Monday, 18 April 2011

Put it all in the Mix

Tonight is an eclectic mix of musings: crows, sand, cardboard boxes, my garden fountain and 'best before' dates.

What a glorious day it's been here in East Yorkshire with wall to wall sunshine and clear skies, but just as if to act as a warning, the breeze later this afternoon has been quite chilly in the shade. I am reminded of the saying which I've blogged about before - 'Ne'er cast a clout till May is out.' In other words don't start to shed the clothes until June when the last of the frosts have gone.

The temperature today in Linton-on-Ouse, just a few miles away in North Yorkshire was 19 degrees Celsius today according to a Tweet by the local BBC weatherman
Paul Hudson.

My friend
Sharla from Chicago has stated on her Facebook that despite the Spring there, it is bitterly cold in the Windy City (allegedly named from the breeze on Lake Michigan.) On the BBC weather site, Chicago is just 4 degrees Celsius today. Brrrrrrrrrr.

When I came home today, my wife decided to wash her car which had become very dirty, but when examined closely, it wasn't road dirt or mud, it was a dusting of sand which was spoiling its looks. I have known sand cover cars, its been happening for years, but research shows that sand storms from the Sahara desert comes to the UK about twice a year and dumps sand all over the place.

I can recall the days as I guess we all can, because it's not too long ago, that when we went to the supermarket and bought our shopping, we could usually find loads of cardboard boxes they gave away for us to take our purchases home with. That stopped for some reason a few years ago, I'm not sure why - however I learned today that if you ask for a box, the larger supermarkets will give you one.

Box manufacturers however report an increase in box sales in the UK of between 500% and 600% to the public because people still want them for storage and transportation of goods. The cardboard box has been around for over 1
00 years, and it looks like it'll be around for a while to come. I guess because we take most if not all of our cardboard to the tip for recycling, it's cheaper to manufacture?

I have had to laugh tonight. There is a bungalow that we can see from our lounge window and in particular their roof - it's about thirty yards away. There is loads of thick moss on the roof and is a playground for two crows that we have had around for a couple of years. The slightly larger one has taken to bringing bread onto the roof, hopping down from the chimney or apex and hiding the bread by burying it under the moss.

Tonight, the other one spotted the hiding and came and discovered the piece of bread and started eating it. The larger one then pinched the bread back and buried
it again. Hilarious, I'm hoping to capture it on video for you.

In the UK, 'Best before' dates on food which we are all used to is about telling us about quality, in other words, you can go beyond the 'best before' date, but the quality might deteriorate or not be as good.
By contrast 'Use by' dates is for food that goes off quickly, like fresh food, meat, dairy, fish where it might be harmful if you ate it beyond that date. The reason I mention this is because reform of these warnings is on the cards because of the massive and often unnecessary waste of food that is being thrown away when it is in perfectly good condition.

The controversy comes when some, including the British Retail Consortium says it is not the case that the dates are responsible for the waste of food. In my house, any food past the relevant date is put in the bin.
Perhaps we need to be better educated?

Finally, my fountain base is now full of soil instead of water because I can't stop it leaking. The top bit still works with the water, so we still have the luxury of listening to gargling water but instead of fish, we'll have lovely flowers to look at.

Enjoy the week,

Chat soon,



  1. That was a good idea to put soil in your fountain. It should look beautiful. I know the bit about ne'er cast a clout. From the blogs I'm reading, the weather in Britain has been gorgeous lately. Our spring is feast or famine, although those friends and relatives I have in Canada would be hard pressed to call it famine. It's 68F and cloudy today. But over the weekend it was 80F. On the coast we get what we call May gray and June Gloom, overcast dull days as the land and deserts warm up. Last summer we had them all summer long, so every one down here is hoping we'll be back to normal with warm weather until the end of October. Last year my Plumeria (the Hawaian flower) didn't bloom at all, but it's still coming on strong so far this year.

  2. Hi ChrisJ
    Many thanks for your post and I hope you are improving. I guess we are looking forward to a spring we don't seem to have had for a few years and more importantly, a sustained good summer. The weather is doing some funny things, so I hope you can look forward to a good one too!

  3. That fountain is going to look really beautiful, tiered up with flowers, You're right the weather has been absolutely glorious.

    Nice to see Chris' beautiful face - hope you're starting to feel better. Chris. xx

  4. Dear Rare,

    You always do such an excellent job of educating this rural farmwife I thought I'd tell YOU a little tidbit for a change. The Windy City, Chicago, is named that because immediately after the big fire of 1871, the folks of Chicago bragged about how quickly they could rebuild the city. Or was it related to all the bragging we did during the Worlds Fair ? Anyway, we are a bunch of braggarts that is for certain.

    PS I do so love your blog and the way you look at things with such deep thought and care.

  5. Hi Elizabeth
    Many thanks for your comments on the fountain, by sheer coincidence, the plants I ordered today have just come!

    Hi Donna
    Many thanks for the snippet. I looked it up on Wikipedia and never thought for a minute it was because of bragging rights! I learn something new every day. Thanks for the comment on the blog, it's just ramblings really, but hey - it's about passing time with great blogging friends about what can happen in ordinary life.

  6. I would have loved to have see the crows at play. It was very interesting to read about the cardboard boxes. We still pick them up when we shop in Lidi. What will you plant in your fountain?

  7. Hi Jarmara
    Well there's the dilemma. Shall I plant some lavender shrubs for the smell and attracting butterflies and bees or do I go for traditional bedding for the first year, lobelia, begonia, petunia and geranium? Oh the choice! I have six lavender plants of different varieties in pots, but to fill the fountain, I guess I would need about twenty plants at least. I feel a toss of a coin coming on.
    Have you ever met Diane Setterfield who lives in North Yorkshire, she wrote the Thirteenth Tale which I about to finish and it's a stunning book?

  8. My lads wife and baby daughter live just outside Chicago. Cedar Lake. We get daily weather updates via Facebook :) It's true, it's a very windy city.

    Makes a good intro for one of my little passions. 1930's cheap detective novels "It was a cold night in the windy city, and the squall wetted the greasy streets through the cracked window ....". Ah, classic, corny, prose! :)

    How about herbs? Not only do they look good, you can nibble 'em on the way past. If you allow them to flower, you'll have lots of purple, yellows and whites. Even if you don't plan to eat them or flower them, but keep them trimmed to fit, the smell will be gorgeous.

    Oh, Lavender. No. In a planting in that location, you'd have to dig it up and replace it with babies every year. They can get 3ft across.

    Nice for cooking though.

  9. Hi Wheelie
    Thanks for the tips, always an additional option is useful to consider.
    I love the cheap detective fiction and how it's portrayed in film and television, Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise has a holodeck fantasy as 1920s US private 'dick,' Dixon Hill - Hilarious.

  10. Yeh, love the Dixon Hill episodes of TNG.
    Not like I have a choice - My lass loves all things Trek.

    If she did it on Mastermind, she'd win :)

    My Sky box is hitting it's limit with recorded middle-of-the-night Babylon 5's. Marathon B5 session coming up!

    Me? I'm a Walker Texas Ranger fan. Chuck Norris. T'internet is full of Chuck Norris jokes.

    As for the planting - try quick growing herbs like flat leaf Parsley, Basil, Coriander, Dill, Chives and Thyme. If nothing else, grabbing a handful for a salad that you've grown yourself is divine.

  11. Hi Wheelie
    My family are trekkers too, me to a lesser extent but still love it.
    I always thought the Chuck Norris programmes were always badly produced which is why I could never get on with them.
    I'm doing some herbs in clay pots this year.