Working in my mother’s garden this morning. There’s been an Escallonia against the back wall of the garden, been spreading for years and is now more or less dead. Went in there and ripped out all the dead wood, leaving just two branches which showed a bit of life and might come back into leaf. A third branch I left because it was entwined around a branch of the neighbouring Rowan. Didn’t have any tools, just breaking off the dead wood (it was that rotten) and would have needed a saw to get the branch away from the Rowan.

Cleared away all the dead wood that had built up over the years underneath the trees. As soon as I had finished a blackbird was straight in there and emerged a few minutes later with a beak full of grubs and worms. It stopped on the ground no more than two feet away from me. It stopped and looked at me, not in the least afraid. It seemed to be saying thanks for clearing a new source of food, then flew off into the field next door

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I’d forgotten just what a Scottish Gift Shop was like.

Now admittedly it’s a long time since I was inside any gift shop, but by my memory, the Scottish varietal always stood apart. Something that cannot be equalled in the sheer appallingness of the twee crap on offer within. All tartan and bagpipes and haggis.

Today it was Glamis, but it could have been anywhere, this was typical of the population as a whole

Heading north to spend some time with the family. First time I’ve been back in four years. Temperature has dropped noticeably since leaving London. By the time we’d reached Edinburgh it had dropped 10°C. I’ve packed as for the south. And having become southern-softified, I may have to buy some jumpers to tide me over…

Promises to be an interesting week

Glorious day today, temperatures in the low 20s. Only down side was a strong wind from the south and east.

South towards Gerrard’s Cross and Beaconsfield and on down to the Thames at Taplow. Followed the Thames and stopped at Boulter’s Lock to have lunch. Continued following the river to Bourne End Then up through Wooburn to Wycombe. Up along the Risborough road to Bradenham then up through the woods to Naphill. On to Lacey Green and then back by way of Hampden and Missenden.

Went out of my way to do hills and managed to do all without stopping. Finally getting over the winter break. 78km at a poor 18.9km/hr, but given the hills and the headwind it’s probably okay.

Nice to be warm again

My Irony Meter has blown up, it just couldn’t cope with the overload. Andrew Wakefield says “Not my fault, gov. It was the government wot dun it.

The man who caused the panic over the use of MMR and the resulting plummeting vaccination rate tries to pass the blame elsewhere. Unbelievable. He should be offering an apology to everyone of the children suffering in the Swansea measles outbreak, instead of which he’s denying any responsibility and trying to blame anyone but himself.

So, Millwall fans in the next carriage.

As vocal as they’ve always been.

Arriva Buses.

‘Nuff said

Got home from work this evening to find yet another mailshot through the letterbox, this one being from what looks like a particularly bigoted and homophobic organisation, going by the name of coalition for marriage. The leaflet purports to explain ten reasons to oppose same-sex marriage. Or, as the leaflet put it, reasons why the government is wrong to re-define marriage. Reading it through it seems like the sort of complete bollocks that the Daily Fail would come out with.

The ten reasons they give are complete and utter crap, the usual reasons that have been trotted out time and time again. All the reasons have been thoroughly debunked. In fact more than ten reasons have been put forward and still they’ve been debunked, recently for example the New Humanist’s 31 reasons against gay marriage and why they’re all wrong. So I won’t contribute anything more other than to reiterate what a bunch of despicable homophobic scum coalition for marriage are.

Thatcher is dead.

Usually I am with Milton – ask not for whom the bell tolls … no man is an island … any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind.

However I’m the case of Thatcher I can shed no tears. She wrecked Scotland, she gutted British industry in the name of anti-union policy, wrecking mining and the car industry amongst others on the way. She started the gutting of the NHS, leading to the problems we are still dealing with today.

Whilst I would not rejoice in the death of another human, I cannot, will not, mourn her passing. She’ll have her state funeral no doubt. Many years ago I thought it would be an appalling mockery if she were to be given a state funeral, but now I realise that there are many who admire and revere her, many who even idolise or almost worship if not the woman, then the ideal. And I now suppose that there will be as many on the one side who would give her a state funeral as are of the view that we should dance on her grave

Edit: Milton? Did I really write “Milton”? Of course I meant Donne

Maybe, just maybe, we might be through the cold spell. Out walking around the south of the area yesterday and felt like I was wearing too many layers. Really warm in the sun, and not too much wind.

Out on the bike today. Only the second ride of the year and still taking it easy. Planned a quick run to Wendover and back, but still felt good at the end so added on a loop down to Gerrard’s Cross and Beaconsfield. In all that was just over 70km. Again quite warm – relatively speaking, compared to the bitter, icy weather of the last four weeks. Bit of wind out of the south today so a bit chilly in parts.

Lots of cyclists out on the road today – charity bike ride for a local hospice taking place around the area.

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