Archive for the ‘gardening’ Category

>It wasn’t supposed to be like this, surely?

25 April, 2010 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack:  Death Cab For Cutie – Studio X Sessions

So – back at work – aren’t the weekends then free for rest and relaxation?  Why is it, now I’m working for The Man again, that I ended up working harder round the home today than I have done for ages?

Because the jobs don’t go away, I suppose, and maybe also because I’m now back at a proper ‘working pitch’ that I’ve more enthusiasm and energy to actually do the things that I would ‘eventually get round to’ before.

First thing, it was off to the supermarket to do the weekly shop.  My turn this week – Mrs W has suggested that going forwards we alternate – her turn next week.  Big shop this week, we both need ‘cutting-up’ for worktime lunchtimes and the freezer has been running a bit low.  I did make a schoolboy error at the checkout though – standing in a queue, laden down with a full trolley, and one of the supermarket kids calls me over to a free checkout.  Result! I thought – until I realised he’d set me up on a self-service lane.  Fine (I suppose) if you’ve one or two items – but not a trolley-full, surely?  Anyway, I got on with it, getting crosser and crosser as I had to weigh (and find the price for) red onions (under ‘O’ rather than ‘R’ in the menu) and mini ciabattas (described as ‘rolls’ in the menu – who would have guessed?) and get the girl to confirm I was eighteen and ok to buy booze.


Mind you,. I still finished quicker than I would have done had I stayed in my queue, so not all bad.

Back home, and after a delightful lunch of BLTs on the small ciabatta rolls I’d struggled to buy in the supermarket, and after the ManYoo-Spurs game, it was out into the garden for more chores.

Firstly, the mower and strimmer made their first appearance of the year, followed by the garden shears as I trimmed back a bush that was encroaching from next door – and then it was the turn of the electric drill, some wood and a raft of wood screws as I finally got round to repairing the fence that had been falling down all year.  Lastly, the rake and the hose came into play as I cleared and re-seeded the bare patch of lawn that had been ravaged by birds and badgers over the course of last year.

You’d think that would be enough, wouldn’t you?  Well no, the work continued, this time in the kitchen.  Although this turned out to be a really pleasant surprise.  We’d struggled to fit all today’s food shopping into the freezer, so to make room, I’d taken out some bags of soft summer fruits that Mrs W had bought ages ago for reasons that are still unclear to me.  I had half-hearted plans to mush them up and make some smoothies or something, until inspiration struck.


Did a quick search on t’internet, found a recipe, and got on with it.  The fruit I simply drained and placed in the bottom of a dish.  The crumble comprised 150g each of plain flour, porridge oats, demarera sugar and butter, mixed together by hand in a bowl until it got all crumbly and sandy.  Crumble topping on top of fruit, in a hot oven (180 degrees C) for half an hour or so.  It made the kitchen smell delicious and, oh, it tasted good as well!  We had it with some fruit yogurt that was lurking, although I’ve now got some double cream in for tonight’s leftovers.

A pleasant little download ep from American ‘intelligent rockers’ Death Cab for Cutie this morning.  We saw Death Cab (named after a Bonzo Dogs song) a couple of years ago at Latitude, and enjoyed them immensely.  There’s always a place for good, melodic pop sung and played with a bit of wit and style, and the Americans seem to be particularly good at it.

Here’s ‘The New Year’ live on Soundstage from a few years back…

>Day 170: (Thorn Tree) in the Garden

1 September, 2009 1 comment

>Today’s soundtrack: Various Artists – North by Northwest

August Bank Holiday, and, naturally, the weather is a bit crap. Luckily it was dry this morning, so whilst Mrs W took herself off to the gym, I grasped the nettle – almost literally – and got out into the garden. Three main chores – some weeding and hoeing, some planting and some lawn repair.

We’ve got ace neighbours on both sides, and George (on the left) seems to have decided to take me under his wing on the gardening front. Over the last couple of weeks he’s taken to giving me lots of little plants in flower pots, for me to stick out in the garden. He did tell me what they were called, but I’ve forgotten. But they are flowers, basically. Green leaves and (in some cases) little purple flowers. That’s all I know and, to be honest, all I think I need to know.

So a bit of turning over – we’ve essentially got one long flower bed running next to the fence that tends to get a bit overgrown, so I broke up the soil with this twisty soil-breaker-upper thing I’ve got, pulled out all the grass and weeds and planted the flowers. And I have to say it’s an improvement.

