hirez: (Object)
It's already starting to be one of those weeks that are nothing but a cavalcade of tiresome.

Today started with a search for a Blue Plaque generator. There should probably be pictures of the result but probably not in a public post.

By the time I was back on the bus to Newbridge Park&Ride, I was in need of a quiet field to go and sit in so it was just me, sky, grasshoppers, clover and perhaps the distant sound of mechanised farming. That bus is probably the most middle-class thing I have encountered. It's cheap, air-conditioned, has (rubbish) wireless and is filled with the sort of people who probably vote UKIP. As such, it's dead popular in Bath, so they're having to build an extension to the parking bit at the end (or beginning) so there's more space for more nice middle-class cars.

As is my wont, I've been having a poke around in the interstices between the built environment and, well, the slightly less built environment.

Which is where I found the field I'd been looking for.

It was a jolly pleasant wander about and finding of the path up to the (closed) Kelston road.
hirez: (Riiight)
I don't know where to begin with this.

It transpires that the Romans worshipped Cotswold gods. (Even now, El Bat is warming up his sarcasm cannon...)

I dunno that 'Apollo Cunomaglos' is a particularly Cotswold name, but then Tartaglia's produce the best ice cream in Gloucestershire and dissent will result in a shoeing, so, er, stitch that you Oxfordshire bastard.
hirez: (muddy)
When I mentioned that 'The vitamin murders' was the wrong sort of book, I didn't actually mean 'Starts off well enough but then wanders into total bollocks and doesn't come back'. However, that is where we find ourselves. It's a shame, because yer man does take care to point out that the alleged mass poisoning of the countryside (and the sudden mechanisation of agriculture in general) had its roots (haw!) in efforts to keep the populace from starving to death in the forties.

There's a throwaway line in the book in re. the effect of Schradan, which was an early insecticide, and the amount of wildlife it killed in fields near Charlton Abbots.

Charlton Abbots is the village, and by extension the estate (in the agricultural rather than housing sense), where I grew up.

I poked at the internet for a bit, because that was self-evidently a bit close to home, and discovered that it had been hauled from one of the Zuckerman reports to (what was) MAFF.

Unfortunately I can't go and ask the chap who was there and had some experience with agrochemicals. And who I suspect suffered from OP-related nerve damage as a result.

Further internet poking reveals this fine website which is filled with quality Goldacreing.

In short, 'Shut up, Rik. No-one's on fire.'
hirez: (safety chicken)
I like to avoid 'Today I did...' posts for much the same reasons that I avoid the Telegraph supplement - in certain broken states of mind they're just no fun at all.

However, today I abetted Ma in guerilla tree-planting and got to ask a bloke in a hardware shop for 'fork handles'.

Hardware-bloke didn't boot me out of his nice shop, but instead suggested I try West Midland Farmers Countrywide[1] in Bourton. Which was odd. I still feel like (even more of) an effete imposter in places like that. As if someone in a Tattersall shirt is going to beetle up and go 'Oi! You in the fecking climbing boots! Put that down and bugger off! There's nothing for you here!'

On the other hand, you can't beat shops that smell of chainsaw oil and cattle-cake.





[1] Which, I don't know. A great wedge of my childhood certainties vanished when WMF, Midland Shires Farmers and Aubrey Rees of Cirencester vanished when I wasn't looking. I mean, I remember being up at Reeseses with the parents (fetching hydraulic oil or parts for one of the I-H tractors) when someone steamed into the place going 'Concorde!'. Everyone piled outside to watch the pointy-and-smoking aircraft from the future howl overhead on final approach to Fairford.

I've written before about the feeling that something is actively removing the things I think I remember from the collective understanding.
hirez: (Object)
Grass that wasn't 'genetically modified' unlikely to have spontaneously mutated and poisoned cattle. Well, any more than some grasses do anyway.

Most of the articles about this alleged incident are on sites with axes to grind and source the same Telly 'news' article.

In other news, things that are growing in the garden, other than weeds, now include wheat and oats. I am strangely pleased by this.

Most other things seem to have been terminally confused by the fucking climate.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
Yesterday was mostly spent pottering about Chepstow with some unusual suspects and it all turned out utterly splendid. I wonder if the one-way-system pub crawl is a thing, and if not it should be.

Anyway.

Part of the gig was minding an assemblage of artfully constructed steampunkery in the castle. For reasons which I suspect the estimable [livejournal.com profile] autopope of this parish could fulminate over for quite some time, several of the items were handguns of varying baroqueness.

While I was standing there, everyone who picked up one or other of the pistols peered down the barrel and worked the trigger.

I have a phrase for that sort of behaviour and it is fucking idiocy.

