Sunday, 24 October 2010

day -5

So....P and I leave the country in 5 short days. Yikes.

I am finishing off my corrections tonight (MD tantalisingly nearing completion) and also packing up our possessions. P has sorted out all his clothes, I have done only a little of this. We also need to do things like go to Ikea and lie on mattresses to decide which one to buy from who actually will deliver a bed to central Paris.

You have to pay them, obviously.

I still wonder how one has a visitor to the appartement. ie, if someone were at the door for you, how would you know, because there is no door bell. This is relevant because if Pierre and Claude are at the front door with my 4'6" mattress, I would rather hope they would be able to get in.

I had a minor melt down last night and it was all brought on by Bruce Forsyth. I was watching Strictly, sitting on the sofa, all comfy and cosy and luxuriating in space around me, and it jsut hit me that in one week I would be in Paris, no BBC, no comfy sofa on which to luxuriate, no familiarity. I just had a slight wobble. I am back on track now though I think.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Carrot Cake

Now, COME ON!!! Why is my phone not ringing off the hook with people begging me to spill the beans on this cake recipe?
Well, you know that I can't hold my water, so whenever I get downstairs and find the book, I'll let you know, all of you, my avid readership of no-one.

solvent induced spreadsheet filling

Sounds a lot worse than it really is. P is painting our new wardrobes, and I am sitting on the bed surrounded by files with all my clamp data contained therein. It is very dull filling out the Excel spreadsheets, but y'know, it needs done. Not all this damn thesis writing is going to be high-level scientific wonderment. I supose quite a lot of it is going to be high-level crap. But even though the primer/undercoat (See! We're doing it properly!) is low odour, it is slightly dulling my higher faculties. I could open the window, but it's a bit cold out.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Digging In

I am really chuffed with how things are looking in the garden. I suspect this may be a thesis-avoidance activity, but it is very relaxing to spend a bit of time outside and to check up on the plants. It absolutely chucked it down last night - hail and lashing rain. I ran outside to bring my salad leaves and violas to safety and moved the toms and lupids to a more sheltered spot. No extremes of damage noted this morning. After the rain I went and did a quick slug round. Vile job, but apparently the is a cross that all gardeners have to bear. Fair enough.

So, here are a few pics of things in progress. For those of you who will be visiting Chez Nous over the summer months, hopefully you will be able to get your laughing gear around some of this produce...

This thing growing up the trellis is a cucumber. There are some embryonic miniscule cucumbers sitting at the bottom of the stalks, tiny little things. It is hard to imagine they'll grow full size, esp when the march of the evil slug continues; hence the scattering of crushed egg shells at the base of the plant. Didn't do much good, had to pick them off by hand then bury them with a large garden fork. Using it in a sort of whacking way.

Next up, strawberries "Marshmellow", which I bought as bare root plants last year. 2 of the plants have taken root against the house and P is slightly worried that we are going to become the first people ever whose house subsided on account of a strawberry.
So these are truely All My Own Work, as I planted the (free with a mag) tomato seeds myself and the (free with the BBC Dig In campaign) salad leaves seeds myself too. The tomatoes are bush plants rather then cordons, just in case one of my imaginary readers was going to leave a post suggesting that they look crap on account of being 6 inches tall. There are 7 stocky, sturdy little plants and I am pleased with them.Finally, some pretty flowers. These peonies were in the garden already, but I dont' recall them looking so good last year. Probably because Roddy had put a heap of scaffolding on top of them they didn't have the same opportunity to photsynthesise. There were peony roses in my bouquet and I thought they wer just lovely. These are a really deep red, and mine were a much softer pink, so I am going to get some pink peonies to grow seeing as they seem to like our soil.
I had better stop bragging about my horticultural genius and get back to writing my methods section. Next's the turn of the Courgette plants (never, ever thought I'd see the day when I was willingly cultivating the bane of my childhood plate) and the French Beans.

Friday, 14 May 2010

I'll scratch your back, if you'll scratch mine

I am excited to see that nature actually works. I have put up a birdfeeder in the garden for the last couple of months. I tried different locations and am now happy with it hanging off a tree in the front garden. It has been greatly appreciated by some robins, a couple of woodpigeons and mostly a family of coal tits who ate their body weight x 6 in bird seed.
However, it is paying off as I saw one of the coal tits today, sitting in the large rose bush in the front garden easting aphids. I am really delighted! Given my previous bird-phobia I am pleased that I am now a lot more relaxed about inviting them into the garden. The RSPB bird-finder's good, BTW.
*secret...seriously considering getting some chickens post-France*

Thursday, 29 April 2010

hello again

Has it been that long?
Well yes, clearly it has.
What's happened? Well, not a whole pile really.
Spring has occured, though that didn't really have a lot to do with me. I am cracking on with the tedious task of writing my thesis and have googled on many occasions "how to keep motivated", "How to write a thesis" and my lastest anti-distraction technique, which I am very proud of...white noise.
It's actually pretty useful, and there is brown and pink noise on the site too, if that's your thing.

I have also planted LOADS of seeds and they are growing which is very satisfying. I am hoping that I will be able to cultivate salads, tomatoes, cucumber, radish, potatoes, courgette, French beans, peppers (not confident about these, think I may not bother with them anymore. Probably not hot enough in NI for them), and maybe some carrots and beetroot. Strawberries and raspberries are already looking good.
I will keep you updated. Promise.
Bye for now.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Samson and Goliath

The banking giant formerly known as Alliance and Leicester has decided to refund me the cripling bank fees I the tune of £425.

Cannot believe it.

Monday, 4 January 2010

I wish I were in Paris already?

It has been a particularly cold day today in NI. I know it is cold all throughout the UK, but it is still pretty chilly here. I arrived at the train station, just in time to see me train pull off. By the time I waited 15 mins for the next train, and another 12 mins for good measure, just for the hell of it (thanks NIR) I was properly, properly cold. And late. I found myself muttering that it wouldn't be like this is Paris!
Well, it might or it might not. Obviously the M├ętro runs with increased frequency compared to the Holywood-City Hospital train. But then, NIR employees don't strike. So although I adorn this post with a nice picture of a French bakery window (Aix en Provence, 2006) I should remind myself that whilst life in Paris may be all super and croissant-scented, it may be just as crap as life in NI is sometimes too. Don't get me wrong, I'm still highly, highly excited about the prospect of living in Paris, just trying out a little bit of perspective.