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Greetings from my living room...
It’s been one of those weeks that was composed of at least 12 days.
The escape to the country made for quite the adventure as high winds shook our little house on stilts and tree limbs drummed the walls. It was great to get up into the hills and enjoy nature at its wildest.
The escape was a real birthday treat and was booked through CanopyandStars.co.uk. Prices for fancy or unusual accommodation has rocketed recently. If you have access to somewhere nice that you might be able to rent out then it could be well worth doing. Even if you are just covering costs.
That said, as well as getting the Spanish chalet ready for family breaks we also hope it can be used by people we know.
This week I needed to make a quick visit to Spain to get some quotes from local builders who might assist in the renovations of the pool, roof, walls and a whole bunch of stuff.
There is a lot to do to get it back to it’s former glory and beyond. I really wanted to drive over but with limited time and flights gratuitously cheap I flew. On my arrival I made a grizzly discovery.
On the bottom right in the following photograph there is a circular space in the detritus where I found a decomposed hedgehog. I like hedgehogs and hate to think that one climbed down into the empty swimming pool sometime after October and could not get out. Not a pleasant death. Unless it was so full of dead bugs that it was death by over indulgence. For some reason that sounds better.
We’ve only ever had dead insects in the pool. But then it’s not been empty in many years. It will be a little while and a lot of work till the pool is totally retiled and has water in it again. So just incase any more animals find their way in, I wanted to make sure they could get out again. It wasn’t a job on my list but I’ll certainly sleep better knowing there’s a little staircase in place.
(I just Googled ‘animal staircase’ bit weird. From staircases made for animals, to staircases made from animals.)
A music video made in 48 hours using A.I. techniques.
Wingsuit flying just got even more interesting.
Here is an extract from my diary from a couple of days ago…
I entered your everyday airport toilet facilities. There is always something to marvel at. If it’s not a massive abandoned suitcase, it’s a stray turd that somehow missed the toilet bowl when falling from height.
I was not disappointed. In front of the sinks was a half naked, morbidly obese Russian washing his arm pits and talking loudly to someone I couldn’t see. I presumed they were on the other side of a phone call. A pile of clothes hung over the handle of a wheely case and his joggers were streaked with soapy rivulets. There was no phone visible. Just two white earbuds pushed so deep into his head only the stems were visible. He made no attempt to lean over the sink and splashed away at his long haul grime. A large puddle shimmering round his trainers as he repeatedly shouted “ne menya ne volnuyet, ne menya ne volnuyet” to someone not in the room.
It felt like street theatre, or that I was the target of a hidden camera show. But I think this might have been the only place in the airport not on camera.
The coffee I’d just drank brought me to this place. I found myself a cubicle that didn’t need forensic investigation, made a little loo paper shield that probably did nothing, and sat down.
After my work was done, the Russian had gone and I headed over to the sinks. As I washed my hands a guy a couple of sinks down was very slowly washing his. All the time staring at himself in the mirror. In slow motion. Sliding his soapy hands over each other while staring deep into his own eyes. As if pondering some huge existential question.
He was still there when I’d finished at the hand dryer. Like a three dimensional animated GIF.
He might still be there.
I got to do some radio in the wooden cabin which I wrote about on G5DOC.net
While sat on the plane I listened to this ‘The First RadioLab’ and stayed in the feed to hear A Letter from George just before we landed. I cried and when all anyone can see of your face (especially at passport control) is your eyes, I think it was obvious.
Only just finished this cake.
You might see some finger scrapings on the front. I couldn’t wait. I’m not a massive fan of over indulgent cakes but I’ve been lucky this last week. Each sweet treat has been subtle in flavour and not at all over the top. Either that or my tastebuds are getting old.
The culinary highlight of the year was lunch at the Michelin starred The Walnut Tree
Everything was amazing. And yes there was more sweet stuff.
Breakfast before 6am in Stanstead airport this week was a Shakshouka.
Sorry that it’s just a photo of the tub, but I ate it quickly despite not being that hungry as I didn’t want to get peckish on the flight and spend any more money with Ryan Air.
It was so tasty and simple to make I plan to do it at home. There are a thousand different recipes depending on what you have to hand but put simply you can:
Heat some oil in a lidded pan to soften some onions, red pepper, garlic, coriander and chilli. Stir in the tomatoes and a little sugar, then simmer to thicken for around 8 mins.
This sauce can be frozen in portions for when you need to use it as all that’s left to do is (reheat if frozen, then) make indentations with the back of a large spoon and crack an egg in each one, make 4 dips in the sauce, then crack an egg into each one. Put the lid on the pan and cook on a low heat till the eggs are done. Garnish with some spring onions, fresh coriander and feta. If you are really hungry, serve with crusty bread.
This is what it might look like.
The cameras are mostly battery powered but I now have a combination of mains, solar and battery. Batteries can last up to 2 years and I tested them four months in and they have plenty of charge left. I’ll need to keep an eye on the solar unit as the intense sunlight in Spain can degrade plastic panels pretty quickly. I chose a position so that it should not be in direct sunlight for most of the day.
One of the builders I was chatting to told me Spain has some of the cheapest hire cars in Europe. I wasn’t surprised as I picked up the Citroen C3 Aircross at the airport for less than 20 euros for the two days.
Sadly they don’t do this car as an EV and getting into a petrol vehicle will always feel like a step back after having the two electric lease cars this past year. On the way back from the airport the satnav took me and this mini SUV via some unpaved and sometimes rocky roads. It was certainly a lot of fun. Jarring at times but still an enjoyable ride.
Even if I did miss all the whistles and bells that electric cars seem to have. Over all I think it’s a great looking car with a comfy, punchy ride. A bit floaty round corners but I think an electric version would solve this with more torque and better grounded handling.
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I didn’t realise I needed a remote control solar powered electric Airstream till I said it out loud.
Long-standing literary magazines are struggling to stay afloat.
After hearing North Korea had been testing hypersonic missiles I had to google what the big deal was.
There is an ‘unknown’ pin on the Documentally community map not far from where I was in Spain. Is this you?
A mathematicians guide to Wordle.
Here is one reason why someone might stare into a mirror and how staring into a mirror might alter your consciousness. But you do so at your own risk.
After reading this thread ‘What’s the most NSFW thing you’ve done at work’ I had to have a good think. There are a few to choose from and for legal reasons I cannot either confirm or deny that these things actually happened but it’s either:
Jumping out of the rafters in a Tesco’s warehouse onto a stack of loo rolls (on their sides NOT tube up).
Building a high powered pulse laser from ‘spare parts’ and using it to pop balloons in my break time.
(At the same company as above) Building a working SA80 assault rifle minus the plastic and one part I could easily make. I’d accidentally been given too many parts needed to see if they could laser etch serial numbers on it. I never tested it but when I proudly showed the foreman my ‘ingenuity’ I was quietly moved to a different project. First proper job and all that.
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It’s the school holidays round here next week. Either side of herding kids I’ll be prepping for a couple of workshops and some one-to-one training.
Chat soon I hope.
“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.” ~ Graham Greene
See you out there.