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Growing concerns - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
Growing concerns
Today my mum took me and addedentry to a garden centre and bought us an apple tree (a Worcester Pearmain), as well as some other smaller tasty plants (tomatoes, peppers, and blueberry bushes). Digging a hole big enough for even such a tiny tree takes a surprising amount of time and effort. We also planted the hazel sapling from my parents' garden; meanwhile, the hawthorn saplings cleanskies gave us are flourishing. We are literally putting down roots here.

The eventual plan for the garden is that everything should be edible; the main exceptions at the moment are the daffodils, crocuses, and rather lurid primulas which we planted hastily to stop the garden looking quite so much like a post-apocalyptic wasteland (it worked!), though our definition of 'edible' includes anything Richard Mabey thinks you can eat, which allows quite a lot of leeway.

The best thing about the garden, though, is that we have a BADGER! OK, we've only actually seen it in next door's garden, not ours (we've seen a fox and a hedgehog in ours, though) but given the mess it's made of theirs I'm quite happy with that. I tried to get a photo but you can only really tell it's a badger if you already know. But, really, an ACTUAL LIVE BADGER!

We've definitely made more progress with the garden than with the house; while the garden's growing, the house is falling down. OK, that's a slight exaggeration: it's suffering from a small amount of subsidence, which has caused cracks to appear all over the place. The buildings insurance people think this is a) probably due to defective drains (as opposed to, say, tunnelling badgers), and b) probably not covered by our insurance because we were sort of warned that it was a possibility in the survey. It has taken them weeks and weeks to do anything, and we're still waiting for the results of the investigation of the drains. I was horribly worried about it at first, and it certainly added to the general hiding-under-a-rock stress; but you can't sustain that level of worry for this long, and the house hasn't actually fallen down, so now I am just wishing they would hurry up and tell us how much it will cost.

The subsidence does mean that pretty much everything else to do with the inside of the house is suffering from planning blight, though; realistically, we weren't going to have redecorated everything by now (my parents still haven't redecorated everything in their house, and they've lived there for 24 years now), but we were hoping to get started on sorting out the kitchen. We still don't have an oven, but it's not a big deal. Maybe we don't need an oven after all (at least two people now have said we should get a Remoska instead). It would feel slightly odd making a deliberate choice not to have an oven, to get the kitchen refitted without leaving room for one; but probably no odder than it would feel to a lot of people not to have a TV.

On the other hand, not having a TV doesn't really mean it's impossible to watch TV; it's just impossible to watch it live. We watched the whole first series of Glee (if you don't know what Glee is -- and given that I don't often watch TV, I don't take it for granted that everybody knows about every TV show -- then the Wikipedia entry will explain with no spoilers above the fold) suffering the indignity of being a week behind the rest of the UK because 4OD didn't release the episodes until they'd shown the repeat. Episodes! Repeats! Things I hadn't thought about at all since I last watched TV regularly, back in the late 1990s. I tried to persuade addedentry to do the bittorrent thing so we could get the next episodes quicker, but he wouldn't, and I don't know how (honestly! I've just never done it). We also watched the first episode of the new Dr Who (it is probably internet heresy to say that I don't really get Dr Who, but, well) despite nearly being put off by the utterly rubbish bit with the food at the beginning.

There's lots of other things I want to write about but I don't really know where to start, and more and more I feel as though LiveJournal isn't really the place to write about them, because I feel like I don't know anybody here very well any more. I don't have real conversations with very many people any more at all, and that's my fault for not being good at keeping up friendships, but it still feels like I've retreated into a dark empty room somehow and I don't quite know how to come back to the party, because everything is elsewhere, and I'm not totally sure that it wouldn't be better just to slip away home in the dark without another word.

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braisedbywolves From: braisedbywolves Date: April 11th, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
despite nearly being put off by the utterly rubbish bit with the food at the beginning.

