Jul 11, 2020: One Hundred And Thirteen

I was out in the garden this afternoon, cobbling together things and cutting back other things, so that we can run some willow screening – or something of that ilk – around the bottom of the garden to hide the shitty waste ground behind our house, and to make Carole’s little nook of retreat a better place by blocking it off from our neighbours in a nice and fancy way.

It’s not an easy task. But I am tackling it with aplomb. I have a plan, which lives in my head, and so far things are going according to it.

I want to do it all as a surprise for Carole. But also, I have no desire to do that because manhandling the rolls of screening, attaching them to the existing fence and the elaborate system I’ve come up with requires more than my two hands. And because halfway along the fence line is a massive rose bush which, I think, absolutely hates me. It got me today when I was cutting back a different tree and I was nowhere near it, and yet somehow it had as very firm grip on my sleeve.

And the fact that today’s little bit – literally some cutting back and nailing for uprights into position – took over an hour to do. My initial estimate was that the whole thing would only take a couple of hours, and the stuff that’s left is definitely more than an hour… and needs a spirit level if I want to be entirely anal about the whole affair. And I need to move some tires filled with ferns, and a storage box. And some parts of a dry stone wall.


Yeah… couple of hours my arse.

And be able to hold up the fencing and fix it in position with just two human hands… nah.

Bugger that.


Jul 10, 2020: One Hundred And Twelve

Tense times, we’re down to our last bag of bread flour.

I’ve ordered some on the shop that’s coming tomorrow, but every time I’ve ordered some for the last one hundred and eleven days it’s been deleted off because there’s none in stock. So who knows what will happen? Hopefully, because more people have started drifting back to the new normal the flour availability has increased because why make bread when you can go to the pub or watch football?

I’ve gone a bit bread mad today – probably the longest bread day I’ve inflicted on myself with different proving times and different bowls of stuff. Literally all day in the kitchen. But worth it, I guess. And I didn’t swear at the enriched dough of the tear-and-share bread half as much as I did the first time I made it, so that’s a bonus.

I fricking hate enriched doughs. They’re awful to play with at the beginning. This one is particularly wet and horrible. The first time I made it, it got everywhere as I tried to get it to form into a nice coherent dough (which it eventually did, and then into some ridiculously nice bread). This time I employed a tactic I usually don’t go in for anymore, because there’s enough waiting around when it comes to bread making.

But I waited.

Waiting makes the stuff less sticky. I don’t know why or how, particularly. I guess it gives the flour time to absorb more of the moisture or something. All I know is, I didn’t end up with a bread scraper stuck to my hands, then the cupboards, then the worktop.

Which is definitely progress.

I must have been more up beat, I guess, otherwise I wouldn’t have embarked on another however many rolls for us and my mum. I’d have just given up and played Animal Crossing instead.

But still… the last bag of bread flour.

The stuff of nightmares.

Three batches of bread away from an all-out flour deficit. Less if Carole insists I make more cheesy hot cross buns.

Dark days…




Jul 9, 2020: One Hundred And Eleven

We have a night-time intruder.

We should have realised this a little sooner, I think, given that the bag of Peppa’s cat food had been royally trashed the other day and Carole did comment on how much Peppa seems to be eating at the moment.

But this morning Carole came downstairs to find that a bin bag we had hung on the cupboard had been ripped open, presumably in a quest to find tasty morsels within. Peppa has never done that. But then, she’s never gone ape shit and ripped her way into her food bag before, but we seemed happy to thing it was her.

So, based on the evidence, we think one of the neighbour’s cats is paying us a visit when it’s kicked out of the house at night.

I did, in fact, hear the cat flap go while I was downstairs last night, but didn’t really think anything of it – not even when I saw Peppa in her igloo upstairs a short-time afterwards. But that’s more due to the teleportation powers which most cats possess – Schrodinger’s cat wasn’t a thought experiment into the quantum nature of the universe. It was just about the fact that if you spend any time at all with a cat you become convinced they can teleport and be in different parts of the house at the same time. There’s a cat in this box and there isn’t a cat in this box is the day-to-day life of a cat owner, except the box can be replaced with any room in the house and your cat is always in it.

Anyway, now we have this interloper.

So tonight I’m staking the place out. I’m positioning myself such that I can see the cat flap and entertainment at the same time. I’m going to stay downstairs like a crazy person and hope to catch the culprit in its tracks and then scare the bejesus out of it so that it stops being a dick. That’s my plan.

Because the other plan is to lock the cat flap to one-way travel only.

And Peppa is a huge dick for going outside for two seconds then coming back, so screw that bullshit of having to get up and open the door all the time.

Nope, it’s time to scare away the interloper cat. And remember to move all the food away. And put any bin bags out no matter how empty they may be.

In some ways, locking the cat flap may be easier…


Jul 8, 2020: One Hundred And Ten

We played Wingspan. Just the two of us. A nice casual game of Wingspan. Our household’s favourite board game that we don’t own but play an awful lot.

It’s practically a nightly game now. We’re playing it a lot. We’ve enquired about getting a physical copy, although they are – pun intended – like hen’s teeth at the moment because everyone has bought board games during the pandemic in much the same way every Tom, Dick or Harry is making bread. When we get it, there’s a decent chance it may live inside the game table for quite some time. We like it a lot.

So we played.

And I only  bloody won. By one whole point.

One point.

But still.


That’s what I like about the game, actually – win or lose. It’s always hard to call who has won, based on a number of factors, and generally when the scores are totted up it’s a nice close range. I mean, yes, we have had a twenty point void in one game, but otherwise we’re within a few points of each other every time we play. Which is the sign of a good game, I think. I prefer that to, say, the gaping chasm of points in a game of Patchwork – although I do like Patchwork, don’t get me wrong, it’s just such a clusterfuck when it comes to end-game scoring that it can kind of suck the fun out of it. And I’ve never had a positive score yet.

But yeah, Wingspan is great. Love it. Want it. Play it way too much. It’s worth the £8 premium subscription to Tabletopia.

Tomorrow we take on Nik and Daniel… Daniel will beat us, and we’ll just hate the game forever. But it was a good run while it lasted.


Jul7, 2020: One Hundred And Nine

Let the records show that we beat Daniel at a game that we had played before on several occasions and he had never played in his life.


Yup, we played Wingspan – the current household favourite game that we don’t own yet – with Daniel. And we won. Both of us.

Because of course I can’t bloomin’ just win a game. I have to draw with Carole and then we have to find ourselves in a tie which cannot be broken because neither of us have the tie-breaking resources needed.

So yeah, I win. But I have to  – ugh – share it.

What’s even the point? I might as well have come second. Or last.

But I couldn’t. Because that’s where Daniel was.

I mean, under our own strict set of rules, the first game you play of a game doesn’t count for scores. So technically, this game doesn’t count as it was his first foray into the world of birds, but it’s also so rare for either of us to beat him that we’re clinging onto this one with both hands and refusing to let go.

We thought he was going to destroy us, and thus ruin the game forever. That’s why we’ve not played Azul with him – we love Azul, but Daniel is “really good” by all accounts (by which I mean that’s what he told us) so we refuse to play it with him lest he beat us so badly we want to melt down all the tiles and make an ashtray.

He does want to play Wingspan again, though.

Which means any hopes of victory are short-lived. He was already onto the bonus card techniques pretty early on, so he’s definitely a threat straight out of the gate.

Still, we won this time. He can’t take that away from us.