Wednesday 30 November 2022

England trip

 We're just back from a trip to England, visiting friends and family.   Here's a few observations:

Energy.  The houses we visited were cooler than we are used to.   Not cold, but cooler than we remember.  And other energy usage is being sharply curtailed; more attention is being paid to turning off lights in unused rooms, and so on.

Shopping.   A couple of things; we went into the shopping centre in Fareham, and it was definitely less populous than we remember.  There were more boarded-up shops too.  With people seriously concerned about their upcoming energy bills, non-necessities are being cut hard back.   This coming recession will be a doozy.  And price differentials between France and the UK.   An impact wrtench via Amazon was about £23 from and for delivery to the UK, and around €47 for delivery to France from .fr  And the vitamine D pills that we pay nearly €10 for in France, were under £2 from a standard pharmacy in England.   And four quid for a plastic seed tray in a garden centre?  You're taking the Mick - you can get metal oven trays in Asda of about the same size for half the price.

We discovered a new garden - West Dean.  The village is pretty, with a clear stream running between the grass banks, and the garden, a shortway along the main road, is spectacular.  Their walled vegetable garden makes me envious.   We will aim to visit it again in Summer.

I had never seen espaliered fruit trees on a 3-D frame before.  It's something I might try.

And a walk on Wimbledon common - later for pics.

Wednesday 16 November 2022

Survival wood chips

I have been impressed recently by the mutual self-help network that has arisen spontaneously in our little village.   It has matured to the extent that there is now a Whatsapp group devoted to local goods or services wanted or offered.   A bride forgets her wedding shoes and needs something finer to replace her trainers?  No problem.   Surplus squash for eating?  Put them on the wall in front of the bar, alert the group and they'll be gone in an hour.  A ride into town?  When can I pick you up?

I have benefitted from an example of this recently.  A pile of wood chips has been created, and offered around.   After a few days when everyone has had what they need, there's still a big heap left.  I'm collecting them to spread on the garden to keep the weeds down.   There's about three trailer loads - plenty.

I got a load yesterday and spread it on the flower bed.  Another that I got today is still in the trailer, and the last load remains as a heap, waiting to be collected later in the week.

It's a trivial example, perhaps, but it could well be that we are in for darker times, thanks to our wise politicians.   This sort of thing might be key to survival.

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