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Woke up this morning at 5:15am to a searing bright light dazzling me through closed eyelids, after a late night punctuated with tympani and the ear-itching whine of two mosquitoes. The second mosquito turned out to be tinnitus, I discovered, after I gave up on finding it, plugged my ears, put my head under a pillow and could still hear it loud and clear and horrible. I think I much prefer the tinnitus that sounds like car alarms.

Today I will not have to water the garden, and any rain that is falling is going to be fertilised - lightning strikes create nitric acid that enriches the soil. And boy is there plenty of lightning. And rain. I imagine some people are going to be running out and basking in all the glorious wet coolth.
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Ruthi and I got baked[1] and then rained on then baked and then rained on, then baked. Then ccooke caused pizza. There's some clearing of stuff into skips going on, but I am not hugely involved.

[1]Sunshine, not cannabis.
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The forecast weather has arrived: 8 degrees Celsius and lots of rain first thing. The rain arrived last night, and by midday, all the ice was gone. It's now safe to roam around again. I let myself run out of milk, gambling on safer footing today and it's paid off.

Pol keeps describing to me various social things he's doing. It all sounds very good. I'm glad, also, that his new job is apparently not awful. I hope to see him at some point soon, depending on the weather and so on.

I started getting bored and restless on my days off. I don't think it would be wise to go in five days a week, but it does seem I have spare energy left over again. I've rearranged my schedule, cutting back on time spent in conscious relaxation, and adding back in the things I used to study but was too tired to while volunteering was still new to me.

I can't help but wonder how Random is doing. And the cats.
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Expanded form of a Facebook update:

I've just done some very heavy gardening in very heavy rain. Brr. The dead bush that defeated me all year is now finally in pieces, on the patio and in the compost heap. I had to take a saw to it in the end, which worked well. The larger pieces will make good firewood (along with the very large pile of other good firewood still waiting to be cut down to wood-burning-stove size and delivered to friends).


The four new fruit trees are standing in the places they will be planted, tomorrow, when it's dry (2pm according to the forecast). Pol took me out yesterday to get them and it was rather a nice day all in all, if really very cold. He got me a lovely lunch at a Horwich pub, slow roast pork belly. The fruit trees are: Sunburst and Stella cherries, Victoria plum, Golden Delicious apple (the only apple Pol likes and probably the only food he'll ever get out of the garden). They're going against the tall, brick West-facing wall that runs down one side of the garden. They'll be cut down to less than wall height and then fastened in horribly unnatural contortions to nails driven into the brick, because you get lots of fruit that way. I'm thinking of covering their feet in strawberries and pineberries.

I have pork roasting in the oven. There's a bowl of coleslaw inspired by ruthi, ready to go with it. But for now, I'm appreciating the invention of one Slavoljub Eduard Penkala. He invented many things, but I most appreciate the modern form of the rubber hot water bottle. I love him very much. Unfortunately, he's married. Also, dead.
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The wind made a real mess of the garden, and the cold made tidying it back up unpleasant. Our landlords came to fix the shower cubicle, which meant that last night we had to sneak hide the rats and hide all trace, then Jenny couldn't clean upstairs because the landlords were both traipsing in and put with shower bits, and they finally finished at 5:30pm, long after she'd gone home. Our kitchen, however, is immaculate. I gave her a present of home-grown rhubarb as ours needs thinning, hers hasn't come up yet and I am too tired to want to make more crumble.

Chicken bones and scraps are simmering in the slow cooker, remnants of yesterday's roast. Tomorrow I will make chicken noodle soup for those who want it. Our smallest houseguest goes home in the morning. I'll miss her, and I will certainly eat less well once she's gone.

The plants are all fine. No new dead ones, and no new appearances. I forgot to mention I have a baaaaaaaaaaaaaby rhubarb which is more or less a 'because I could' sort of thing. I sowed it, it's come up, now I just have to work out where to put it if it lives.

I have a cold.
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Had another burst of energy, oddly enough following the onset of migraine. So, in my greenhouse, I've sown Crystal Lemon Cucumber, Lovage, Cosmos, Celery, Sage, Sunflower 'Black Magic', Tomato 'Black Cherry', Wild Strawberry, Buddleia and more Comfrey. I'd have sown more Dill too but it meant going back to the house and it's pouring it down now.

Outside, I've sown English Lavender and dumped Basil and Thyme rather than repotting them. There's another Thyme and some baby Basil in a long box on the kitchen windowsill, so it doesn't matter that the planted out stuff will probably die. Also there are the Morning Glory I sowed about three days ago which is already a nice healthy set of young plants with two leaves each. They make the Sugar-Snap Peas look hesitant.

In the conservatory, I have some Chilli 'Twilight' - look them up, they're gorgeous.

I'm now pretty much out of room for more plants until I start planting things out. I can do half a dozen Dill in the space next to the Sunflowers, that's really all. Tomorrow, I'll check the planting plan and see if I've missed anything. I know I am not doing more peas for a while yet as this lot will keep me going for about a month solid. The next planting is in three weeks time in April.
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I went out to Wigan with Random, on, I think, the last shopping Saturday before Christmas. The weather was terrible. I had a really good time shopping. Random was willing to explore everywhere until we got tired, and also willing to wait while I had a good look at what was on offer. It was all really good-tempered and pleasant, and having time to stop and get my bearings meant I didn't get overwhelmed or end up triggering a migraine. There was only one screaming child.

At one point, we were following a real life Calvin, although (mercifully) Hobbes was not in sight. During all of this retail wandering, I saw not one thing that I thought would make a nice present for someone I know. I'm wondering if part of that is that I've barely seen anyone - the last time I was in Nottingham was for the Novacon before last.

At the stop where we get off, there's a really nice café close by. It does fancy coffees and teas, basic grub, booze if you really must have booze with your sandwiches and Wigan Tapas: a selection of small pies served with I forget what. There's also Fizz and Chips; different sorts of fish goujons, chips, mushy peas, tartare sauce and two glasses of bubbly. I'd love to take my mum there.

The last place we went to was a booze shop with a wide range of single malts, including the one I really want - yet again, I didn't have *quite* enough money to buy a bottle of the 21 yo. But it's £125 and one day, I will. I got liqueur de espices (*not* liqueur de pain de espices, gingerbread liqueur, but a spice liqueur with anise and mace among other things), ginger liqueur and 'Old English Bush Liqueur Cordial' which, even after reading the label, could be *anything*.

Random set us off the bus a full mile down the road for the convenience of the bus driver(!) but I don't think it's done me too much harm. I got back, and I've put the dishwasher on, plus I've got lamb stew cooking right now, full of leftover spiced roast vegetables and unwanted lamb chops, plus some fresh veg and meat and a lamb stock cube.

On the whole, a really, really good day. Probably my most fun day in the last two months. Thank you, Random.
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Keeping accountable (Betrayed my knowledge, I would surely die;) )

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