May 2008


i was walking down the main road near where we live going from Lidl to Aldi this afternoon when i noticed a dog running across the road a few times. A beautiful german shepherd type dog, he then dived into the nearest bin, and started pulling out bags of rubbish and ripping them apart, looking for food. At first i thought he was a loose dog, but he was there for ages and no one was claiming him. I looked closer and could see he was painfully thin and very very dirty, so i went to the corner shop just down the road and grabbed a tin of dog food, popped it open and put it in front of him (better for him to eat that than the rubbish) then called Michiel and asked him to come up with a spare leash.

Boris in the garden, waiting patiently for the dog warden

he let us put the leash on him quite readily and he walked home with us, then i sat in the garden, off to one side, while jess went bananas and Michiel tried to find the dog warden. Because of Jess, and the fact that this dog (a boy, we called him Boris) was so dirty, we decided to keep him in the garden: we did try introducing them but they Didn’t Get On, and we were worried that in a fight, Jess would come off worse (she was feeling threatened, i think, by her alpha female position).

Anyway. Couple hours later, dog warden came, and we waved bye bye to Boris, with a sniff and a tear. We’d both taken him into our hearts, he was so gentle, he obeyed basic commands (sit, lie down), and had very white teeth, so despite his thinness and dirtiness, he’d definetly been a pet. he wasn’t chipped, sadly, so the wardens will hold him for 7 days to see if an owner shows up, then he’ll go to the Manchester Dogs Home (where we got Jess from) for rehoming – and he won’t be destroyed, which was a relief to me. We were both so tempted to keep him, but the way Jess was reacting, plus our finances (or lack of em) and lack of space, meant that we couldn’t really. I did snap a couple pictures to remember him by though, and its these i’ve posted here.

So.. he’s gone. and Jess is calming down on the sofa. And i never did get the shopping done, which means takeout for tea. oh well..

Although I’m back home now, on Sunday Sez and Chris took me to Lincoln for the day. I’ve never been to Lincoln before: its a charming city. We parked outside the castle, with a vague plan to visit the cathedral. Then i saw the castle, and wanted to visit that! So we went there first. There’s a lot surviving to it, mostly because its been used throughout the years, first as part of the defence network, of course, but in time, by various dignitaries and monarchs over the years (Henry VIII and Katherine Howard stayed there on their great progress of the North, for example) but in the 18th and 19th centuries a prison was built inside the castle, for debtors and criminals, some criminals were executed there (the long drop was developed there, the technique that broke the neck of the person being hung, rather than suffocating slowly to death) and during WWII the high observation tower was used as a lookout point for fire. The large Crown Court Building in the center of the castle is still in use as a Court, although the rest of the castle is now open for tourists.

We began by walking around the curtain wall, which is a good few meters wide, and you can see for miles from the top of the wall. The Cathedral is next to the castle, almost, so you get good views of that too. We went up to the curtain wall via a tower next to the east gate (which is the main entrance today) and where – according to Chris – criminals would be hung, at the top anyway. then we walked around the curtain wall, over the east gate, to the observatory tower. A little history lessons in castles: your original castle was a bailey: a fortified tower. Then some bright spark thought to put a big wall around the tower, thus making it harder for your enemies to get to the tower (which is where you kept important stuff like your family and women, the gold). This was called a mott and bailey construction – the motte being the tower, the bailey being the area inside the curtain wall. Lincoln castle is unusual in having 2 mottes: one called Lucy Tower, and the observatory tower which was built on by one of the prison warders said he needed an observation post to foil escape attempts when he really wanted to watch the stars! I was very brave and went up all the steps to the top of the observatory tower, got a few pictures off then dashed down again (I don’t like heights very much). then we went back down to terra firma, which i was rather grateful for. getting up to Lucy Tower involved going up a lot of very steep steps, and i’m afraid i chickend out of those, but Chris went up. After that we walked around to the bath house, the well, and then went to visit the prison, which has the only surviving seperatist chapel in the world (the idea at the time was to seperate the prisoners from each other), and which is really quite chilling.

