pleasing myself

The weeks are just whizzing by here. I can’t believe it’s the middle of June already, and I’ve missed both my conscious living post and garden update for May, and here I am in danger of missing them for June too! And there’s so many things I haven’t told you about yet.

So today is just a bit of a ramshackle update. We’ve had a sociable week. We had friends round for tea on Thursday, and I made a quick rhubarb crumble (just rhubarb from the garden stewed with apple and sugar, then topped with shop bought museli – very tasty!).

One of our friends is quite a gardener, so I asked her about the two purposeful plants growing in a little corner behind the terrace. They didn’t look like weeds, but I didn’t remember planting anything – although I conceded there was a vague change I’d thrown in a couple of cabbage seeds without realising.

Do you recognise them?

Yep, that’s right – potatoes. I didn’t plant them, but clearly I’d thrown a couple of mouldering potatoes into the compost a long time ago, and then spread the mostly-rotted compost on the garden… so we’ll have some potatoes later in the year, what fun! Gardening by chance – I love it.

We’ve had another friend staying for the Documentary Film Festival here in the city (which I have shamefully managed to go to none of, pah!), and yesterday, feeling in need of adventure, I headed into town to see if I could watch him pitch for a new film.

Turns out I didn’t have the right kind of face (or rather, my face wasn’t on a festival pass), so I had to find alternative entertainment.

I found it in the city library, where I ascended the stairs to visit the Andy Warhol exhibition. I don’t really have any interest in him particularly, but I was having one of those lovely meandering, please-yourself kind of days, where you just follow your nose, and turn off down little alleyways on a whim, and that was where I found myself.

I do rather approve of the way museums these days have sofas and piles of books for you to leaf through. I like being able to just sit for a while and get a feel for someone, or something, by looking at some pictures, reading some words, watching a short film.

After that, I did one of my favourite activities, one that has no value for anyone other than myself, and one that I don’t get to do very often.

I raided the magazine racks in the reference library.

Oh! How I love idling through this random assortment of magazines! I’m rather a fan of really specific magazines, as I’ve mentioned before. I love the way people are so enthusiastic about things like railways, canoeing and trees, and I love the detail that you get in news articles in magazines like that.

And so, in the three hours (yes, three hours) I spent in the library yesterday, I learned

  • from The Author about the difficulties of finding copyright holders of obscure poetry;
  • from Geographical about how the levels of ocean plastic are now thought to have been previously underestimated due to the wind blowing the small particles under the surface (and how to make a £1 backpacking stove);
  • from Industrial Archaeology News that the fate of the Dounreay Sphere (the first and largest spherical building in Britain) would ever be decontaminated enough to allow full public access;
  • and from Growing Green International that the leaves of the stevia plant are ‘so sweet it was scary’, and that the liquorice used to make pontefract cakes was actually grown in Pontefract (obvious, really, when you think about it).

I learned

  • from The Railway Magazine about concerns that proposed changes to the bylaws covering Glasgow’s subway banning informal photography could potentially lead to the banning of all photography at all mainline railway stations;
  • from Cycle that the World Brompton Championships will be taking place at Blenheim Palace;
  • from Tree News that since 2009, all tree houses have had to have planning permission;
  • from Writers Forum that writers receive 6.05p every time a book of theirs is loaned from a public library, but that currently this does not extend to loans of electronic books;
  • and from Walk that Britain’s canals and waterways have been transfered to the care of a charity rather than British Waterways.
While I was there I read things that made me think about how casual meetings can sometimes bring unpredictable outcomes; how I know lots of people raising money for good causes at the minute by doing all kinds of athletic feats of endurance; about the issues with organic certification schemes for small farmers; how to get rid of slugs; the ‘vexed subject’ of how much recovery time to include in train timetables (and how passengers will rarely even notice a train is late as long as it arrives by the advertised departure time); about cycling and identity (and why so often ‘cyclist’ is seen as separate to ‘motorist’ even though they may be the very same person); and about using all of your senses to help you remember a place or event.
What an absolutely self-indulgent afternoon!
I topped it all off by a visit to a vintage and craft fair, and a large piece of victoria sponge cake.

More adventures have been had today – a trip to a local dairy farm (where one of the advertised activities was ‘go down the field to look at the cows’, which, of course, we did), a large Bakewell Tart ice cream, a visit to a 1950s fayre, and a confused jumble of eggs and bread that couldn’t quite be described as an egg butty, but sadly my camera battery ran out, so there’s no pictures.

Right now though, the sun’s shining, and I need to get into the garden and repot some tomatoes.

What have you been up to this weekend?

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3 Responses to pleasing myself

  1. A lovely day, I love Victoria Sponge, we don’t seem to be offered home made cakes often here, I really noticed that when my daughter and I visited England last year…which we loved, England not just the cakes.

  2. Robyn says:

    Ahhh…nice cake! One of the finest, is the good old victoria Sponge, and often sadly overlooked.
    The issue with photography on the railways is a good one – technically there are already byelaws in place over most of the system – the tube in London for example, it is “banned without permission” – however, if you go and ask permission, it’s nearly always granted, and frankly, for the odd grab-shot here and there, even if you don’t, so long as you don’t get in the way, or cause a nuisance, they rarely object. It’s one of those things where cameras on phone, etc, have helped the cause of photography, actually – it’s quite difficult to ban them, now!

  3. How interesting that a writer gets 6.05p each time their book is loaned from a library! They do say that every day is a school day.
    Sounds like you had a lovely time pleasing yourself. The cake looked yummy 🙂

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