I.. the.. I... what?
j4 From: j4 Date: April 12th, 2010 09:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Er... that was Dr Who, wasn't it? I didn't dream it or something? The stupid bit where he's trying lots of different foods while he's trying to adjust to his new body, and spitting everything out across the kitchen? It was like something out of 'Bottom'. Totally retarded. Yes, I know it's only a tiny bit of the whole thing, but, y'know, it was the first bit, and it went on about twenty times longer than necessary.

(Yeah, internet heresy, I know. I'm sure that bit was actually a clever reference to the bit in Blah Blah Blah of the Daleks where the chap with the scarf does that thing with the thing and it's incredibly significant to the plot arc.)
From: mooism Date: April 11th, 2010 11:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
The rubbish bit at the start with the food did put me off the Dr Who, and I only gave it another chance on iPlayer because my girlfriend told me it got better after that bit.

I wonder how a Remoska compares to an ordinary oven w.r.t. energy usage? Given that it's generally a bad idea to use electricity for heating except when using a heat pump? Although it does say it's cheaper to run than a normal oven, and presumably that means it's using less energy.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 12th, 2010 09:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Lots of things seem to say that the Remoska is more energy-efficient, but I haven't found any solid figures.

a bad idea to use electricity for heating

Why's that? Are you saying that if/when we do get an oven, a gas oven would be better? (Definitely getting a gas hob - at the moment we are making do with one of those portable electric one-ring things - but I found gas ovens seemed to cook a bit unevenly... OTOH those were shitty gas ovens in rented houses, so, hm.)

It's such a minefield, though, and after a while I start thinking "well, it'd be easier if we didn't eat". :-{
(Deleted comment)
lishablog From: lishablog Date: April 11th, 2010 11:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you write, we will comment. And converse. And suchlike. :)

At the beginning of this post I was thinking that you were sounding a lot more cheerful than in the last posts I've read of yours, and that the progress in your garden sounded lovely. A badger? How awesome is that?!

Don't sneak away to a dark room. Come play with us here. We like you plenty fine!
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: April 12th, 2010 03:20 am (UTC) (Link)
You know more of us than I do. With friends it's like you never went away even if it has been 20 years. You are among friends. If I weren't tapping away on an iPhone in Santa Fe in the dark by a sleeping child I'd say more. Meanwhile, hello, lovely writer, and to his good self next to you.
gnimmel From: gnimmel Date: April 12th, 2010 07:29 am (UTC) (Link)
We lived for three years without a proper oven (house too tiny, nowhere to put one). What we found useful was a combi-style microwave, i.e. one with a heating element as well, so it can function as an oven/grill/mixture of all three as required. They're not particularly expensive. I don't know what the energy use is like though; probably they're less well heat-insulated than ovens.
k425 From: k425 Date: April 12th, 2010 10:36 am (UTC) (Link)
They do fabulous jacket potatoes. That's the one thing I miss about having our kitchen done, because the combi-microwave rocked.
cleanskies From: cleanskies Date: April 12th, 2010 07:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Would you like an old fashioned pink rose? I'm due to take one out of Rhi's garden, and hips and petals will both be edible, although jelly making needs a hob.

I hear you about the party, though I don't know what to do about it. Something about the algorhythms at the moment means endlessly being faced by a torrent of bilsh from popular people I don't know very well. It gets you down.

In the meantime I'm losing experience because talking into a void is too disheartening. I might go back to light private posts for a bit -- at least that leaves me in charge of people not reading me.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 12th, 2010 12:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Would you like an old fashioned pink rose?

If it needs a home then we'd be happy to give it one, though I'm not sure to what extent we'd give it a good home -- I fear I won't be able to keep up the good intentions that I'm enthusiastic about at the moment! It probably depends how fragile & in need of emotional support it is. :-} Pink roses are lovely though.

In the meantime I'm losing experience because talking into a void is too disheartening. I might go back to light private posts for a bit -- at least that leaves me in charge of people not reading me.