Then we decided to leave the castle and walk down Steep Hill. That’s actually its name, walking from the castle and cathedral and where all the posh people would’ve lived, down the hill to the shopping centre at the bottom. Known locally as “Heart Attack Alley”, its not an easy walk by any means. We passed Harlequin House – the oldest theatre in Lincoln, i think Chris said – and Jew’s Court/Jew’s House, which were prominently associated with the Jewish Community in Lincoln till the expulsion of the Jews in 1290. Sadly, being a sunday, neither were open. When we got to the bottom we found a pub, had a drink, then walked all the way back up again.. and i put it here for the record: i beat Steep Hill!!!!!

A quick trip around Lincoln Cathedral was next – parts of the da Vinci Code were filmed there, and i have to say its a beautiful building. I wish i could’ve seen more of it, unfortunately, being a sunday, the deacons were ushering out the tourists for a service (and if you ever get the chance to listen to music there, grab it – a choir was singing as we left and it was absolutely enchanting). There’s a sort of medieval court (Bailgate) between the castle and cathedral as well that apparently is lovely over christmas – there’s a christmas market which is very popular, and very atmospheric (although, i have to say, i really don’t fancy walking up steep hill in winter!).

After that we drove to a pretty village that Chris knew, had our picnic on the village green in sunshine, then drove home again, very very tired. The following day i returned home. It was a lovely break, a much needed one, and i really enjoyed seeing some of Lincolnshire (many thanks to Sez and Chris).

Photos below, as usual, more on flickr if you want to see.

Now I’m back? nose back to the grindstone, getting back on with the garden, and all the other things i want to do!!!

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I am, as anyone who reads sez’s blog knows, visiting her for a few days in Scunthorpe. I arrived yesterday by train after a lovely journey across the pennines, we went “home” and she showed me her garden – it was good to see in person, what i’ve spent so long discussing and trying to imagine – its quite different to how i had thought it was, which shows that there’s really no subtitute for experience. It was also her birthday yesterday, so i got to admire her new pressies (the hamsters which are very cute and very shy) and hand her her home made card and a present (a gardening book). Chris (her other half) took us out for a meal at Chiquitos, a mexican place, where i got to have a veggie platter for a starter, shared with them, and a veggie chilli burrito, all to myself, and – which i fell in love with – a virgin colada. I’ve never had a colada before, whether pina or virgin, and it is OMG gorgeous. I’m going to make one when i get home, drag the blender out (and might even try it as a pina, i.e. with the bacardi). then we went home and watched “I am legend” which is quite different to how i thought it would be, but good.

Today we braved the ominous morning weather and drove down to the beach. It was a long drive, about 2 hours, we stopped in a very busy Louth first.. Louth is a pretty little town with lots of proper food shops (i.e. dedicated shops like a greengrocer, butchers, cheese shop) and i’m afraid i succumbed to temptation and had some cheddar for me and some old amsterdam for Michiel. (Mustn’t forget to take them home). After that we stopped at a pub for a quick drink, then pressed on to Gibraltar Point, which is just beyond Skegness. Never been to Skegness… don’t suppose i’ll ever go again, unless its to go back to Gibraltar Point which is *definetly* worth a visit. Skegness is okay i suppose if you like amusement arcades and butlins, which i don’t.

But Gibraltar Point is definetly worth a visit if you like wildlife and/or unspoilt seaside. you have to park a way away from the beach and walk a fair way through a sort of marsh before you hit the sea, but when you do its lovely sand, although the wind was strong today (and that kept it on the cold side). the weather was on our side, the sun came out while we were there and while it wasn’t bikini weather, it wasn’t huddling in the car not wanting to get out weather either. Sez and i paddled (yes it was cold), we all looked for shells, then went back to the car, tired and content. As Sez said, the sea is nourishment for the soul.

On the way back we stopped in Louth again and went for fish and chips. This was a proper english chippy: where we live, all the chippys are run as part of a chinese takeaway, which is fine, but they impart their own flavour, and its been ages since either Michiel or i had a proper fish and chip supper. This one was a small one, but just right for me, Β£2.00 and a good portion of battered fish and a handful of chips, eaten out the wrapper, steaming with salt and vinegar. nothing like it. Then we piled back into the car and barrelled home, stopping at Morrisons (my first ever visit to a Morrisons) for supplies for the picnic Sez mentioned, then went home.

