Category Archives: Self Indulgence

Two weeks in Devon and not a drop of cider

Actually it was one week in Devon and a week in Wales. But the Guinness was good and the Murphy’s was better.

Flattr this!

Pizza in the sun

Some time ago our barbeque finally collapsed. We’d had it for a good many years and, although it was badly rusted in places, we had hoped to keep it going for one more year. I can’t complain, but it would have been a little less panic inducing if the collapse had happened when it hadn’t been full of hot charcoal.

We replaced it, and quite quickly, with another similar one. When we did so, we also treated ourselves to a combined fire-pit, barbeque, and pizza oven.

We have used it as a fire-pit several times already. When stuffed with wood it does a rather good job of keeping the terrace warm as the evening starts to cool.

Yesterday, we had a go at making pizza on it. The result was really rather tasty.

Flattr this!

Rolling back

I noticed that the Twenty Seventeen Theme that I installed on this blog at the start of the year wasn’t playing too nicely with Epiphany. Having lots of links in a post is a bit pointless if you have to hover your mouse over them in order for them to be highlighted.

So I have rolled back to the previous theme which, if I’m honest, looks a lot nicer than all this new-fangled modernity,

Flattr this!

New Year, New Look

With the latest release of WordPress, the Twenty Seventeen theme was also released. And I’ve not only managed to find a bit of time to play around with it, but I’ve also cleaned up some of the sidebar links while I was at it. I’m not entirely sure about the massive header image, but the theme itself seems to work reasonably slickly so I shall see how it goes.

And, as we venture cautiously into 2017, all that remains is for me to with you all the best of luck for the new year.

Congratulations on surviving 2016, here’s hoping we all make it through the next 365 days.

Happy New Year Danbo.
Photo by Leland Francisco. Click image for original.

Flattr this!

On Brexit: It’s personal

Stephen Tall something that resonates very strongly with my own situation:

It’s not pretty, I know. But I can’t apologise, I’m afraid: if you voted Leave you’re diminished in my eyes.

Because for me it’s personal. My partner is Spanish. She first came to England on an Erasmus scholarship. She later returned to work as a teaching assistant in Oxford, where we met. In a parallel Brexit universe we would never have got together. In the Brexit universe to come, we will have to queue separately in the airport, she with our son who (thankfully) also has a Spanish passport.

In my case, I’m English. I live in Belgium with a Frenchwoman (who also benefited from the Erasmus programme) and our three sons, who are more Belgian than either of us. For over a decade, nationality has not been something that we have need to give much though to, and now it’s a problem.

I realise that there are plenty of people facing a far more difficult position than I am, but I cannot bring myself to sympathise with or even respect the people who lined up with the likes of Farage and Galloway to throw everything in the air in pursuit of wishful thinking, political fantasies and outright nastiness.

And for what?

My kids have dual nationality and will be able to study, work and live wherever they choose. For most citizens of the UK, though, your kids have had these opportunities taken away from them.

Flattr this!

Moon over Antwerp

Today was the first day of spring, and the day of a partial eclipse. Partial, in this case, being about 90%. It was also very cloudy, which was both fortunate and unfortunate. Unfortunate because the sun – and the eclipse – were often both hidden behind the banks of clouds. On the plus side, however, was the fact that when the clouds did thin a bit, I was able to point my phone at the show.

This, after a bit of tinkering with exposure levels, is what I managed.

Flattr this!

Lawns are Awesome

One of the nicer parts of NewsBlur, my RSS reader of choice, is the Global Shared Stories feature which allows you to take a peek at the stories everyone else is sharing. It’s not something I look at regularly, but I do glance at it every now and then and it was through this that I found this post from Nick Bradbury.

Nick doesn’t like lawns.

Where I live, in the spring you have to start mowing the lawn every week. By summer you have to water it to keep it from dying. Then fall rolls around and you have to rake up the leaves or else they’ll smother the grass. And then you hope it’ll survive the winter.

It feels so pointless constantly taking care of something that shouldn’t be there in the first place. If it was meant to be there it would survive without any help.

Here’s a confession. Last year, for various reasons, we completely failed to mow our lawn at all. It’s still there though.

As far as leaves go, I did sweep the drive and those leaves ended up on the compost. Raking the lawn, not so much. Or at all. It’s still there, though.

From his post, I think that Nick has way too high an expectation of how his lawn should look. For me, a lawn is primarily functional – it’s a place where the kids can jump off trees, invent games, build snowmen and a enjoy an unconstrained play area.

Admittedly, the kids do help me with outdoor work such as cutting wood, building chicken coops and weeding the garden (but not the lawn – never the lawn), but this comes entirely from the kids. They see me doing something and want to be involved, so I find ways to involve them – even if that means the task will take somewhat longer.

Ultimately, with a lawn, with anything, knowing what you want out of it is as essential as recognising how much effort you are willing to put into it. If you want a pristine patch of grass, and are willing to put in the effort to maintain it, that’s fine. Personally, I’m not to worried about that. Admittedly, we did plant a reasonably hardy variety of grass that – so far – has survived the trampling and, if any weeds do manage to survive both being mown and being constantly trodden on, then good luck to them. All that really matters to me is that the surface remains soft enough that the kids will bounce when they fall.

Lawns are awesome, but you need to decide first to have an awesome lawn.

Flattr this!

More consolidation: Squirt

After spending some time cleaning up the mess of repsoitories that I have generated over the past few years, I thought it might be a good time to take a look at Squirt, a slightly larger project. In this case, Squirt still has its own repository but I have removed some branches. Now, instead of creating a seperate branch for every point release (because this is going to become very silly very quickly), I have two branches: development and master.

Obviously, the intention is to use development for any code changes and once I am happy with them, they will be pushed to master. Hopefully this will encourage to be a little less tardy about keeping the master branch up to date.

Flattr this!

This is how you make coffee

I don’t think I need to add anything here…

Flattr this!