Thursday, July 22, 2010

Between the Grind

Ah the short break in-between ‘the grind’s’ shifts, how time crawls by whilst awaiting it and how the damn thing flies by once arrived. Sometimes it goes by in a blink of an eye with me feeling that I have achieved nothing in it’s short span but I’m doing my best now to continue down this trail I’ve chosen and part of this is to use every available minute to improve the way we do things with the intention of leading that simpler, less harmful lifestyle that I want.

Yesterday is usually write off day for me, having got home at 7am after the last 12hr shift of the rota I’m up at 10am and woe betide anyone who thinks that they’ll receive a cordial answer from this sore headed bear (Clare’s words, not mine). But this time I pushed my aching bones and fuzzy head and made the effort. Deliberately leaving the fun cruisers keys upon the rack I gathered up Lucy and headed out for a suburban walk. We headed out of suburbia to the closest fields with a serviceable path around them, this route takes you past one of Buckley’s lovely landmarks, the sewage works, oh the sweet perfume that just fills your nostrils here, almost chewable!.

But that’s not really fare; the walk through the suburban surrounded fields was far from devoid of life with many plants coming into their own along the uncultivated edges and was far richer in animal sign that I would have thought possible (even if some of it was slightly dead).

The walk did the trick raising my pulse and my spirit, the rest of the afternoon was taken up with harvesting some of our home grown vegetables, yep that’s right in amongst some of the gardening disasters, through mainly a grease monkey’s ignorance, there were some tasty bits and pieces to be had, which has increased our determination to learn more and grow more next year (still some things to try this year as well). As well as this I carried out the weekly maintenance upon our aquarium and cooked a rather splendid supper of gammon n pineapple accompanied by our potatoes and runner beans. I don’t know but the taste of that home grown produce was way better than shop bought, call me smug but I think that’s one up for the simple life.

So onto today, having cleared my list of chores (yes Rob, Clare’s still the boss) it was hiking time. The trials were far cooler than usual with the last few days given us the equivalent of a months rainfall the trails were wet n sloppy, now I wonder if any of you could hazard a guess as to what ‘she who swims with bugs’ made of the conditions underfoot?

Mmmmm no surprises there then, the recent rain has transformed the edges of the trails with all the flora doing it’s damndest to be part of the high summer display.

There also sign that the fauna has become more active with the recent deluge, from sign of a kill, possibly stoat with the way the feathers appeared bitten off rather than stripped out to silver fir cones (I think) been set upon by grey squirrel.

We return home to couple of deliveries that should enhance the food growing in the future, a couple of unwanted composters and two industrial barrels now to become water butts (free to a good home), the larger of which I plumbed in to the shed guttering.

With time running along I gave in to the modern life (curse my weakness), and slipped out for a takeaway, and on returning was greeted by one more delivery; a well received gift from good neighbours upon their return from holidaying down south.

To round off the day I started listing again on e-bay to obtain some much needed readies so that further projects can be financed (The dinghy is high on that list) and wrote this post. Tomorrow? I hear you enquire with your breath held, well that’s simple; cutting paving slabs for ‘Old string vest’ and then an afternoon of fishing at The Mount, sometimes life can smile on me.
Oh and the evening has not yet come to an end just yet, there several cans of fridge cooled Boddingtons draught bitter to be consumed (sell by date is up next year so best not take any chances eh?). It just gets better and better....

Thank you for reading thus far,

Your friend,


Footnote; for those of you who may be a tad worried that I have a slight drink problem I do:- one mouth and two hands (come on think about it), other than that I drink, I become drunk and then I fall down, honestly it’s no problem – cheers

Footnote 2; just popped to the kitchen for a refill (please children do not drink and type) and Clare is on the phone to a work colleague who’s enquiring if we would like to take on an unwanted dog – watch this space, you just don’t know what’s around the corner!


Casey said...

Covered a lot here John! Looks like you may have blackberries or raspberries in flower right now? Them's my favorites!

Keep straight on the "less damaging path". You've got me thinking of more ways I can do the same.

Peace -


Le Loup said...

Excellent post my friend, most enjoyable.
Regards, Keith.

Murphyfish said...

Hey Casey,
Them there be blackberries, promises to be a bumper crop.
Glad that your on the same path, there's always room for good company on the trails.

Glad that you enjoyed it my friend.

Shoreman said...

Hey John. Lucy is still a kid. How many kids have you seen that run up to a puddle and jump on it, or in Lucy's case, run through it. I think that, at times, the "grind" drove us all to drink. So, you're with friends.


Karen Thomason/Gordon Setter Crossing said...

Hi John, Just one word of advice, don't drive yourself crazy trying to live simple. You are doing a good job and you have to give yourself a break once in a while. I didn't know until now, that you work the late shift. We call it the graveyard shift! I'm sure you know why! Hey, that would even make Mother Teresa a little grouchy!

I like your new background on the blog. It's an elephant??

Anonymous said...

