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Radical vulnerability 
Greetings from my shed...
Time. The most precious of all our imaginary resources. I feel I’ve made the most of mine this last week.
In the last seven days there have been two supporter emails and even a little time out in the physical world. For example, me and the family spent a long and enjoyable day at the Cambridge Club Festival.
It was too dry and spaced out to feel like a normal festival but that suited us. We managed to spend an insane amount of cash at food trucks and on fairground rides, yet we still had fun. The tickets were bought after seeing Sophie Elis-Bextor’s kitchen disco during lockdown. I think this was her first live gig since then and dancing into the night with my 9 year old daughter on my shoulders was worth all the compressed vertebra.
Then the following me and my wife I got to see a Grayson Perry show.
The Turner Prize and Bafta winning artis-cum-TV presenter put on a great show as he explored death, life, cliche and finally solved everyones existential dread explaining how none of this means anything anyway.
I also had a little time on the radio.
The ‘morning net’ is the 10am on-air ham radio get together in my area. A bunch of us join in and take it in turns to chat about what is going on in our lives and discuss ham radio. Most just chat about what they got up to, are up to, or if they want to get political they comment on the news.
Chris Price, callsign 2E0DCA/a never missed the morning net. He’d enlighten us about retro computing and share wide variety of music interests. Sometimes he’d chat about his life as a carer. He had recently managed to procure a mobility scooter for his elderly Mother and she’d found a new lease of life because of it.
She was scooting all over the place. Sometimes blowing a fuse in town and he’d have to head out and rescue her. Chris laughed about all this. He’d paint a picture, spin it out and always finished his ‘over’ with “Anyway, I’m waffling.” He never missed a net.
Except on Monday. On Monday he wasn’t there when called. In his place was an announcement. Chris had a massive heart attack on Sunday. He managed to call for an ambulance but when they arrived they were unable to resuscitate him. His elderly mother returned from a scooter outing to find the house filled with paramedics.
He was 59 years old.
The following day, late in the evening on a little used frequency, there was another net. It was more intimate and less ‘stiff upper lip’. Some of the radio operators are decades older than Chris was. They can complain about the smallest things and I often thought many of them live as if nothing is amazing. I’d also wonder if this is how we all become.
But when I asked them if they ever felt thankful for being alive the responses surprised me. “Every second of every day.” Said one guy. Then, for the first time I can remember, they shared thoughts and feelings that felt true and beautiful.
Sometimes it takes a death in the family to remind us what is important. Or perhaps to remind us that we are still alive.
What a wonderful piece of animation.
The credits fill in the gaps should you need closure.
No idea why YouTube keeps delivering me car reviews but as a Kia E-Nero driver it’s interesting to see the new EV6. Things are really moving fast in this space.
Sadly in a first-world-problem kind of way I’ll be downgrading my Kia E-Nero lease car for a cheaper VW EV lease car. Looking at videos of cars about to come out makes it feel like even more of a downgrade. Maybe YouTube knows all this and is trying to upsell me.
Once a month for the last three months a guy called Richard Monk has posted a similar comment on a video I uploaded to YouTube in 2008.
The latest comment says: “Documentally OMI jacuzzi bubbles bath Making the most of hotel facilities in Whistler, Canada. part 2 next October 2021”
It’s all a bit creepy as he has no videos of his own. Just a small playlist involving another Jacuzzi video. I have not yet responded. Any ideas of the motive? Here is my original video.
Perhaps he is offering to pay me to take another Jacuzzi. If so might it pay more than writing? Most likely.
I can safely say that right now, our Marmite is not hidden in a cupboard but lives on display by the toaster.
A lovable anarchist, the oral history of Mr Blobby
I have finally written up the last day of my London To Edinburgh Cycling Hertz bike ride. Supporting subscribers can read all 13,000+ words here… day one, day two, day three, day four, day five, day six, day seven, day eight and day nine.