I started trying to do 'morning pages' because I always write better longhand anyway; but I think for me it's not just the void that's the problem but the sense that I'm just going over old ground (which I think is part of the reason why I've dropped out of touch -- everybody else is sort of going over the same ground too, and I'm getting less and less tolerant of having the same old arguments) and I think that's worse when I write just for/to myself. But I don't have any place (LJ certainly isn't it) to try to write/think/speak better, to filter out the nonsense & get the constructive conversation, to be able to take enough of the same-old-same-old for granted that it's possible to move on from those points. I have wanted to set up some kind of group for Actual Intelligent Conversation With Content but (as always) I fear I wouldn't be intelligent enough for it. :-} I want something that's a bit more constructive and nurturing (and less dick-waving/point-scoring) than oldskool usenet debate, but less woolly than all the supposedly-uncritical 'safe spaces' that people make when they're frightened of having to realise that they might be wrong about stuff.

Sorry, I am not sure how much sense this rant makes outside the context of the arguments I've been having with myself in my head for the past god-knows-how-long. :-} You see the problem...
hairyears From: hairyears Date: April 12th, 2010 08:06 am (UTC) (Link)

If it ain't brock, don't fix it...

LiveJournal? Yes, it's in decline: Blogging's going out of fashion and the early adopters are turning 30, and turning into thirty-something suburbanites with no creative urges and little of interest to say.

That being said, I *like* the community of friends I have here; other 'social' sites spear to be little more than message boards. I will keep commenting, and post occasionally, and participate, which is what it's all about.

Also: badgers!
venta From: venta Date: April 12th, 2010 08:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I really enjoy reading this sort of post... mostly because I'm incurably nosey about others' lives, and love hearing normal this-is-what-I'm-doing updates. Please keep writing them!

Although I'm sure I could live without an oven, given the choice I'd have an oven rather than a TV. Not that that's a choice that one is called upon to make all that often.
julietk From: julietk Date: April 12th, 2010 08:30 am (UTC) (Link)
The thing that strikes me about the Remoska is that it's only possible (from the look of it; am happy to be contradicted) to cook one thing in it at a time. Whether that would be a problem would of course depend on usage patterns -- I tend to cook as much as possible of a meal in the oven if I'm turning it on at all, but I suppose one could adjust. (Xmas dinner would be hopeless, but that *is* only once a year.) Also, it looks like the sort of baking it can tackle is limited (it doesn't look big enough to take a biscuit-sheet), although I had no oven at all when in Australia & worked out how to make biscuits on the stove instead, so that's not insurmountable either.

I am REALLY ACTUALLY going to make myself a solar oven this year and try it out. Yes. I have plenty of cardboard boxes; I just need to buy myself a pot of matt black paint.

BTW, are you thinking of doing the forest-garden/permaculture thing at all in your garden? (I wondered because of the TREES & suchlike.)
k425 From: k425 Date: April 12th, 2010 10:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Nasturtiums! they have edible flowers and the seed pods are like faux capers. And they look pretty too.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 12th, 2010 11:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah yes, we have planted nasturtiums (and marigolds, also edible & pretty) in the bed in the corner - forgot to mention them, sorry!
sebastienne From: sebastienne Date: April 12th, 2010 10:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Glee makes me very happy indeed! I am aware, intellectually, of all the ways in which it fails... but I always end up grinning uncritically by about five minutes in.

Has the whole of Season 1 aired in the UK? I was under the impression that we were on a super-long hiatus, but the second half of season one is starting in the US some time in the next few weeks.. I'll definitely be keeping up with them illegally, and would be happy to pass the episodes on!

Is it very missing-the-point of me to say that the best way to feel like you know people on livejournal better is to post & comment more?
j4 From: j4 Date: April 12th, 2010 11:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Has the whole of Season 1 aired in the UK?

Sectionals has happened, & I thought that was the end of S1. But now I am not so sure, and the info on Wikipedia just makes me more confused (not least because they've messed up the table).

Is it very missing-the-point of me to say that the best way to feel like you know people on livejournal better is to post & comment more?

