A wedding! Friday evening saw the lovely betrothal of an old friend and his darling in Kew Gardens (which has to be one of the loveliest venues to get married in). It was first due to happen in April 2020… and obviously that couldn’t go ahead. Third time’s a charm though.
At first it was a bit strange. This was I think the first big event with friends and family we have been to since lockdown ended, which means the first after an interregnum of two years without the kind of regular clockwork rhythm of social events which, even in my season of life, are like the heartbeat you barely notice until it’s gone. At felt at first like I had lost my cultural mojo: what do you do at these things? How do you talk to people you don’t know?
Normally I suspect the answer to this would be “alcohol” but I’m not the drinker I once was. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve drunk more than a single glass of anything in the past few years. If you imagine that you have a set number of alcohol points in your life before you can no longer drink, mine ran out in about 2008.
However after a while an odd thing happened: we just started talking to people, and somehow the ice was broken. We ended up chatting to a lovely older couple who live not a million miles away from my sister in Norfolk and who I would like to stay in touch with.
At home we finally got the enormous hedge that the council had complained was blocking a street light cut back. It was too high and too thick for us to do it ourselves, so we hired in a lovely tree surgeon to do the work. He also cut down an old silver birch at the end of the garden which had died last year. While it wasn’t in danger of falling – it survived the last storm – sooner or later it was going to go and probably fall straight into one of the neighbour’s houses.
There’s some more work to do in the garden, trimming back a huge chunk of ivy which is gradually dragging down one of the neighbour’s fences towards our side. In theory, it’s not ours to fix. In practice, getting that particular neighbour to replace a fallen fence is such a long and arduous process that it’s just easier if we take care of it. We also need to clear back some slightly overgrown parts of that garden near the now-gone silver birch.
And once that’s done, there’s the vegetable garden at the side to deal with. For those who don’t know our house (which is almost all of you) we have three gardens: a small front garden with the standard English lawn and beds; a larger back garden with a lawn that’s mostly made of moss, some nice mixed beds and several trees, with greenhouse; and a side garden which is about large enough to put a bungalow on. This side garden was where vegetables and fruit were grown many years ago, but it now mostly grass and shrubs. It also houses Kim’s dad’s old shed, which is probably reaching the end of its working life (we have barely touched it).
The vegetable garden needs some mild clearing to make it usable again, along with some beds digging: probably a weekend’s work for a couple of people, at most, if you don’t count removing the shed (which is both physically and emotionally much more tricky). One for later in the month.
Matt Gemmell wrote a fantastic piece on getting ideas for stories which should be required reading for any writer in any genre or trade.
Anne Applebaum’s article in The Atlantic on “Ukraine and the Words that lead to Mass Murder” is something everyone should read, although it makes harrowing reading. Words lead to dehumanisation, dehumanisation leads to atrocities.
Laurie Penny writes eloquently about their experience of family, and how COVID-19 has impacted on all our expectations of the people around us. And, as she points out, “a found family can break your heart just as much as a traditional one”.
And of course there’s books: I need to pick up The School of Life’s How to survive the modern world again as I’m half way through it but took a break.
It’s getting a bit embarrassing now that the only thing I’m writing and posting publicly is this. However, I have been collating together quite a few ideas: there’s plenty to write about, there just isn’t as much time as I would like to write it.
Picard and Moon Knight. I think both of these series are falling into the classic trap of over complication. Not everything has to be as complex as The Sopranos, people. And not every writer can carry it off.
Meanwhile, on the Internet…
A long while ago I download Yomu, which is an iOS/iPadOS ebook reader – and then promptly forgot all about it. I recently found it again on my iPad and it’s a lovely little app if you want to read ePubs, PDFs etc and then export your annotations, quotes and comments into something else. It supports export into Markdown, which makes it really easy to use with note taking applications which support it such as Obsidian or Craft. Definitely a good one to check out.