I think it is a problem created by a particular sort of smug, (English) (middle-class) type who consider all firearms icky and therefore won't have anything to do with any aspect of them. Indeed, after the n-th time I found myself cringing and looking for something to hide behind, I was moved to explain to some small Tarquin (or Bastian or whatever pre-teens are called these days) that perhaps it would be a good idea to keep the thing pointed at the floor and finger away from the trigger until he was sure the weapon had been made safe.

This resulted in the usual set of filthy looks. The useless tossers.

I am not, in the main, the sort of person who agrees with many of the aims of the NRA (US version), but their advice to parents is spot on.

In a similar area we find the gormless sods in the office who do the same peering-and-triggering with the nerf pistols lying about. I don't actually care that the fucking things are toys don't do that it's fucking stupid and by the way don't point the fucking thing at me because you will have a sense of humour failure when I wallop you with something.

Jesus.

It's just me, isn't it? I was the one who was taught gun-safety by my parents and so I have to put up with a legion of horrible horrible bastards who'll bang on for hours about the relative merits of MP5 over G36 over Glock something-or-other and actually they haven't a fucking clue what they're talking about because they're the same bloody people peering down the business-end of something they don't know the state of and working the trigger hopefully to find out.

The very next person who tries something like that near me is going to get a right fucking talking-to.

(The cringe-and-duck thing? I can't not do it. It's ingrained behaviour and really, I'm not about to stop doing it.)
hirez: (Default)
August 1971 or 72 )
hirez: (muddy)
I dunno about elsewhere, but in the the Bristol aerial it has been blue of sky and jolly warm once the day got going.

For a set of entirely non-rational reasons, I have been putting off cleaning out the shed for a number of years. Today I, er, stopped doing that and we piled several dead monitors, flayed PC cases and expired printers into the car and thence into the receptacles provided by the pleasant sorts at Bristol council. That just leaves about the same amount again of computer kit for the next trip. Although the remaining monitors are all > 20" devices and my back was several years younger when I hoofed them in there the first time.

One of the (many) things In The Way in the shed is one of these things, which is yet another item in the list of lovely but impractical presents from the parent(s). Since it remained bright and warm out, I had no useful excuse[1] not to charge up the cordless drill and set to building it. And, once it was built, it seemed a bit rubbish not to dig several buckets of well-rotted from the composter, and then finish off the job by transferring the contents of a couple of the recycling bags that I've been using for planting things.

The coriander, which I had previously failed to grow and which is alleged to be severely frost-averse, seems to continue to grow for spite. It obviously likes deep soil and being pointedly ignored. I grubbed out half of it and still have more than enough to run a busy curry-house for the thick end of a Bradford bank holiday.

My hands still pong of it, too. Mmmm. Coriander. I am also a bit worn out. Funny how the big manual gardening jobs happen at the start of the season when you're flabby and out of practice.



[1] The potentially useful excuse is being on call. Not a peep out of the phone. It was probably knackered after a prolonged peeping session last evening.
hirez: (muddy)
Hemp-based 'raw protein powder' smells and tastes more or less exactly like the back of a rickyard after a light shower. Even if you try to drown the taste with a good handful of raspberries.

This is all terribly previous. Fills in some gaps in the mental landscape, mind. Imagine my surprise that there's a subheading named 'Nonconformity'.
hirez: (Pie!)
... All I need to be happy is water, sugar, fruit, old jam jars and a sharp knife.

hirez: (dissent)
(JFGI)

Actually, I don't think the Cotswolds is/are a large military installation designed to control the population. I believe that facility lies further south.

However. When I were a wee lad, one of the oil companies (I believe Shell) ran a pipeline across Charlton Abbotts Estate. I think it runs over the top from the direction of Guiting Power, down past Spoonley and Waterhatch Farms, up the other side of the valley towards Goldwell and Middle Barn and exits C-A land at the bottom end of the West Down. I grew up seeing the patches of new fencing with a pipe-marker (grey plastic-coated pole per roadsigns with a red pitched roof) spread across the place, but never bothered to sit down with the relevant OS maps to mark down where they lay.

I don't recall anything like the fuss that happened when they put the gas pipe in the other year, which I am tolerably sure crosses the oil line somewhere on the brow of the hill above Roel Gate. If only because the silly buggers having a protest at the terrible scar wrought across the land hadn't actually been there when the last alleged terrible scar was created because they were a bunch of tiresome townie fucks. And since the previous terrible scar has vanished under the landscape and hasn't affected their house prices, the bastards don't give a monkey's.

At least I think it happened. The pipework that I'm fairly sure I remember isn't marked on the OS maps or the Googles. There are large scale maps of the UK pipeline network which sort-of-look as if something might run across the Cotswolds, but that's probably swamp gas, Venus or a training flight.
hirez: (tank)
Apparently we're mostly descended from farmers. (Picture in the Guardian features what seems to be a rowcrop Nuffield. Oo-aar, etc.)

