Monday, August 15, 2011

stubble bum

Learnt much I have, over the last few days. Not all of it was understood.

Humility, avarice, desperation and despondency have all featured. Roger calls my current mental condition the 'Slough of Despond' and to be honest if I don't get something (a job) soon enough I might as well do a Reggie Perrin, become a beachcomber in Newquay and live in a yurt. At least I'll have a sun tan and be surrounded by unobtainable but pretty young things...

For the second summer in three, I have found myself with more time on my hands than I know what to do with. the first time I was stymied by my shoulder op; this time it's a financial impediment that is preventing me from spending this summer doing something exciting, different or even energetic. With our big party looming closer still, I'm having to make sure that I spend as little as possible; after all, none of the money I might be spending was earned. Last week, I went an entire 7 days with 11p in the my pocket. I spent no money (apart from £6.30 of Roger's money on two pints of Bishop's Farewell). Our shopping bill this week came to less than £30 - that's the smallest amount paid by us since the 1980s!

But, to be fair, I have runner beans, French beans, apples, plums, rhubarb, raspberries (still), beetroot, hazelnuts, potatoes, peppers and herbs in abundance - if I were to invent new dishes like apple curry, runner bean stew or French bean, rhubarb and coriander souffle, then I could probably eat for almost nothing until the end of September, when I will either have a job or will be planning a bank heist. (Apparently Blogger's spell checker doesn't know what 'heist' is!)

In true penny-pinching, making ends meet culinary assertiveness; Fishwife's son gave us a bunch of freshly pulled carrots from their modest veg patch and gave them to us for the rabbit. I looked at this bunch of baby 'orange sticks of joy' (© 1992-2007 Gifford Hall) and thought, 'bollocks to the bunny, there's a dozen edible roots there". So we had them sautéed in a little butter and sugared water with our Sunday lunch.

Talking to my delightfully eccentric and slightly insane brother Ronnie last week, it was his 58th birthday, he said that he was having problems with his courgettes. I asked him what the problem was.
"I've got hundreds of the bloody things!" He says.
"How many plants have you grown?"
"About a dozen."
Last year, the wife grew one courgette plant (that's zucchini to our American friends) and we had more baby marrows than you could shake the proverbial stick at. We were giving them away; composting them and I even tried to kill the plant off towards the middle of September, but we still managed some weirdly deformed ones before the frosts came. Having a dozen courgette plants is a little like deciding to go into the courgette business. He could sell his fruits to Tesco's for the next month and still have enough to solve the famine in East Africa, invent zucchini ice cream and enter the gnarliest specimens into a 'Look my courgette looks like Ron Jeremy's penis' competition!

I believe there is a kind of strange brotherhood that springs up; the Squash Heads. A group of people that basically exchange different types of Curcurbita pepo with each other like people re-wrap unwanted Christmas presents and dump them on someone they feel obligated to buy something for, but don't really want to.

I was never a huge fan of The Young Ones, I think my aversion to that Mayall twat soured it for me; but sometimes when I'm standing in my garden, I think of Neil the hippy and his 'you sow the seed...' mantra and share his wonder at how we can actually grow all kinds of stuff that we have to pay good sheckles for in a supermarket. How much better it tastes and how a scar or a touch of blight on an apple doesn't make us bat an eyelid. Everybody should be made to grow something; even if they only have a window box. Perhaps that would make supermarkets understand that uniform might suit them, but it doesn't suit everybody.


I've been slightly overwhelmed by the 20 odd copies of my Kindle book that I've sold. I think I said before that I would have been happy selling just one, but in recent days it's sold twice what it did in its first week; I'm getting requests for different formats and I even got offered a proper publishing deal from some bunch of cowboys who offered me a whopping 22% of net profit. That's 'net' profit - a little under a ¼ of anything it makes above break even. I thought that was a bit of a rip off, regardless of the risk the publisher was taking. it might be standard practice; but part of me thinks that if a publisher will approach someone, without going through an agent first (which I haven't got and don't think I deserve), is a trifle dodgy.

Technology seems to be moving so fast now, I feel as though I'm being left behind. I seem to have an inherent stubbornness for understanding current technology trends. I still struggle with RSS feeds and they've been around for donkeys. Subsequently, I'll try to find out something new and I'm faced with pages of explanations, FAQs and mindless waffle from technoheads and I yearn for Windows 3.1 and a 286 PC...


And then something weird happened...

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