When you grow things yourself, they really do taste better than the grocery store produce. The tomatoes I grow in my backyard are so much better than the grainy tasteless garbage at Albertson's that I will usually only eat my own tomatoes now.

I enjoy the pictures taken in your neck of the woods.

Ian Nance said...

Excellent post....and I like the new background. From one tippler to another!!!

Murphyfish said...

Hey Mark,
Just wish that the puddles she loves so much were a tad cleaner, the smellier the better it seems! I do actually drink in moderation nowadays (well compared to what used to pass as a wee dram or two) and now tend to enjoy it for the taste and temporary relaxation it gives rather than the old habit of drinking whatever was there until walking was an issue. See with age comes wisdom.

Hi Karen,
It can be difficult to temper the enthusasium in my new direction without feeling a slight twinge of failure if I let slip, but you’re right and I know deep down that it’s going to be a long drawn out process with many a slip on the way, thank you for the reality check. Mmmm ‘the graveyard shift, how apt, it does make feel like the walking dead at times.
Glad you like the new background and an elephant it is.

Hello and welcome Kim,
It makes you realise just how bland and tasteless produce from the shops is these days. Oh and I didn’t realise that beans, peas, carrots etc came in different sizes ;-). Thank you for dropping by and I hope that you’ll continue enjoying my ramblings.

Cheers my good man.

CDGardens said...

Gorgeous pictures of your trip along the trails.

Those garden veggies are fabulous. Hmmm, don't be too hard on yourself if things don't work like you think they aught...Fun is in the learning.

Hope you don't think me out of line, but your gardening lifestyle makes me think of a BBC show called "Good Neighbors" popular in the 70's. Only your garden is more organized.

Thanks for sharing your day(s)!

Murphyfish said...

Thank you for dropping by and for you kind words, Can't say that I've heard of that program but one that springs to mind was call 'the good life', a sitcom comedy but it 'sowed' the seeds for many people think.

Bob Mc said...

Well haven’t you been busy while I’ve been away? Lots of posts to catch up on, and a new way of looking at life too. And what’s this about a new dog? What will Lucy think?

I solved the vehicle problem long ago. Yes, I need the wheels to get me where I want to be, but that usually isn’t all that far from home. I do my grocery shopping for a month at a time. That involves a trip to town and back, but except for some extreme emergency I won’t go any more often than that. For my own personal enjoyment and relaxation, and at this time of the year, that usually involves setting up a camp somewhere in the nearby mountains. I may be there for a week or 2 or 3, but once there the old pickup won’t be started again until time to go home. The truck is 15 years old now, and people are amazed at how few miles are on it.

What kind of dog? We are waiting with baited breath!

Murphyfish said...

Hello Bob,
Mmmmm there may well be some holding of breath in the wait for Lucy’s companion. We’ve had a look and a long hard think (with Lucy) at this dog (9 month Lab/Poodle cross) and decided it wasn’t for Lucy more so than it wasn’t for us. I think that if Lucy had been a couple of years younger then it would have worked, but we haven’t ruled out another dog. I’m a stronger believer that, as in all things, wait long enough without jumping in just for the sake of something that the right thing will turn up and if not, well with a slight shrug I know it’s not to be.
It’s the vehicle that’s giving me more thought as to how to reduce it’s usage than other things at the moment, unfortunately ‘the grind’ is too far away to cycle/walk to (especially doing 12 hour shifts) but I am reducing its usage slowly.
Glad to ‘see’ you back commenting, hoping for some tales from your good self soon.

Wolfy said...


Apologies for not having read your most recent post until now. Thanks - as always - for an entertaining and well crafted piece.

2 points to ponder:

1) I believe that over here (and apparently across the pond as well) there are more pockets of thriving flora and fauna in suburbia than sometimes exist in the "real" open areas. It continually surprises me to see the range of wildlife and foliage that grows and even prospers within the boundaries of the villages. I guess the ecosystem is tougher than I sometimes think it is.

2) the garden looks great, and reaping the rewards of homegrown vegetables is a pleasure to be savored.

I am taking a hiatus from my occasional "liquid pleasures" - a recent bout with a new (to me) gin - New Amsterdam - reminded me that, as I age, I recover less quickly. The gin won.

Thanks as always for making my day better by reading your post.


Murphyfish said...

No apologies required my friend, just glad that your still enjoy my musings. I was going to reply earlier but your comment got me thinking a little (still see the steam) and it ended up as a new post. You be careful now when trying a new tipple - they can bite.

Damn The Broccoli said...

If you have a real drink problem have you thought about home brew?

It makes it a lot cheaper and you get some really good stuff!

Seriously though in terms of impact on life moving a can of prepared wort around the country is much better than moving 40 cans of beer! I am lucky to live within wlaking distance of a specialist homebrew shop and they sell a really good tin that is simple to make for £10. Makes 40 pints so that is what 25p a pint? And less damaging.

Of course when you spot such things as brambles and mark them well. You can foray into making your own hedge wines with relative ease for that fantastic price of nothing!

The only trouble is having the patience to wait while it conditions!