The house is in a funny mood

25°C, few clouds, little wind.

I have another temporary resident in my house. I arrived home earlier than usual to a house that is distinctly buzzing. There is a swarm up by the eaves, I guessed that they’re looking for a nest site. It can’t be that much of a problem can it? Maybe I won’t be able to open the bathroom window as often if I want to keep them outside.

Later: one got trapped in the back bedroom; good, because I can have a close look. I think they might be honey bees. The abdomen is not as bright yellow as a yellow-jacket wasp and the thorax is hairy. If this is right and they want to stay- I’d like to let them.
Last time I looked outside, it was quiet up there, but they haven’t gone. there is the odd bee going in or coming out of a circular hole where an overflow pipe used to be in the wall. They have probably gone inside the eves through a nice safe hole that is just the right size to keep predators out.
Perhaps if I put some kind of mesh over the bathroom window, then they won’t be able to cause me any problems inside the house.

Besides: why does the front room smell of fire? Okay, so I have been a slob and not cleaned the fireplace since last Friday,  so why did it only start to smell of wood ash today?

The only thing to do is to sit quietly for a long time and think really really hard. Then I will know what to do.

Oxalis has been waiting

22°C, Sun. CA:20

Oxalis has been waiting for a few weeks. today it opened itself to the sun, recent days have not been good enough. Now it’s warm enough to put the hammock up.

Oxalis Palmifrons

The Nation is getting excited by the Olympics. Roads have signs warning of closures when the torch relay will pass through. I’m still puzzling over that one. what will actually happen when they run with it up a road. Do all the locals come out and wave flags? If so, what do they actually get out of doing that? What is their motive?

There is a Royal Jubilee next week. Work changed the half-term to straddle the bank holiday, so no extra days holiday (unlike last year). I raise this because the jubilee seems to invoke a similar reaction in the British people. On the face of it, both Jubilee and Olympics have the same problem- the obscure motive of spectators. Okay, it’s one thing to enjoy watching the course of a sporting contest unfold, but another to watch some selected elite run along the road with a torch. It’s taken me a while to figure it all out. My conclusion- don’t be misled by the crapulence of these events, it’s not the events at stake. The core of this is the  national unifying effect of patriotism.

Here I am, feeling like I’ve arrived just because I am sitting in my warm garden, by my (self dug) pond bathed in an almost ultraviolet light from this Ceanothus shrub. It’s having a good year, last season it was still sulking after I moved it to make way for the pond. Now it’s in full blue-indigo bloom.


27°C, windy

Gove: “He said: “To suggest that anti-Semitism can ever be explained, rather than be condemned, is insensitive and, frankly, bizarre. AQA needs to explain how and why this question was included in an exam paper.”

Aah, freedom of expression. Where do I be

English: Michael Gove speaking at the Conserva...

Michael Gove speaking at the Conservative Party “Big Society” policy launch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

gin to explain why this is so very wrong. Gove has some responsibility to the nation for the education system. Maybe he wants a system that stifles free roaming thought, one that avoids an old, valid and effective technique to combat opponents= know your enemy”. The Anti-Semites are a standard opponent to post-war westerners. We speak of freedom of expression but the minister of education wants to prevent freedom of thought in this statement. Gove doesn’t want us to explain bigotry, he wants condemnation. Perhaps we are to think through our stance without discussing the issues. This is where he has gone so badly wrong. That is why I have reacted so much, even though he is a member of the much despised UK government. Sorry to say, I still haven’t found grounds to forgive their recent crimes against honesty and openness.

Don’t like February

7°C, rain

Don’t like February, especially when it happens in May. Top temperature today, 7° which rose from a startling 6° this morning. Feb has returned four months on, it would appear. Since I had little teaching to do, I strode into town and bought socks. Stripy socks are back on the shelves so I got a bundle of 7 (pairs). That’s how exciting my day has been, oh and played with Scratch for an hour or so.

Scratch was quite engrossing I have to admit. I’m teaching it very soon, so ought to.

Time for a nap, I did get up before 5am today (before you say anything).

Of mice and a man

14°C, windy with sun

Could it be that I don’t, as previously thought, live alone? Could it be that these tiny pellets that I have found behind the fridge are left by visitors? Could it be that these visitors take the dog biscuits behind the fridge- where the dogs can’t possible get to, or put them? Do they go there just to eat the biscuits?

