Range Anxiety [304]

Greetings from the shed…

When things are continually weird, it’s not weird anymore.


I won’t bore you with tales from the house of covid. A good chunk of you will have heard my audio ramblings on the current situation.

Let us instead reflect on what is going on outside my window and across the wider world and beyond.

Starting with my village. It’s annual scarecrow festival. Not at all weird. The theme was heroes. This was our entry…

Scarecrows have been around for thousands of years but I read somewhere that in medieval times scarecrows were also be young boys hired to throw stones to protect crops. But during the Great Plague of 1348 farmers couldn’t find enough boys so had to go back to creating humanoid mannequins from straw stuffed sacks and carved turnips.

On a rare trip outside of the village, I managed to grab a pint in the sun on what might have been the last warm day of the year.

Apart from these things I’ve been cooking, cleaning, shopping and caring for the sick.


Real life testing of the iPhone 13’s cinematic mode.

I’m amazed that this restoration is even possible…

Longplayer’s Sonic Ray was on BBC news.

I’ve never wanted to see a musical as much as this one.

Lorraine Loot’s paintings for ants are wonderful.


Generation X are heavy, risky drinkers. Will anything ever persuade us to stop?

My daughter picked up The Sad Ghost Club from a book shop in Scotland.

It’s an honest, beautifully illustrated graphic novel touching upon sadness and anxiety. After reading it with my daughter, she asked me if the main characters were male or female. I had no idea and had not noticed that the story had that ambiguity built in. Another lovely touch as this made the narrative even easier to relate to.


If you are yet to hear my latest podcast it’s linked here.

I binged listened to The Great James Bond Car Robbery this week. I’m not a huge fan of cars or Bond but there is no denying that the Aston Martin DB5 as a cultural icon. This podcast speculates what might have happened to the original fully equipped DB5 driven by Sean Connery in Goldfinger after it was stolen. It drags itself out over 7 episodes and despite having a lot of people involved ‘unwilling to comment’ it does dig deep in places.

This very cool looking microphone enables the automatic ticketing of drivers who’s vehicles exceed the decibel limit.


I tend to make miso soup from chunky miso soup sachets, but it’s also easy to make if you have a jar of miso paste to hand. And even better if you have some dried seaweed at the back if the cupboard.

I’ve tried white and red miso but tend to use the sweeter white version as it’s all I can usually get hold of. I’d love to try the black miso but it can take years to ferment so is not cheap. As miso can be a blend of the three main types, hundreds of different kinds can be found in Japan.

You can make miso soup as simple or complicated as you like. Mine is certainly not traditional. I start by heating some water in a small pan. On this occasion I added some fresh kale, mushrooms, chopped spring onion, left over sweetcorn and some rice noodles. It’s important that you don’t add the miso paste into boiling water or you will kill the microorganisms. So I turn off the heat and then stir in about one loaded teaspoon of miso paste per person. I then added a slice of dried seaweed to serve.

With two household members not having a sense of smell at the moment I feel they didn’t get the full benefit of this.

What they really need are strong tastes. This works…

I found this Marmite clone at a fraction of the price of the original with a shelf life of a few years. Although it has a high salt content it’s also very high in B vitamins. If the umami goodness of yeast extract is your thing then it might be worth picking up a few jars in anticipation of the impending food delivery issues.

Should you want to go the whole hog and stock your bunker with long term food rations this company will supply anything from 24hrs of food for £13 to up to 3 years of rations costing £3024. That’s all the food you need for only £2.76/day! If stored correctly the ration packs can still be edible up to 20 years later.

I was only on the site to buy some of their ex-military surplus 24p energy bars (great for cycling) but also ordered a 24 hour ration pack. It just arrived. I’ll share my findings in a supporter email so if you want to know a) what’s in it… b) if it’s tasty or c) if it’s really all you need to eat in a day, please hit the button below to subscribe.


Rumour has it that the rechargeable battery manufacturer Eneloop also supply Ikea with their batteries. Good news if true as I have found that Eneloop last longer, have more charge cycles and retain charge in storage more than any other rechargeable I use. If it’s been a while since you’ve used rechargeable batteries try some of the new low self-discharge Nickel-Metal Hydride cells. Things really have moved on.

I’ve included some Amazon affiliate links on the off-chance you are looking for great rechargeable batteries but if you can… go to Ikea. I still use the Maha Powerex MH-C801D Smart Charger for the bulk of my charging in the house and the Maha Powered C9000 Pro in the shed.

Love my little garlic rocker. Such simplicity.

No moving parts make it not only easy to clean, but easy to use and unlikely to break.

Still waiting for a distraction free E-Ink laptop. Some have come close (listed in the article) but nothing like what is needed.



Thanks for reading. Next week I might be in Paris. I really hope it happens.

I also hope you are well and you and your beautiful minds are doing what you love.

“I’ve often been told I couldn’t do something, but then I’m always there, doing it.”

~ Marianne Vos

Get weird.

See you out there.