slow cooker

After 13 years, my much-loved slow cooker finally died. It was originally part of a “setting up on your own” package from a local leaving care / leaving gaol charity that I arranged for Maurice. The replacement is remarkably similar… All is not wasted – the ceramic pot from the old one will be “upcycled”, either as a cache-pot as is, or have holes drilled to be an actual plant pot.


A very difficult 40-minute phone conversation with Mum (who is in JR again) this morning. She’s obsessed with the idea that no-one pays any attention to her needs, that she never gets supper, and that Chloe has ordered a table for her that has not arrived (?). It did really shake me up, as there weren’t the usual patches of coherence. She’s very agitated, and got a bit teary … in the end, I just had to say firmly “goodbye” and hang up.

Feeling in need of a bit of self-pampering this afternoon. Home made scones with apple and quince jelly (2020 vintage) and cream seemed in order. Sadly, whipped cream rather than clotted – still, can’t complain.

Spring flowers

Daffodils, both in the front garden and in the pot outside the French window, have been open for a couple of days, but the weather has been too foul to take decent photos. They’re ten days later than I usually expect them – as is the amaryllis on the bathroom windowsill, which is now in full glory.


Imbolc (St Brigid’s Day) for me marks the start of spring. The first flower stems are pushing up through the leaves of the daffodils, and today we have sunshine.


The first snowflakes (leucojum) are opening, rather earlier than usual. They’re much taller than snowdrops (galanthus), with long thin strap-like leaves, and open later in the year. Sadly, although I’ve tried several times, I just can’t manage to grow ordinary snowdrops here!

pressure …

After firkling in a couple of Riso user groups, I thought it likely that the uneven print we’ve been having on the Riso was due to a worn pressure roller. Riso don’t do these any longer, but I managed to order a knock-off via US Ebay from China. It arrived yesterday.

Looked like a simple job – remove one screw, then remove roller. What the Technical Manual doesn’t tell you about putting it back is that the screw is non-magnetic (so won’t stay on the end of the screwdriver), almost inaccessible to human fingers, and if you drop it, it will roll though a hole in the plate and you’ll have to remove the entire front of the machine to dig it out! A ten-minute job took ninety minutes.

Still, it’s done now, and has made a massive improvement to print quality.

And I’d rather be Riso-wrangling than my past history of sorting out sump pumps while standing chest-deep in freezing water, or debugging digital multiplex stuff at 4am up a 30-foot ladder. For those of us who are self-described techies, life is certainly varied!

The new roller arrives:

The old roller in situ:

Entire front off the Riso …


Glorious sunshine streaming in through the French window has brought the inside temperature up to 22C – a saving on central heating bills! Outside is a meagre 5.5C, but feels springlike, and the Glastonbury Thorn looks as though it wants to open blossom any day now.

spring stirrings

The “amaryllis” on the bathroom windowsill is showing the first signs of an emerging flower spike, a week or so later than usual. It will be the 9th year it’s flowered here!

In the garden, the snowflake (leucojum) leaves are fully grown (flowers won’t appear for another three weeks or so), the daffodil leaves are about 4 inches high, and the first leaves of the blue hyacinths are just breaking through the surface soil. Everything now feels as though it’s moving forwards towards spring.

12th night

Decorations are now down. As usual, I’ll keep the tree in the (unheated, windows now ajar) front room for a couple of days before putting it back outside – the next few days promise to be chilly, and I don’t want to give the poor thing too much of a shock.

yay !

Up at 0630, to feed cat and sort things in advance of visit by washer-dryer repair person. He arrived bang on 0715 as promised, and by 0740 had diagnosed and replaced worn motor brushes … all done before sunrise!

The rather soggy duvet cover (from when the machine broke down), which has been lurking in the bath, can now be dealt with.