At home i helped Sez put up one of her birthday pressies – a new bird table – then we worked in the kitchen together.. Sez made pesto pasta (which is gorgeous and i will be doing myself at home) and i made garlicky potato salad, much better than the last batch i made (too much garlic) and much improved by the chopped gherkins i put in. We’re gonna be getting evil looks off people tomorrow when we pull our our snazzy picnic. Then we sat down to watch “The Golden Compass” but it was a duff DVD and we only saw half of it, so i’ll have to hire it when i get home i think.

I took pictures out at Gibraltar Point today.. here are some of the best ones.. behind the cut as normal. Tomorrow – not sure exactly where we’re going, either York or Lincoln, but definetly for a picnic, so more photos then, and possibly going to this great icecream place afterwards.. πŸ˜€

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not in my bloomin garden you’re not… grrrr!!!

some more photos to share. Its been a beautiful couple of days. hard to believe just a month ago there was snow on the ground..

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i put in a solid amount of work today on the garden. Only 4 hours but it felt like much much longer. i think mostly because most of it was quite hard work. I dug over the end of bed 3 that has the blackcurrant and redcurrant bushes in. It was infested with some kind of fairly deep rooted weed, due to my neglect of last year, so that entire bed needed going over on my hands and knees, pulling out these horrid weeds. i then moved 2 of the bushes, so that the bushes are further apart and have more room to grow, then put some compost in around them, and moved the strawberry plants in the dug over space.

I’m not sure that the shape bed 3 will take yet. one end is done, the end i’ve just described, in a sort of L shape, with one more bit that needs weeding/digging over, where i was kneeling. the other end is dug over and weeded, the end with the raspberries. its the bit in the middle that needs doing!! its also large enough that i’m asking myself how i’m going to get to the fruit, particularly if i build a sort of net cage to keep the birds off. So that’s still to be done, but i’m glad i’ve sorted out almost all the fruit now, just the melon seeds to sow.

I’ve also sowed the first of my salad boxes. I had a terrible time last year with lettuce and slugs: so much that i didn’t get a single solitary homegrown lettuce from my garden! all i got was rocket. So this year i resolved to do something different. not only have i watered in the nematodes to (hopefully) keep the slugs off, and am squishing every snail i can find, i’m also growing my salad differently. An idea Sez gave me: growing basic salads (salad leaves, pea tips, radishes, spring onions) in fairly shallow containers, on a rotational basis. each box is a week’s worth of salad, i hope, and i’ll have four to six of them, which i will rotate throughout the summer. week 1, sow box one, week 2, box 2, and so on, and hopefully by the time i’m ready to sow either box 5, 6 or 7, box 1 will be ready for eating. all depends how fast things grow, i guess.

Finally, (today) at the top end of bed 8, i sowed the first batch of various greens: swiss chard, both red and multicoloured, spinach, and spinach beet. bed 8 is in the side garden and is shaded for the latter half of the day, so with luck those plants will enjoy that shade πŸ™‚

Oh, and i cut the grass! I’m using one of those battery operated strimmers (need to buy a lawnmower at some point i guess) so i can only do so much at once: the grass got a bit long so it takes a fair bit of the battery to strip it down. I only did about a third of the garden before the battery started wearing down, and will do more tomorrow.

I must also be doing something right. There’s a very cheeky blackbird hopping through my new beds, being watched all eagleeyed by Jess. I think she’s fishing for worms, probably got babies to feed. hopefully she’ll take the wireworms!!!

On Sunday i also worked on the garden, although i did so mostly indoors. I did plant 2 honeysuckle plants that i’d bought from Aldi, up against the fence in bed 5. Hopefully they’ll grow up the fence and make the garden all scented over the summer. I chose the variety “Repens” and “Serotina”. Inside, i set about sowing seeds: 2 small mushroom trays with 6 loo tubes each with sunflower seeds: 6 of a normal giant single sunflower, and 6 of a variety Sez gave me, “Claret”. I also sowed 6 trays of 6 loo roll tubes each of sweetpea seeds of different varieties, including some seed i kept from last year! Be interesting to see if they grow at all – my first attempt at growing completely free. I also sowed a tray of vegetable seeds, different varieties of winter veg: celeriac, kale, leeks, and some flowers. The courgettes have been hit by sunscorch on the bedroom windowsill so they’ve been moved temporarily to the bathroom windowsill, until they can go into the greenhouse for their last few weeks (and i might even put a few in the ground in the next week or so).