If that were so, those visitors could be mice. there certainly is a mousey smell there, or was until I washed it off with bleach. Mice that like dog biscuits enough to come into my house. There’s a thought.


14°C, sunny bits & windy

Film: Carravagio by Derek Jarman. A good film has the ability to occupy your thoughts for the next day, or even days after that. Carravagio had some good ingredients- the cinematography was matched to the painter’s style. The sets were minimal and no scenes were shot outside. Rooms were mostly bare and light to draw ling inky black shadows just like the paintings. Tenebrist in style, apparently. Tilda Swinton supported along with various other well known British actors. In a few places, modern props were used to disconcerting effect.

Today, I’m left wondering why this film failed to light any spark in me. A few times I even looked ay he video player’s remaining time display. Not a good sign.

late wet

Description: Trees were knocked down and burne...

Description: Trees were knocked down and burned over hundreds of square km by the Tunguska meteoroid impact.

14°C, rain which arrived late.

This is a day off work, blame backache. At one stage I had to lift my legs out of bed. These things make you feel rotten, it’s the kind of thing old folks supposedly experience.

So here I am, a little housebound so I fired up the computer upstairs. I still have some old Flight Sims files that are worth uploading. There are some compatibility problems with software that is new. GoogleEarth 6 doesn’t work properly with the scenery app FSX-KML. there is a workaround, but it’s a pain. Still, I have fixed up a file for the area of the Tunguska Event (1909). There is no real impact crater, but there is a convenient marsh area shown on GE.

The other files I fiddled with are Siberian airfields in the Sakha Republic. Some of the files are a mess of naming conventions. I don’t yet know how best to release the files. There are about a dozen airfield files in total, along with nearby scenery. Perhaps later, I may upload some pictures.

FSX scenery remains a therapeutic thing to do. I used to, years ago, get really hooked on this.

Sunny bank holiday

11°C, sunny & light wind

This is not the way to spend a sunny but cool bank holiday weekend. I’m exhausted and am rumbled by ominous gurglings from my belly. Yes, I’m unwell. Confusingly, for a few days exhaustion has crept up; is it stress, lack of sleep or just the unwinding feeling from a lesson observation at work?

Sleep habits have evolved this year for me. Not in a good way though, no more is the solid sleep with a very early rise. I don’t get up before 5am these days. Now I lie a frustrating hour in bed wishing I could nod off at about 3am. Often, like tonight, I get up for a camomille tea in the hope that it will help.

Days, I look at the bike in the garage and lament its meagre 110 miles for the year so far. This time last year, I had clocked up over 300 and worn out the first chain.

Dual sleep

Deep sleep

Deep sleep (Photo credit: smerikal)

8°C, light clouds & windy

It’s 02:00 in the morning & my late wake reminds me of a BBC feature on the Myth Of The Eight Hour Sleep. The idea is that in reality, we have phases of sleep- Deep Sleep, Watch & then a second 4 hours sleep.
This does fit my sleep habits that have appeared over the past few years. Tonight it’s early, but that’s work-stress that tore me up. There is a long weekend coming up I reassure myself.
My experience supports the suggestions in the articles. They have posted some good links worth following too. Perhaps sleep is another great British obsession after the weather.

Dark day

9°C, rain, but less of it. CA20

That’s no metaphor, it really is dark. There are thick thick clouds overhead bearing rain that must be destined for somewhere else on this island. The news is full of floods and yet the drought still goes on. Here, everything is wet, roads are black with wet and the air- thick, rich scent. I suppose the plants are happy. Listen to Nils Frahm

nils frahm…as what little light fades into gloaming. An oppressively ‘orrible day, but still the days go by too fast. Why do they have to do that?

Today I finally relented and issued (un-moderated) coursework grades to my Year 11 class. They are nervous, some refused to have the mark which I respected. There is nothing they can do about it anyway. Some insisted that I don’t read out the marks, that’s alright too, so I hold the printout with my thumb next to the relevant score on the sheet. The last kid can’t see where she’s supposed to be looking- it’s next to my right thumb. Still confused I clarify-the thumb that’s connected to my right hand. No better, so finally- the hand that’s furthest from the window. 68.