Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Spring is on the Way

You can tell that the wheel has turned, here in our little corner of Paradise (South Devon Branch) we have crocus in flower, strawberries forming, lots of other bulbs showing, and my first early seed potatoes are busily shooting on the Kitchen windowsill, ready for planting in a fortnight or so. The Nasturtiums from last year have carried on growing through the winter, as have the James Grieve apple tree and the Geraniums. We have only had two frosts so far this winter, neither of which were severe.   Today its about 12 degrees and I’ve just walked the dogs through the lanes, it’s warm enough to go out without a coat, one of those crisp, clear warm winters days. Daffodils are about 10 inches tall along Yardes Lane, and from the top of Southdown hill you could see right across the bay, a bit misty over the water but still beautiful. Yesterday we walked down to Sharkham, and the only noise was the sound of waves on St Mary’s beach and birdsong. Bliss.
Yardes Lane
View over the Bay

When we moved down here and downsized, I was a bit apprehensive, given that I had taken a wage drop in the middle of the biggest recession of recent years, but I don’t regret it, not on days like today, it makes you realise that there is more to life than the pursuit of riches, and surely it’s better to have lived the simpler life with all its benefits. I must admit that it’s nice not to have to hand over half my wages for the “Privilege” of being part of the consumer rat race, and actually when you look at it, I have about the same real income now I have lost the mortgage and high cost of living in the South-East. And I wake to the sound of Seagulls.

We have made such good friends here, its hard to go anywhere without seeing someone to talk to, we went into the Black Cat for Coffee and Cake this morning, Polly had excelled herself with the Chocolate Fudge Cake.

No pictures today, but I have made a Chorizo and roasted vegetables casserole for dinner, together with a mixed fruit crumble with fruit scavenged from the freezer whilst I was defrosting it this morning. So it’s a mixture of Stewed Apple, Raspberries and Whisky soaked Blackberries. Topped with home made butter crumble with Chocolate Chips added.

Yvonne has made some more cross stitch cards; I will post pictures when they have been mounted properly.

The most exciting news is that Georgina will be coming home soon, unfortunately she has been unwell in Australia, but nothing serous, she is in need of Clotted-Cream therapy. However in usual Georgina style she is not letting on about her arrival times, so that she can “Surprise” us. We were walking down to town this morning, and I said to Yvonne “look, there’s George” and she nearly wet herself, this one could run!

It’s amazing what you find in the dark recesses of your freezer (or perhaps it’s just me). We have a leg of Lamb, a 2kg topside of  Beef, 6lb of Blackberries, 6 mackerel, 4 huge gutted Pollack, and loads of soup base, (pureed veg + stock) stewed fruit, cordials etc etc. It all needs consuming so we can start again.

The creative writing is coming on a bit, I have two short stories written, and the start of a longer, mystery adventure tale, keep watching and I may put an extract up to whet your appetites.

I have been keeping my eyes on coverage of the “Costa Concordia” mishap, as usual with the Meeja, you realise just how bad the reporting is when the story concerns your particular area of expertise. I have not read such miss-informed crap since the last time a ship had a problem. Whatever the reason for striking the rock may have been, it seems to have escaped everyone’s notice that nearly 4000 people did NOT loose their lives, also the ship has NOT capsized, it’s actually lying beached on its side. Terrible as any loss of life is, the correct response, once sinking is inevitable, is to get as close to land as possible, it makes getting off so much easier. Passenger ships are designed to stay upright for 30 minutes in case of flooding, to enable all boats to be launched, so if you think you can get the ship up the beach and keep peoples feet dry in 20 minutes, that’s a much better option. Someone said on the BBC that the crew were getting into the boats before the passengers – well who is going to drive the lifeboat, and lower it? I’m getting quite worked up about the whole thing, especially the “Experts” who have the benefit of a leisurely examination of the facts, in a safe office, days after the event. In real time, you have split seconds to get it right. I left the Merchant Navy partly because I felt that I was becoming the convenient place for blame to land, and I can see that little has changed for the better.

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