Yesterday saw me working in the kitchen: i made bread, apple pie, apple ravioli, lemon drizzle cake and chicken pesto pasta for dinner.

I also took some update pics to show you how i’ve been getting on.. behind the cut, as always…

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I’ve been reading through some of the blogs written for the Blogging Against Disabilism Day. Some are outright funny, others touched me for personal reasons, others are just fantastically written. But i wanted to share some of them with my readers.. if your blog didn’t make it here, apologies in advance, but i’m not going to reproduce Goldfish’s central repository just to avoid making people feel bad. πŸ™‚

[and, since BADD isn’t over yet, i may well add to this later on!]

I’d like to start with some of the funnier entries, since humour is always a big draw. Jeanie wrote about three bad habits that ablists often have in “BADD ju-ju” (and how that vice principal is still alive i really do NOT know). Mary has presented a side splitting (to me) alternative analysis of disability involving Gorillas in “The Gorilla in your House” (and for the record, mine is currently watching me type, eating a banana, ooking softly away. and no, i’m not referring to Michiel either), and Attila the Mom has written about the problems of kids overhearing things they shouldn’t (and things adults shouldn’t be saying either!) in “little pitchers have big ears“. ColourWheel made a comment about being too busy to blog about disability today, because she’s too busy being disabled.

More thought provoking entries include references to language – Tera wrote about using words such as “lame”, “retarded”, and, yes, “spastic” in “Ubisoft pulls Mindquiz” and Andrea wrote about deciding not to use any words that refer to the disabled in derogatory terms in “BADD but not rude” and referred us to the “R Word Campaign“. Both posts were thought provoking – pointing out that useage of the term “special bus” or “short bus” in the wrong way can be very insulting, and the word “gay”, as in “that’s SO gay!”.. both of which i have seen used by friends of mine without thinking – and yes, i’ve laughed at them. I won’t any more.

Education was the theme in DarkAngel’s post on being deafblind in the Netherlands, “Sorry, you’re too disabled“. Brooklynite’s commented on “Out and Around – the presumption of literacy” – her sister cannot read. I hope i don’t take reading for granted again. Three Square Meals wrote about the problems of being Body Policed in a post entitled “Body Police” that was thought provoking, and Mary wrote about the problems of equal access to public transport in the UK in “Different but Equal” (and she might be glad to know that in the Manchester area, covered by GMPTE, equal access buses (the kind you can get a wheelchair on) have a sign saying something like Wheelchairs take precedence over moms with children, which i think is a good thing. Although not all routes have the new buses on, which isn’t), and which includes the hilarious – to me – line “no being crippled before 9.30am!” in reference to a concessionary pass which only allows free travel after 9.30am (the kind i have. I’m not supposed to be deaf before 9.30am, i guess?!).

Mauzy got political in “Blogging against Disablism Day” when she wrote about Barak Obama being the only presidential candidate willing to support the “Fully Funding Individuals with Disabilities Education Act”. Go read, it may make you view the presidential campaign differently. willendorf wrote a post about things she’d like to say to people who see her girlfriend in “Gimp Militia, Ladies Auxiliary Reporting“. I particularly like the “I am also not her aide, keeper, or caretaker (if anything, she’s mine).” line. πŸ™‚ Kate also wrote about being the Significant Other of someone who’s disabled in “Blogging Against Disablism“, about things that annoy her, and things that make her happy – something i share with her, is that she likes people who are simply curious about her husband’s disability. so do i, curiousness isn’t a problem, its an opportunity to educate.

Wheelie Catholic wrote about those who enable the disablists (the ones who make you feel bad for standing up for your rights, for example) in “Don’t Enable an Ablist“. MissNomered wrote about Hope – hope to eradicate disability – in “Pity, Tubes and the Meaning of Hope” – a wonderful thought provoking post. David’s written about the tendency for those in wheelchairs to be lumped together in “Mistaken Identity“, and the slippery slope down to dehumanisation. Cusp wrote a wonderful post about her very different experiences of disability from watching it happen to other people, near and far, moving closer till it struck home in “Substitute“. Well worth a read.

And finally Candy wrote a wonderful post about Audism and Reverse Audism, something i touched on in last year’s BADD blog post, although i didn’t call it that, in “Disablism and Audism within DeafRead“.

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