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A pocket of seeds 
Greetings from the garden bar...
This one is for you. Wherever you are.
I had to step out of the shed for a bit. Too many pixels and not enough air.
After a weekend in the garden under a blue sky, sawing sleepers to build steps and borders, my body felt broke. So I cashed in one of my birthday presents. A voucher for a massage.
I’d not had a professional massage since I trained in Thai massage in the mid 90’s. I think everyone passing through Thailand did a course in Thai Massage some point. You got to learn to inflict the same pain you’d suffered in your 100 baht beachside manipulation. You’d then plan to make your fortune on the road, offering massages as you travelled. I had 145 different techniques to remember. So I made a little book I could carry with me.
Thai style massage (nuat phaen thai) can be traced back thousands of years. No oils or lotions are used and you’re massaged through your clothes. It’s perceived to assist you both physically and emotionally.
During the many massages I experienced in my training, I remember being amazed at just how much pain could be administered through feet and hands. There was always a huge relief and sense of well being at the end of a session. It was more than just the relief it was over. It felt like all my pain receptors were being reset and the datum recalibrated.
While working towards a certificate I would practise on my travelling companions for homework. They didn’t seem to mind. As long as they didn’t suffer any permanent damage. And to my knowledge no one did.
After five days of training it felt like a good skill to have. Till you realised how creepy it felt asking a stranger if they wanted a massage. Outside of a brief stint in Australia where it earned me some much needed cash, I never really used it again.
So it was weird after well over 20 years to once again be on the receiving end. This time though it was a bamboo massage. A variety of hollow bamboo sticks are used to release deep tissue tension in tendons, muscles and ligaments.
I was called from the Bannatyne health club waiting room by a masked lady in her 20’s called Klaudia. (A covid mask. Not the eyes wide shut type.) After being led to a small tidy room I was told to strip off and get under the towel.
So very different from a Thai massage but there was certainly a little pain. Mild but it was there. I went in feeling tired and foggy and came out feeling rested and invigorated. I really enjoyed the experience, and the transformation. I can see why people do this regularly.
At £35 a session it’s certainly a luxury but I’d consider going before another 20 years passes.
In other health news I took myself off for my yearly eye test. Except that after digging up this blog post I realised it has actually been four years since I was last tested. That’s Covid warping time again.
Instead of shopping around I retraced my steps and headed straight to Boots Opticians.
Customer service was again fantastic, but this time there was some fancy new gear and a fancy new price.
As I sat down I was offered the standard scan of the eyeball, (basically what I had last time) plus the new fangled Optical Coherence Tomography. Obviously the latter was going to cost more. Last time I had an eye test it cost me £10 (I must have had a voucher). This time I could pay £25 for the standard or £50 for the new updated ‘better’ scan.
Why offer people the crappy scan when you have access to the latest machine that’s sitting right there? Just flog the old machine.
I asked what might happen if you have the old fashioned scan and it picked up an anomaly. They told me I’d then have to go to hospital to use one of their OCT machines. I asked why the massive price hike when it takes the same time. They explained they needed to pay for the machine.
Anyway. I stumped for the OCT as I care about my eyes.
Turns out my eyes are fine. I might have lost another .25 of a diopter in the last 4 years but I can still read a book in my hand. So there is no real need for glasses yet. Unless I need to read the milliamp rating on the back of an Apple charger. Then I reach for one of the 10 pairs of off-the-shelf reading glasses I have squirrelled away around the house. Most cost the price of a coffee. All look a bit weird.
Here is a film you will never see. Unless there is a hack or a break in. I hope the film is better than the teaser.
Personally I think they should stage a robbery (great publicity) then sell the film on the dark web (great publicity) then give the proceeds to charity (great publicity). Love the concept, but if the whole aim is so sell more booze why risk keeping the film for a time where drinking cognac might be illegal… or the brand is dead?
Went to the Urban Exhibition in Peterborough.
It was strange seeing street art in a gallery with MASSIVE price tags next to it. It seemed to cheapen the work. Even the stuff from Banksy. And I love what he does. It felt like some kind of Robin Hood tax. Or should I say Robin Gunningham tax. I’m pretty sure Banksy does a lot of good with his money. As much as I’d love an original from him I can almost hear him say “Don’t be silly. Let the rich mugs fork out £70,000 for a traffic cone. Go support an artist that actually needs your money.”
On leaving I stood for a moment looking at this sign on the wall opposite the gallery.
I really wanted to put a MASSIVE price tag next to it. The QR code on the bottom right links to the following video.