Disruption at work, it’s more than just WFH - An edited tweet storm.
My little handheld ham radio is also good for receiving FM radio. In fact it discovers so much I have no idea what i’m listening to half the time. If I don’t want to wait for the station ID jingle this website enables me to look up the frequency. Then I program it in for future scanning.
I listened to the whole series of Out of The Ordinary by Jolyon Jenkins this week. I’ve heard some of these programs pop up in different feeds over the last few years. There is a lot to get stuck into though. Try Liberland, Hole in the head and Holy Relics for starters.
This photo does not do the meal justice.
I made charred courgettes with runner beans and ricotta. It’s the kind of thing you should really do on a barbecue but with no skillet and not wanting to wait for an outdoor grill to heat up I had a go in the oven.
I used 50g mixed seeds, 2 tbsp honey, 1/2 lemon zested and juiced, 1/4 tsp chilli flakes, 250g tub ricotta, 400g runner beans, 4 courgettes, thickly sliced, and 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
First off: Toast the seeds in a pan and stir in the chilli, honey, and a large pinch of sea salt. Once the form sticky clusters, tip them out and leave to cool. Then mix the lemon zest and a little seasoning into the ricotta and set aside.
Then: Ideally barbecue (or in my case) bake the courgettes and runner beans oil with seasoning. I just about managed charred but you really want them to be a little crunchy as well.
Finally: Spoon and spread the ricotta all over a platter and layer the veg on top. Squeeze on the lemon juice and scatter over the honey clustered seeds. Finish with a little more salt and a drizzle of olive oil.
I made this as a side dish to be served with brown rice and a mild chilli. It definitely tasted better than it looked as there was nothing left.
I have two new coffee gadgets. Firstly, thanks must go to Ben Smith for the fancy coffee grinder.
I think @Ilicco told him I was looking for one and as Ben was upgrading his he gave me this freshly serviced Virtuoso grinder. It does an amazing job of delivering a consistent grind and I can easily adjust it for a variety of brew techniques. I was a little worried that it would interfere with my morning ritual of hand grinding, but if anything it has removed the little race I have with the kettle.
The other gadget is on the left. I picked up a woven metal reusable coffee filter for £3 from one of those Swedish stationery shops that sell gifts and art supplies.
(Sorry can’t remember the name. I also struggle to know how to differentiate stationary and stationery. Until now!)
I’ve used the solid frame mounted metal ones before but they never worked as well as this does. Yesterday I tried a side by side comparison with a paper filter to check particulates and then taste. I really could not tell the difference. It’s only downside is that there are a few tiny needle like strands of metal along the seam. That might not be the same for all, but the less you handle the filter the better. Either way, I’ll be using this from now on and see how long it lasts.
I bought a splitting wedge called the ‘Wood Grenade’. Works a treat and will help me prepare for winter. Some of my woodpile has been drying out for two years now.
On some logs I have placed this device in the middle and a back with a little sledgehammer has split the log clean in four. Great little tool.
I made this spot to thank paying subscribers. People like @Wadds who drop the $5/month to get all the emails, the podcast and access to the archives. Many thanks! Check out The epic walk he just did with his son.
Understandably supporter numbers dropped during the pandemic. Maybe you have now found your feet. If you have been on the fence and can stretch to the £3.62/month, please hit the red button and upgrade to a supporting subscriber.
If you would like to hear the audio/read the archive but really can’t afford a paid subscription, please send me an email. If you are interested in gifting someone a subscription you can do so here.
Thank you to everyone who has stuck with me through thick and thin and thanks in advance if you plan to support this dispatch going forward.
Even though the main upgrade to the iPhone 13 seems to be video, I’m glad I skipped the 12 as I can now justify buying a new camera/phone.
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Thanks for reading.
Nothing remains as it was. If you know this, you can begin again, with pure joy in the uprooting.” ~ Judith Minty
See you out there.