station and met up with Nick who told me there was a problem with the trains the other side of Leeds and there was a bus replacement between Leeds and Huddersfield.  He was unsure whether he wanted to go with me if the bus was going to take ages, but I assured him that replacement buses didn't take that much longer.

Anyway, there wasn't a problem with the trains in the end, and I went to my usual cafe-haunt and met up with friends.  After this I took the tram to go and see my festival friend Kerry, whom I haven't seen for quite a while. 

Friday 13th January 12

A late start as Gill got the kiddies up and off to school and did her stint in the school shop.  I was woken by a phone call at about 10am but it rang off and there wasn't a number left for me to phone back.  I got several more silent calls, before the scammers got through saying they were aware my Micro$oft Windoze computer was underperforming.  I told them I don't use Microsoft or Windows, and told them politely to remove my number from their database.    I got phoned by these scammers a while ago and they ask for a card payment to sort out your system... which of course has nothing wrong with it (well, thinking about it, if it's Windows, it probably has!)

So I got on with assorted online nonsense and interspersed this with assorted housework until Gill came in.  I got a genuine booking phone call for an event on my birthday in May, and another which I couldn't fulfil as I'll be at the Little Green Gathering.

After 5 I got ready to go to work, got to David's at 6 and he asked to go to City Screen, where I got him his coffee and I had a mocha, and Dave Taylor came to join us and we chatted about travel, since Dave is going on a short break.

I then took David back and got him his evening meal, and left just before 8pm, collecting a sack of tomatoes and other unsold stuff from Freshways on the way home.  This meant that at midnight, I made a wholesome soup out of two onions, a small leek, about 20 large tomatoes and some Marmite.  That'll mean Gill doesn't have to think about cooking tomorrow, when I'm in Manchester.

Thursday 12th January 12

A good day, got up fairly early due to a bit of a commotion, and Gill took one of the boys to school on a bus.  The other went in a taxi. I made up my muesli before breakfast, then did some work outside, chainsawing and splitting various logs and trying to get the front clear, as I want to sieve the pile of sawdust, so I get sawdust for the compost toilet and bits of bark and twig for the compost heaps.

I also did some tidying in other places too, peeled waste plums for drying, washed up, sorted out some dates which were mixed in with other fruit, washed them and blanched them, and trayed them up for drying. Deleted loads of emails.  Got a phone call from someone from Leeds City Council just as I was about to reply to her email.  I agreed to meet her next week after I've donated platelets, and we'll chat about starting a Leeds Master Composter scheme.

During early evening one of the log piles collapsed,  or was caused to collapse.  Gill spotted some lads hanging around just beforehand, and I got a nuisance call at about the same time which I dealt with in my usual very polite way.  I deliberately never get abusive or upset, as the caller would love that, I'm sure.   Anyway, the pile only took 5 minutes to rebuild.

We had a family discussion about a diary/planner which I bought before Christmas and only arrived this morning.  It's an 'Elements' planner, and it's really nice... however I've already started using a 'wildlife in the garden' planner and so I think it will become a family diary.  It is full of great pictures of many elements from the periodic table, and fascinating facts about them too.

So, despite a tricky start to the day, it was productive and good.

Wednesday 11th January 12

Slow start to the day, hardly surprising considering what time I went to bed, but a good day nonetheless.  I went to get bread first thing (ie before lunch!) and then started on my tax return which I always find difficult to the point of pain.  There are, despite having done it quite a few times, quite a few bits which I don't understand.

3pm crept up on me and I put our youngest's bike on my trailer and cycled down to the Steiner School to pick him up, and we cycled back together.  Gill had gone to town to pick up our eldest from The Stables where he's doing some extra work, so I made a simple pasta and veg tea.

Then I cycled towards town and picked up some Freecycled guinea pig food, and arrived at Green Drinks just before 7.30, at the 3 Legged Mare for the last time.  The staff hadn't put the notices on the tables in the annexe so there were other (noisy) people in there, making our meeting less easy.  Andy D'Agorne turned up at about 8.30 to present some information about the current Clifton Green Cycle Track consultation...which I knew quite a bit about already, having followed the whole thing through the Press.

However, I was expecting a text message from my friend Debra Fayter, who was performing her Stand Up Comedy routine at the Gillygate pub on Gillygate.  She messaged me saying she'd be going on in 5 minutes, so I made my excuses and shot off, saying I'd be back within the hour.

I was really impressed by what Debra did.  She's obviously learned a script, that she's written herself, and the subject matter was most unexpected.  I'm not going to try to reproduce any of it here... firstly this isn't an 'X-Rated' blog, and secondly, it would spoil the fun and surprise if a reader were to go to a comedy night that she performed at.  Although I'm not a connoisseur of stand-up comedy, I think Debra was good and if she continues, she'll develop more material and get more confident.  She certainly got quite a few laughs and I'm really glad I went to see her.

I left immediately afterwards, to get back to Green Drinks, and met Ginnie going in, and had nice chats with Ian and Denise.

I came home soon after 11pm.

Tuesday 10th January 12

Up fairly early and got the shredder out, and a big blue tarpaulin-sheet to shred onto.  Did all the foliage from the pine tree, a 1m3 builder's dumpy bag full, and a load of Christmas tree branches too.  Eventually I was able to empty the dumpy bag of unshredded stuff onto the sheet, and fill it with all the shredded stuff.  With it all shredded, it didn't fill it completely but it was still almost too heavy to move.  What will I do with it all I wonder?

Just as I finished, my gardener friend Nick arrived, as arranged.  We had lunch and then prepared to take down the pine tree trunk.  I'd asked him to come and help as he wants to inoculate the trunk with Fir Oyster mushrooms. I first needed to take off the top metre or so of the trunk, as I didn't think the trunk would clear the phone line if I left it so tall.  So I tied the top with a rope and then tied the rope to the lower part of the trunk, so the top wouldn't fall down and do damage or go somewhere where I didn't want it to go.  Then I started a cut with the chainsaw, but I wasn't happy using the chainsaw up the ladder so I finished it off with the bow saw. The lump eventually fell, and was caught by the rope, just as intended.  I was able to untie it and throw it down where I wanted it to go.  Then I retied the rope to the new top of the trunk and removed the ladders.

I then cut out a wedge from the trunk, at waist height, facing where I wanted the trunk to fall, which was onto our front garden.  Then I asked Nick to gently pull on the rope as I cut from the opposite side.  The trunk fell exactly as expected... I was really pleased!  This was a 'professional' job!  Then I chopped the trunk up into about 6 pieces,of a length that Nick says will be good for mushroom logs.  He'll buy some spawn off Adrian and come and do some inoculation in the next few weeks.  I'll have one or two logs and he'll have the rest.

Nick got off home and I spent quite a bit more time clearing up the front, chainsawing some bits and bobs, and cutting some smaller pieces with the loppers. 

Monday 9th January 12

Well where did the day go?  Did a bit of paperwork in the morning and then in the afternoon headed into town for a meeting.  I popped into the building society first and paid in a cheque, and got a pastie as I thought the meeting might take a long time.  My route into town was disrupted by a bomb-scare at the Old Dairy site, but my detour didn't take too much longer.

I got back soon after 6, a huge Christmas tree in tow, chopped that up (quietly, with loppers) and decided not to go to the York Skeptics Open Mic night.

 A late evening, despite saying at 1am that I'd be going to bed early....

Sunday 8th January 12

Well the only interesting thing today really was cycling down to town with our eldest and meeting up with Gill, our youngest and their friend, who'd travelled a different way, and taking them to a science lecture at the Tempest Anderson Hall. This was about magnetic liquids and was very interesting and enjoyable!