“The night before Russia started the war, my friends and I met to come up with a plan. None of us really ever thought Kyiv, where we lived, would fall. At worst, we figured there would be some sort of staged terrorist attack in the city to get the government to capitulate, but we decided to have our most important things ready anyway: passports, marriage certificates, cash, watches, jewelry.” The road out of Kiev.
Politico have some outstanding coverage of the War in Ukraine.
Our long history of assimilating other lands into our own, of meddling in foreign elections, of overthrowing governments, invading other countries, of torture, leaves us with little room to speak when others breach international law.
There are some handy tips in this video on how to record sound for a video interview.
One of the mics this guy is using is sitting above his head. Should you want to set up your own boom mic system it needn't cost the earth. Here is an affordable set up plus how to use it explained by another guy with facial hair.
We all know that doom scrolling the news is not healthy for us. At the very least you are sacrificing sleep for tidbits of information that might not even be from a trusted source. I find it makes a big difference to my state of mind if I dip into the more considered news pieces in podcasts.
The BBC Global News Podcast gives a very regular round up of worldwide current affairs.
Also daily is Ukrainecast.
If you can skip adverts in your podcasting app then there is Pod Save The World. It’s less newsy and more chatty taking some interesting diversions in contemplating the operational security of Zełenski and how he is sharing updates to livestreams and staying alive.
I’m also listening to The world podcast from NPR.
Perhaps you’d like to listen to the news in Ukrainian. In which case you might need to learn to speak it first. This podcast called Ukrainian Lessons looks pretty good and has been running since 2016.
I was gifted this lovely bottle of Cognac from @SnhuPrez.
You most likely know that cognac is a kind of brandy made by double distilling white wine and ageing in a barrel, but here are a few more cognac facts:
The most expensive bottle you can buy will set you back millions.
for over seven decades, on Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday a ‘Poe Toaster’ will appear at his grave, pour himself a glass of cognac, raise a toast to Poe's memory, then vanish into the night.
Kim Jong Il reportedly bought more top shelf cognac that anyone else in the world.
Russian doctors recommended cognac in cosmonauts rations in order to stimulate their immune system.
Chopin's heart was pickled in cognac. (That wasn’t he cause of death).
Read this interesting article in defence of Churchill being labelled as an alcoholic. Wow he enjoyed the booze. What I can’t work out from it is if he actually drank champagne in pint glasses, or he just drank pints of it.
Never tried Palcohol but it’s on the list.
No pictures of the amazing pancakes we had for pancake day this year because I feel this Sicilian lemon should be the star of the show.
It is the most perfect lemon I have ever had the pleasure of squeezing. A slice also featured in a gin and tonic and the remaining lemon was eaten like you would an orange. 69p well spent. If I could grow lemons like this, growing lemons like this is all I would do.
I’ve been paying close attention to the Brompton T-Line. At 7.45kg it’s Brompton’s lightest bike to date. It has taken them quite a while to get it right. So long in fact that others have been selling titanium Brompton type frames for years.
I’ve had a tinker with my own Brompton in an attempt to get it down in weight and just about managed 9.9kg before lights and ergonomic grips took it back up to 10.4kg. I can’t imagine what knocking another fifth off that weight might feel like.
But do you need to spend £3800 to get a reliable well built sub 8kg Brompton? Maybe. But this guy has managed to get a sub 9kg for a lot less.
I must thank the paying subscribers that pay $5/month to get all the content I share into this feed. If you are able, please upgrade to become a paid supporter. Or if you prefer, buy me a coffee. ;-)
TED is probably best understood as the propaganda arm of an ascendant technocracy.
Check out the official website for the universal simplified Slavic language Slovio. It’s mutually understandable with, compatible with and based on the traditional Slavic and Balto-Slavic languages: Belorussian, Bosnan, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Kashubian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Moravian, Polish, Russian, Ruthenian, Silesian, Slovak, Slovenian, Serbian, Sorbian, Ukrainian, Carpatho-Rusyn, Lusathian and Old Church Slavoni
When Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 comes out I might disappear for a bit.
There are lots of ways to help the Ukraine. MSF for one.
Not sure what is happening next week. I’m expecting some interesting post and will be emailing some former clients to remind them I’m training and consulting again. If we have worked in the past and you fancy a chat, get in touch.
In the meantime, thanks for reading and please share this email with others that may get something out of it.
“The church is near, but the way is icy. The tavern is far, but I will walk carefully”
~ Ukrainian proverb
See you out there.