Next job – try and persuade the grass to grow in the area that used to be under Mrs W’s bird table. Over time, all the excess seed fell from the table and sat, rotting, underneath, killing off the grass that was growing there. I’ve had a couple of goes at sorting this out, involving the digging out of a lot of old seed and putting grass seed down, but it’s been reluctant to take. I’m hoping that with the passage of time, the old birdseed has mulched down sufficiently into a form of super-compost that the grass seed will feed lustily on. If this doesn’t take, I think come next spring I might have to do some re-turfing, but I’d rather get it to grow if I could. So we currently have a patch of muddy earth under the kitchen window that I am hoping will turn over the next couple of weeks into a patch of green lushness.

Right on cue, the heavens opened, saving me the bother of watering in all this planty stuff myself, but condemning us to an afternoon indoors. I called the boys, and was pleased to hear that Son No 1 has been picking up some work, an after visiting his girlfriend at the end of this week, is going to be working on a contract up to Christmas, which will get some cash in his back pocket, if nothing else! Son No 2 is just about to come back up North as term starts at Uni soon. He’s been doing some more blogging, this time about the Oasis split, and mighty fine it is too – you can read it here.

Other than that, a quiet day. Late on, listening to some tunes, I was taken with the resonance of Mr Pete Wylie’s thoughts on the Blues, hence the ‘bonus’ post late on!

Pete Wylie, of course, was one of the leading lights in the Liverpool music renaissance of the late ’70s, and appears (in one of his many ‘Wah!’ incarnations on today’s soundtrack, which is a three-cd collection of the best music released in Liverpool and Manchester in the immediate aftermath of punk. Some ‘famous’ bands (OMD, Echo & the Bunnymen, Joy Division) some not so famous (Those Naughty Lumps, Dalek I Love You, Ludus) but all well worthy of a listen.

John Cooper Clarke is also included on the album, which gives me the excuse to post this track – Health Fanatic, from the film Urgh! A Music War:

>Day 143: Genius – it’s official!

6 August, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack: Bloc Party – Silent Alarm (remixed)

So yes, it’s official – I am a genius! It must be so, because someone said so!

Well ok, no-one actually said ‘Paul Waring is a genius’ – what they said was that something I’d written on another blog was ‘genius’. Which is almost the same thing.

What are you talking about, Paul? Will you please get to the point?

Ok then. Regular readers will know of my contributions to The Word – magazine, website, podcast. Not in any remuneratory capacity, I hasten to add – there is a blog on their website that I contribute to, and occasionally those contributions get transferred by the editorial team to the magazine (via the letters page) or, as in this case, get a mention on the podcast.

The blog had had a very entertaining thread relating to ‘things that happen in The Beano that you never see in real life’ it’s here, if you want to read the whole thread. My contribution, describing how someone bitten on the toe by a crab would be depicted in the comic, appears somewhere in the middle of the thread. And it got read out in the following week’s podcast (which you can listen to in its entirety below) by Andrew Collins, music journalist, broadcaster and fellow blogger.

Andrew, clearly a man of taste and discernment, chose to describe my post as ‘genius’, bless him. You should really listen to the whole podcast, but my moment of glory commences at around the 32:50 mark if you wish to skip right there!

Anyway, enough with the self-congratulation already! Did you do anything constructive today, Paul? Well I tidied the garden up, got the lawnmower out and applied the (not so) green fingers to the soil. Happily, our lawn (which has suffered for years from squirrel/badger assaults and shade from surrounding vegetation) seems to have flourished this summer – largely due, I think, to our neighbours cutting down a tree that blocked out a lot of light rather than anything I’ve done. Although I have re-seeded a few patches and applied the ‘Weed and Feed’ liberally on occasion.

Other than that, it was a bit of a quiet one, really. Quiet on the job front as well – no news from the current ‘live’ opportunities although as always these things move slower than you would like them to.

We’ve had Bloc Party on the soundtrack before, I think, but no reason not to have them again. Today’s album is a complete remix of their debut album and includes some tasty versions of their early songs. Not something I listen to on a regular basis, but it’s a nice touch from the group and sets them ever so slightly apart from their fellow indie contemporaries. It harks back to the days when reggae albums were often accompanied by ‘dub’ versions of the album, which I always enjoyed, often preferring the dub versions to the originals!

Here’s the band performing ‘Banquet’ from their debut. Lots of spiky guitars and tension!