25 September 2011

Boston IvyGood morning from an increasingly autumnal beautiful downtown Byfield. It seems very early this year – no doubt a result of the warm spring and cool summer – but things are feeling and looking very autumn-like hereabouts. The shrubs, trees and hedgerows are beginning to adopt their autumn colours and the Boston ivy along the fence and at the front is decidedly brick red. The temperatures are still tolerably tolerable but it looks like it won’t be long before winter is knocking on the door. Whatever happened to the Indian summer we were looking forward to?

Well, it may be that it’s coming next week. It seems that the Met Office is predicting a “mini” Indian Summer this coming week which, they say, will last through until the beginning of October. I wonder if this prediction will be as accurate as the one they made of a BBQ summer a year or so ago?

In anticipation of the approach of winter, we had our winter logs delivered last week. There is a local lad who started up a business delivering excellent logs a few years ago whom we have used every year since. He gets the logs off the Fawlsley estate, dries them, splits them and delivers them to your doorstep. Each year I’ve been interested to see how his Logsdelivery methods have improved as he has grown the business. Over the last few years, for example, the logs have been delivered in the back of his pickup truck and off-loaded by hand. This year business has clearly been good and he is now the proud owner of a dumper trailer which clearly makes his deliveries considerably more efficient. We had two cubic metres this year (just over half a cord, if my sums are correct) which will see us through the winter nicely. Nothing like the quantity you guys in the frozen northeast get through but (a) our temperatures, for the most part, are considerably more temperate than yours and (b) we certainly don’t have a fire every night. Still, it’s always lovely to fire the wood-burner up on a cold winter’s evening and enjoy the sauna-like temperatures which it throws out.

What to do with a two cubic metre stack of logs on our driveway? Invite Nick and Lucy to come for lunch, obviously. While Pen prepared a lovely snack and Lucy and I sat around looking gorgeous (well, she did anyway – I just sat around) Nick very kindly stacked the delivery into a very neat wood pile in the garage. He managed it all in about 45 seconds as you can see from the time lapse video below!

I never imagined I would say this but I am really struggling to keep up with all the sport on television, even though I am devoting most of my time to trying to get it through it all. Firstly, there’s the baseball with the wild-card races to be resolved and then the upcoming playoffs and World Series. Then, of course, we’ve had the beginnings of the college football and the NFL and there seem more matches than ever before on the television. I record them all but it’s a challenge to get a chance to watch them all even though these are just “highlights”. (They have every play in the game but I don’t record the live broadcasts – I can’t bear the time wasted when the television networks go to an advertising break, seemingly every two or three minutes. This is actually the ideal form of sports broadcast – all the action and none of the inaction).

Then, to make matters even more difficult, we have the rugby world cup going on at the moment. To be fair, we are currently in the “pool” competitions where the “big fish” in rugby terms, i.e., New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, England, France, Wales, Ireland, etc. get to romp around beating the crap out of the “minnows” i.e., Japan, Namibia, Canada, Russia, the USA, etc. It’s often not very entertaining rugby so I don’t feel obliged to watch those matches apart from the England games. Mind you, so far England have been so mediocre that they really ought to be considered a minnow (even though they did beat the crap out of Romania yesterday) but it seems that they will get through the pool stages and into the knockout competition proper which is when it will get much more interesting. You see my problem – there are just not enough hours in the day!

Adam sent me a link to The world’s most sarcastic flyers from the Guardian a little while ago – some of these are very good indeed. And, if you fancy it, there are more at happyplace.com

Love to you all,