Thus I guess it's no great surprise that I was more than a little pleased to discover that the stuff coming out of the compost-dalek lurking at the end of the garden actually smells like freshly-turned soil, rather than the festery raw materials we tip into its wormy maw.

Because the thing's full and not consuming said raw materials as quickly as it does in summer, pruning 3/4 of the garden generated five bags of garden waste, one pair of knackered wrists and one somewhat broken but repairable pair of pruning shears. It was nice and warm in the sun, too.

I'm idly considering re-purposing a pair of builder's sand bags (or mumble-tonne fertiliser bags) to grow spuds in. Bugger spending money on things from the back of the Sunday papers. That way lies single tartan slippers, poor-quality pervy underwear and Bicycle-Shaped Objects.
hirez: (safety chicken)
Boggler! )
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
That sodding Nature Valley advert, right?

i) World's worst alleged Welsh accent.
ii) Tractor used without roll-over bar in clear contravention of relevant legislation[1].
iii) Carrying passengers in that trailer's pretty dodgy, too.[2]


You useless townie shitwits.




[1] The Agriculture (Tractor Cabs) Regulations 1974.
[2] The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
hirez: (muddy)
Dear snot-coloured Peugeot-pilot.

As it happens, that bit of road is wide enough for two vehicles + parked cars. The damage to my wing-mirror will cost twenty notes to fix if I go for SAAB parts, or a fiver for pattern bits off Ebay. Judging by the amount of colour-matched plastic shards on the road, I suspect fixing your shitbox will cost considerably more. That is because I have a proper car and you have some terrible French chicken shed made from tinfoil and chewed-up bus tickets. The next time you have an accident, it'll likely be a proper one and you'll have to stop because your chicken shed will have folded up like a wet newspaper.

Boomshanka, JH-R.

PS. [Nelson] Ha-ha! [/Nelson]


Anyway. [/Clarkson]

Even though our carriageway was basically empty, some hapless Disco-captain had managed to park his hateful vehicle on its roof in the centre lane, just behind the vast mobile boghouse that was on its side in the first two lanes. Yes, it may be a Solihull-built 4wd, but if the boghouse it's towing is bigger and starts to fishtail, it's earth-sky-earth-sky-hospital time.

Caravans, right? They're just a shit design. I fondly imagine that the sensible arrangement would be to have an axle at the rear and an articulated axle at the front, but that would make them a bugger to reverse. I guess the upside of that would be making it illegal to keep one unless you can reverse it round a corner. (I never learned that skill, sadly, but they teach it at ag. college.)

Anyway anyway.

Between those two events, I spent part of the afternoon fondling someone's plums.

And their damsons.

It was jolly nice.

Mum's aunt (I think) keeps a small farm on the Boddington side of Staverton. The orchard is old and filled with random English varieties of fruit, and now I have several containers of same that I don't know what to do with yet. In the old days, we had a pantry filled with dusty jamjars and a three-hole AGA with which to boil up the produce. Now I live somewhere tiresomely modern with shops, not so much.

I am also compelled to report that Aunt Joy's loganberry wine really does slide down very well. Good job I only had a small tumbler.

"Have you had home-made before, John? Because I don't like to give it to those as hasn't; they don't have the taste for it and'll get a bit silly."
hirez: (Challenger)
Might as well finish off the day with a filthy racket that suits my mood:

http://www.libeljournal.com/malarkey/EatLead.mp3

I'm fairly sure we've been here before, but it seems like a good idea again. Breakbeat drone-rock? Something like that. Defiantly lo-fi, too.
hirez: (psyche-out (ii))
I've been somewhat tense of late. Wound up like a clock-spring would be closer to the mark. It's not been a great deal of fun.

Today has been an extended and at times high-speed potter with [livejournal.com profile] jarkman

We looked at disturbing robots, replicating machines, moorhens coot and an abandoned canal.

Quite how anyone can build a spherical jumping robot and not have The Prisoner mentioned is beyond me. Clearly the chap's Phd supervisor is a bit short in the clue department.

The bits of the Severn out past Apperley are quite startlingly picturesque.

Not so much blue remembered hills as leaving the green ones and exploring the flat bits. Point the car at the next squared-off steeple and press the loud button toward the floor. Marvellous.


So now I am unwound and rather tired and will have another bottle of Hoegaarden ta very much.
hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
While I think about it, the smell of warm rubber (eg a freshly filled hot water bottle) will always take me back to the early seventies, Holt Farm and the time before central heating. Or at least the time that central heating was looked upon as this dreadful modern invention that rubbish city dwellers had in their crap little houses.

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JH-R

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