Taking down trees in our garden

We’re fortunate to have a lot of green space out the back of our house — it came about because we moved out of London to rural Gloucestershire, and the prices of property vary wildly between the two places. There’s about an acre all told — some of it garden, some of it largely unused field.

When we moved in, there were basically no trees on the land at all (see above, taken from the top floor of the house in November 2005, a few months after we arrived.)

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There’s ignorance; and then there’s wilful ignorance

The Telegraph today reports that “Chris Grayling has no credible plan for ‘no-deal’ Brexit, road hauliers warn”.

In a series of tweets commenting on this, the article’s author James Rothwell (the Telegraph‘s Brexit & Europe correspondent) brings some more detail:

I understand that senior members of Britain’s road haulage industry came out of a recent meeting with Grayling where they were astonished by his lack of grasp of the key detail on Brexit

One of them, Kevin Hopper, who runs a major firm up in Yorkshire, said that he tried to explain to Grayling that if there is no Brexit deal then UK haulage drivers won’t be able to drive in EU as their papers will be invalid

Grayling, he says, “looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.”

Kevin says Grayling appeared to have never heard of this document but he insisted that “everything would be fine”

There’s more: go and read the whole thread if you want the full gruesomeness.

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A short and simple question for Brexiters

On the whole, the discussion surrounding the Brexit process seems now to be about damage limitation, and earlier talk of it offering us new opportunities has evaporated. I am genuinely interested to know, from those of you who still supporting leaving the EU: can you tell me anything at all that you think will be better after we leave? I’m looking for concrete things, not abstract ideas such as the notion that we will regain “sovereignty”.

Salmon-topped shrimp tempura roll from Yen Sushi, Bath. Photo by Josefa Torres.

Thank you!

What I’ve been reading lately, part 26

You Had Me At Hello — Mhairi McFarlane

I can’t remember now what made me read this, as it’s in a genre that I never bother with in the usual run of things: a romantic comedy, or I guess you could call it chick-lit, somewhat in the vein of Bridget Jones. I’m glad I did, though: it’s very well put together, with characters that seem like real people rather then archetypes or stereotypes, and I found myself feeling genuine sympathy for the narrator. The actual writing is much better than you usually find in this kind of book, and it all hangs together really well …

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A treble clef in the wisteria

Late last year, I spotted a treble clef, growing naturally, in the wisteria on the front of our house:

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In one month, I’ve lost 6.4 kg (14.1 lb, 1 stone)

On the 13th of last month, having just got back from a fattening week in the USA, I weighed myself after my morning shower, and registered 105.4 kg. Today is the 13th, exactly one month on, and I weighed in at 99.0 kg. That’s a loss of 6.4 kb, which is almost exactly 14 pounds or, as the England have it, one stone.

Here’s how it was done:

(That’s just a single spicy crab roll in the photo, by the way: I cut it into twelve narrow slices instead of the traditional eight thicker slices.)

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Clematis growing on wooden pallets

A few years ago, I leaned a couple of wooden pallets up against the side of our woodshed, and forgot all about them. In the mean time, some clematis has self-seeded and started climbing up them. Now I don’t want to move them.

See also: Death and life in the woodshed.