Tuesday, 15 December 2020

By the rivers

The Christmas tree is up. I sent the eldest to pick it up from the Scout Hut, being as he has all the muscles from the gym membership. I thought I might as well get my money's worth. He had a choice of a thin one or a really, really fat one. He chose the really, really fat one, and barely made it home, having to stop three times en route, despite all of the expensive muscles.

The space we have available is suited to a very slender tree. When I unwrapped the one he'd brought home we all stood there lost for words. It is the world's thickest tree, as wide as it is tall, and exceptionally luxuriant. A triumph of tree growing. And entirely unsuited to the narrow space between the fireplace and the television. I levered it in as best I could. It has a sort of malevolent dark presence in the corner of the room, sucking all the light out of it somehow. The middle boy and I, who tend to sit on a two-person sofa to the left of the fireplace, will not be able to view the television with the rest of the family throughout the festive season. We aren't that bothered to be honest, we're very well suited to sitting outside of the circle making sarcastic remarks that we think are funny, so we'll do that instead.

Photos from a trip to the River Severn (bird watching) and a trip to the River Avon (fishing). Birds but no fish. 

I put my back out the other day. Nothing too dramatic, it'll sort itself out in a bit, but I am blaming the dog. He had an appointment at the groomer's and as soon as he realised where we were going he sat down and refused to move, so I had to carry him the rest of the way. By the time we got there, he was shaking like a leaf. He does try to be brave, but when the chips are down he just wants to be at home on the sofa with me. 

In a moment of madness, I decided to try and write another 50,000 words of the fiction manuscript in December, having managed 50,000 in November. Maintaining the momentum and all that. Along with the day job of freelance writing, it is proving challenging. I have done 25,000 so far though, which is good. If I don't push myself, I think I'm a bit lazy. 

I am considering a bokashi bin. Has anyone ever given it a go? I like the idea of being able to compost cooked food and things. Although the wormery would do that, I tend not to put cooked food in there. I do love fermenting stuff though. I am making a batch of miso at the moment. And I always have kefir and sourdough on the go and quite often some kimchi. It really is rather magical. If you have any bokashi tips or advice to impart, please feel free. And don't be afraid to put me off, I do tend to get these ideas and they don't always turn out well.

Hope all is well at your end. CJ xx


  1. You made me laugh about your Christmas tree. We too have suffered in the past from something that was as broad as it was tall; it loomed over the back of the sofa, shedding needles on the unwary. Mind you, it can happen to anyone - do you remember the Downing St. tree a few years ago? I think that was more a case of it being sited too close to the door of Number 10, but MPs and visiting dignitaries had to edge round this monolith for weeks! Poor Bertie with his anxiety; maybe he needs a medal for bravery like the lion in The Wizard of Oz? :O) I hope your back recovers too. I hate it when that happens and you seize up every time you sit down. I had to Google a bokashi bin, it sounds fascinating; I look forward to hearing how you get on with it. Alys Fowler is apparently very keen. I have a new compost bin on my Christmas/ birthday list. My old one is more an eyesore of a compost 'area'. 2021 is going to be the year of compost - anything has to be better than this year! xx

  2. My dear.. I do hope you are going to photograph that magnificent plump tree and share it with us! The only one of those fermented things I have is a sourdough starter. Good luck on writing.. someday we can all say we knew you when. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

    ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉
    *M*E*R*R*Y* *C*H*R*I*S*T*M*A*S*!*
    ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉

  3. Poor old Bertie. Mind you, I don't like going to the hairdressers myself so I do understand how he feels. I do though walk in all by myself, and not shaking at all. I hope your back heals soon. Good luck also with your writing. I write about 50000 words a month but mostly boring stuff like feedback for student and 1001 emails to people who probably direct my messages to the junk folder. Writing for pleasure sounds so much better. I hope we get to read your stories one day. I just bought a tree yesterday. It appears that real trees are very popular this year, the lawn mower man from whom we usually get a tree was sold out. I found one elsewhere, thank goodness. Although the kids don't expect a tree now because I had a tantrum after one too many reminders of going tree shopping the other day.... I tucked it away in a corner in the garden for now, hoping to bee back in the good books when I finally put it up in the living room. It is a fine tree but I was informed by the helpful tree seller that the premium trees had sold out weeks ago. Anyway, must get back to those boring work tasks. Have a lovely week xx

  4. Well that’s a new one to me. A bokashi bin...will have to have a google moment. Love the idea of you and your boy sitting making sarcastic comments. Sounds like me and my eldest in days gone by. The sarcastic comments were at their worst when the news was on and better half was forever shushing us. Hope your back mends quickly and much as I loved you river photos you know I’m waiting for a picture of THE TREE. Keep those words going I’m sure you’ll reach your target. B x

  5. The tree sounds MAG.NI.FI.CENT and I fully applaud your eldest for buying the fullest tree he could. I'd have done the same. And then spent a week moving furniture around ("Do you really need a chair of your own?").
    It's also in hilarious contrast to ours which is so small, it fits on top of a speaker. Next year, I'm getting the biggest one and moving the Boyfriend out to fit it in.
    I know not of bokashi, I'm afraid. Sounds brilliant way of composting though - don't let people put you off!
    Hoping to start my own sourdough experiment in the new year, so I may have to pick your brains...
    Hope your back gets better and have a wonderful Christmas. Tx

  6. I'm sure that the tree is wonderful, despite it's size.
    I hope that your back is okay, and you'll take it easy.
    Well done on doing 50,000 words, and for carrying on and attempting the same again this month.
    I've never tried a bokashi bin so unable to help.
    All's okay here thanks. Take care. xx

  7. I am not noted for my sense of humour, but I cracked up with your tree story - thank you. I think it was the echoes of trees past that did it - you are so right about the malevolent presence sucking out the light. (And I also feel entitled to get my money's worth from a set of those 'expensive muscles' - more and more frequently!)
    Good to hear from you again - and happy Christmas.

  8. I'm going to have to consult the Oracle of Google before I can comment on the bokashi bin...but i am quite intrigued.

    I'm in absolute awe of the first and now the next-50,000 words.....you are a marvel indeed! Well done!!

    Our own over-sized tree is looking sparsely decorated and lit because of its aforementioned over-sizedness....and that's even with the bottom quarter not decorated because of the temptation all those dangly, sparkly bits are for the poor cat. Clearly our light/decoration supply is meant for less voluptuous trees. Happiest of Christmases to you, dearest CJ xo

  9. Oh gosh I do hope your back is feeling better soon, it can be very painful putting your back out. I see I'm not the only one with a tree that's far too big, ours fainted days after dressing it, baubles everywhere. Great.

    I've never heard of a bokashi bin either, I will look it up with interest.

    Karen x

  10. Love the photo of the lone tree. Dogs should come with a healti warning. I cracked my head on a door with lots of help from Ruby. She hates being groomed too and uses her paw to swipe aside the hairdryer.