Ouch – it’s noisy!

The WGP folding machine arrived on Wednesday. It did a few test folds, and 400 of St Clements, then stopped. Not working!  Investigation showed that the roller pin that connects the friction drive had fallen out. I put it back in, and it did another 300 or so, and the same thing happened! I rang the supplier, who said a technician would ring me that afternoon. No phone call. I rang again yesterday (Thursday), but still no call back. Phone call eventually came at lunchtime today … he will send me a replacement roller pin, and in the meantime said I could use a paperclip twisted round! Actually, I’m using garden wire, as I don’t have a paperclip, and it’s working fine (touch wood).

GP, garden bits

Still having periods of tremors – especially after any kind of exertion, and brain doesn’t feel as though it’s firing on all cylinders. A visit to the GP this afternoon, who says it will probably gradually wear off over the next couple of weeks, but has ordered blood tests anyway. Next available slot for bloods isn’t for a fortnight!

Home for a stroll round the garden. The first flowers are opening on a pink foxglove in the wildflower bank, and in the old strawberry contained there’s the first (very small) flower on the cosmos plants (from home-saved seed, of course).

recovery time needed

Thursday evening (16th) was the first Election Strategy meeting. I got home about 10:30, given a lift by Clare. I got increasing wired, for some reason – didn’t go to bed until nearly 3, slept for 1/2 hour and was then awake until 6. Several days shaking, tremors, and feeling as though I was shivering internally, though no muscle movement evident, and a total inability to focus or concentrate. I’m still not over it, and today is Tuesday, though I feel I’ve turned the corner. Yesterday saw me able to realise that I’d done nothing at all about tomorrow’s Green Party Business Meeting, so forced myself to send an abject but brief email to relevant people.

I was over at Green Mount from late Saturday to yesterday teatime. I did almost nothing – a couple of walks. Sharon (Mum’s live-in carer) cooking the evening meals was a help, as I do still stress a bit when faced with the Aga.

The back fiekd was ablaze with yellow. My immediate reaction was “oilseed rape”, but realised that it couldn’t be – in fact, the horses have been moved off, it’s clearly being put down for hay, and the yellow was buttercups!

Birmingham visit

A trip over to Birmingham today, for the last session of the RSV Vaccine trial I’m on (though I may be invited for a follow-u pstudy of longterm efficacy).

It’s the first time I’ve used the newly-opened University station – cum – medical school. Poor signage, lots of wasted space, not a well thought trough building in any way. The old entrance to University station looks rather sad now … a picture through the bars of the security fencing.

3D Strawberry tower

I’ve had a 3D printer for a few months now, but been too busy to really get into it. Now elections are over, I can start to get stuck in! 3D printing is pretty much where document printing was at in the mid-1980s – lots of incompatible control codes, different file formats, different consumables, different interfaces – even several different competing technologies -and not quite ready for domestic / SME use. The memory of tractor-fed multi-part continuous stationery and envelopes and RS232 vs Centronics fills me with horror!

Anyway, a fairly steep learning curve (which I’m still on) to get the best from the machine. And my limited 3D CAD design experience is 3 decades out of date (and incompatible with current programs…), so currently I’m working with other people’s projects they’ve shared, and modifying only slightly if needed.  This strawberry tower is the first serious big print I’ve done … at well over four hours for each of the five sections in a tower it’s taken a couple of days! And I’m going to need three towers – I thought I’d ordered a dozen, as 4 of each variety of strawberry, but seem to have received 6 each of 3 varieties (early / mid-season / late). So instead of one 3-module tower (discarding one plant of each variety) I’m now going for three two-module towers (ie 2x 3-slot modules, base, spacer, top for each tower).

The plants arrived today, in a package that Yodel had clearly been chucking about. The plants themselves were in pretty poor condition – very dried out – so they’ve been soaking in a big bowl of water. The tower of “early” is now planted out, and more modules are being printed.

Cost-wise, it’s going to come in at about a tenner a tower, so broadly compatible with buying ready-made ones. I’m printing in PLA (poly-lactic acid), which is a bio-polymer, biodegradable in commercial composting (and rather slowly in the environment), and pretty much safe … it’s used in medical implants and suchlike. Now I think I’m over the point in the learning curve where there’s lots of failed prints and general waste, I don’t feel that my Green credentials are unduly imperilled.

patio furniture

Having ordered patio furniture on Thursday for next-delivery, I went on the website on Friday to see if a rough delivery time was given. Although they hadn’t emailed me, and it showed they’d received the package, apparently due to unspecified problems it would now be delivered on Monday. This morning (Saturday) I got an email saying it was “out for delivery”, and indeed it turned up shortly after lunch. Hermes / Evri continue to surpass themselves in chaos!

However, although rather tough on my back, it was simple enough to assemble, and the smaller table does give more room on the patio.

garden bits

Opened this morning – the first of the irises.

Mine seem to be rather behind most people’s – but they’re not in a “full sun” position: being next to the fence they don’t get sun until midday.

The patio table and chairs due for delivery yesterday didn’t turn up. It’s now shown as being due for delivery today (the driver is currently on the far side of Worcester, according to tracking). I’ve deferred the rose arch project yet again, as I want to do the furniture as soon as it arrives.


Although supper on the patio last night was very pleasant, it was clear that work needed doing! The table was barely usable, so a replacement has been ordered and is due tomorrow. Which meant cutting back the encroaching forsythia and acanthus, and strimming down the winter weeds, to be in a fit and tidy state. The patio is only 8 foot diameter, so every few inches counts!I’ve left one of the decorative Welsh poppies, though – it will be under the table when that arrives, so not really in the way. Further up the garden, the purple alliums are starting to come out. As always, they attract a variety of insects.

veggie craving

I aim to have two lacto-ovo-vegetarian days a week, with a further three or four days a month where the only flesh is fish. My diet for most of the past week has been shit: due to election exhaustion it’s been mainly getting takeaways delivered for main meals.

Today, I had serious veggie cravings – unheard-of for me! So, home-made herby chickpea fritters with ratatouille for supper. Strawberries and cream for later. And I was inspired to try a low-calorie banana bread – apart from anything else, it doesn’t use butter or oil.. Taste is good, but the rise was very disappointing. Worth making again with at least double the quantity of baking powder, I think.