Um... slightly? :-}

I rarely comment on anybody's journal any more; mostly I just don't have time to keep up with the conversations. (Everybody else I know seems to be able to post/comment all the time at work; but there is always stuff to do, and they're paying me to work, not to sit and chat to my friends.) I feel like I've been out of touch for so long that I don't want to just leap in to a conversation with something trivial when I've missed so much of the serious stuff, but it's even harder to suddenly start talking about the serious stuff.

I feel sad that I've lost touch so much with a lot of people who I used to feel were really close friends; I don't think writing more here would change that, really, I think it's just drifting apart & going in different directions. It's not really surprising that over the course of a decade people change what they're doing, what their priorities are, where they're going in life, who they spend time with. A lot of the people I was closer to on here are the Cambridge folks, and I have to keep reminding myself that I haven't lived in Cambridge for nearly 4 years now so it's not surprising that I'm no longer as close to the people I used to see in the pub every week. I don't get to visit very often, and that gets harder too because it's awkward to ask people for crash-space when I haven't seen them for 4 years.

I also feel like the people I know on LJ aren't interested in me when I'm not on LJ, if you see what I mean. (But they probably think the same about me; at least, I'm hopeless at keeping in touch by other means as well.)

Basically, being on LJ feels a bit like going back to the pub where I used to go with my school-friends: even if I do meet up with some of the same people, they're not the same people, really, and nor am I, and it's not really the same place at all.

Or, to put it another way (yes, I am thinking out loud, sorry) it's a bit like I don't exist when I'm not on LJ; so the less I post, the less of me exists; so it gets harder and harder to come back here because I'm fading out of the picture.

I probably should have made this a separate post rather than burying it in the comments. But (to continue the party metaphor) I guess it's like one of those unexpected heart-to-hearts sitting on the stairs at the party with someone cool you only just met. :)
juggzy From: juggzy Date: April 12th, 2010 06:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've probably got a couple of chillis for you, if you can figure a was to transport them across the great University divide. How come, four years ago, you were living here and I was living there?
brightybot From: brightybot Date: April 12th, 2010 07:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I haven't read all the comments below, so I hope I'm not repeating what anyone else has said... I just wanted to say that you might want to think about getting an oven regardless, simply because if / when you come to sell the place to someone else, they might be put off by the lack of oven. I say this from a position of having just been trying to sell a house without a parking space - we didn't give a damn about it, but it turns out everyone else in the world wants a parking space. I know it's a bit odd to think about selling your place when you've only just bought it - I guess it depends on the time frame you're thinking of staying there for. Andrew would like to add (cos he can't be arsed to comment separately) that his parents bought a Remoska and didn't get on with it terribly well - but they are elderly and particular about their cooking requirements.

In other news, yes that bit of Dr Who with the food was total rubbish wasn't it? The rest of the episode was good though. And great news re the garden - I love Spring and getting started with the garden again. I'm still trying to get ours tidy at the moment after the winter and also neglecting it horribly last year - but I might try and find the time to get some tomatoes etc growing in pots - I don't want to do too much because we'll be moving in a few months. Good luck with yours - have you got 2 apple trees so they'll pollinate each other? Not a problem if you have other apple trees near by. Love your idea of only growing stuff you can eat - thinking about what I want to do in the new place that may be largely true for us too (I'm counting lavendar as edible), although I don't think that I'll make it a rule.
addedentry From: addedentry Date: April 13th, 2010 10:34 am (UTC) (Link)
You're right, of course, about one day selling the house: I do expect us to install an oven but I was in two minds about a dishwasher precisely because it seems to be moving from luxury to expectation.

It's ironic that one of the advantages of home ownership is being free to paint the walls purple, but you can't paint the walls purple because future purchasers won't approve! (-:
emperor From: emperor Date: April 20th, 2010 09:05 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm sorry to hear about the subsidence, and I hope it can get sorted soon! That said, this place we're renting is full of cracks, and the landlord doesn't seem that worried...
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