October 13, 2016

Forever Home

It’s 8am. Pete and I are having breakfast in bed. Bernard is on a year 6 residential trip. We are enjoying it way too much. We were talking about how old and stupid the cat is getting, and somehow get on to talking about how long we have lived in this house: over ten years now.

I never imagined we would be here this long, I say. We said it was our Ten Years House.
That didn’t mean we had to move after ten years
, says Pete. I always thought of it as a minimum.
I always thought of it as a maximum
, I say.
That’s because you have never lived anywhere for ten years, Pete points out. I lived in the same house from the age of 2 to the age of 22. That’s what I want for Bernard.
We should have had this conversation ten years ago.

It’s hard to articulate how it feels for me to be in the same place for ten years, even as a parent and knowing that our son has this amazing stable foundation that I never had; on the other hand, the constant moving around meant having to meet and deal with new people, learn to make friends and fit in (theoretically, anyway); and at least my family were a constant even if schools and houses changed. When choosing a university, these things were presented as important and character building reasons to go as far from away from home as possible, usually by people who had no idea how many times I had already done that.

I have a little bit of wanderlust. I may have mentioned it before.

  • Comments: 2
  • Never fear. The only thing that would prompt Pete out of his manor is if a house came up f... - Karen
  • Don't you fucking dare. - Gammidgy
October 2, 2016

Armchair Hiker

A few years ago I was working in a theatre (not as glamorous as it sounds, I was just teaching an antenatal class there), and I spent some time browsing a photographic exhibition by a mother who had hiked the Camino de Santiago with her two teenage sons. At the time I was intrigued and drawn to the romance of it, but inevitably somewhat put off by the heavy spiritual element; however it has stayed in my mind as, over the last few years, we have started doing more walking as a family.

Last year, we watched Wild, the film of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir of her hike along part of the Pacific Crest Trail, and that poked my dormant intrigue back into an active curiosity. I still can’t put my finger on what it is about long distance walking that appeals to me so much. I’ve racked my brains for practical ways to do it myself despite my diary being booked up 9 months in advance, and Bernard’s tendency to behave as though he is being abused and neglected whenever we drag him out into Nature. It’s not possible, it might never be possible. So I have become addicted to the Hiking Memoir as a genre, and indulge in daydreams of long trails, big skies, and wide views. Here’s my reading so far…
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  • Comments: 4
  • I found Blindness quite unpleasant to read, although Pete enjoyed it. He has the film line... - Karen
  • A Moroccan called Brahim - a lovely man - once told me that The Alchemist summed up for hi... - swisslet
  • I quite fancy the Thames Path, parts of which are even closer to home. I've even bought th... - Karen
  • I'm glad you hated The Pilgrimage. I now can't remember what convinced me that Paulo Coelh... - Gammidgy
July 11, 2016

Uborkast Episode 8

This one is very chatty, to make up for there being no song. Bernard in particular is a star. He will tell you about Robots Live and interview his father about Lego Star Wars. Pete and Karen have a bit of a grumble about politics and cold water, then talk some more about TV and the best birthday parties of the last ten years.


Leaving EU

I am worried about what will happen when we leave the EU in a few years. We wont have as much spending money and we cant stay for as long. The Bloody Idiot Jerks who voted leave for no reason.

I Just want to say there is NOTHING good about leaving!

From Bernard #BernardIsAnnoyed



June 23, 2016


No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

– John Donne

June 17, 2016

Uborkast 07

I forgot to put this here! It seems not to matter, because 14 people have at least started to play it, though they may have stopped listening when we started the Nashville series 4 spoilers. Sorry about that.

June 15, 2016

The Almond Milk Project: Tesco Almond Unsweetened

This week’s almond milk gets its review outing poured atop some revolting banana-flavoured weetabix. As a result, it was necessary to sample some of it neat, to experience its almondyness unblemished. What do you mean, you think I should be ensuring consistent review conditions to ensure a fair and balanced playing field? What would you know about such things? Leave me alone.

tesco almond unsweetenedAppearance: slightly thicker than the average, and with a slight yellowish tinge

Flavour: a relatively gentle flavour of almonds in this one, which is surprising as it comprises 2% almonds so you’d expect it to be twice as almondy as the Rude Health.

Mouthfeel: a little lacking in substance, but on the whole it’s not an unpleasant transition for those who are used to cow’s milk.

Sweetness: none at all, which can be quite startling if you’re unprepared.


(per 100ml) CME (Cow’s Milk Equivalent)
Energy 18kcal 47kcal
Protein 0.4g 3.6g
Sugar 0.1g 4.8g
Other carb 1.2g 0
Fat 1.1g 1.8g
Fibre 0.4g 0
Salt 0.1g <0.05g

Price: £1.49.

June 8, 2016

The Almond Milk Project: Rude Health Almond Drink

Back in February, out of curiosity, I decided to try almond milk on my cereal instead of regular old cow’s milk. Though strange at first, Karen and I have quite grown to like it, and since then we’ve bought a carton nearly every week. The range of different varieties is broad, and I don’t think we’ve ever had the same product twice.

However, our latest purchase is actually the same one that kicked this whole experiment off. Which made me think “hmmm, if I’d been reviewing these almond milks as I went along, then that would have been a really good project for the blog.” Well, you know what they say, the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, and the second best time is now.

rude health almond drinkAppearance: very much like regular cow’s milk, perhaps a little waterier

Flavour: a strong flavour of almonds in this one. As I mentioned, this was the first almond milk that I tried back in February, and I found it to be initially overwhelming. It made me wonder if I had made a big mistake, and this whole almond milk idea was a folly, but by the end of the carton I was definitely coming around.

Mouthfeel: very pleasant, very milky, not too thick, not too thin. This one is thickened with rice (14%) and contains 1% almonds.

Sweetness: nothing is added, but the rice content does lend it a certain natural sweetness.


(per 100ml) CME (Cow’s Milk Equivalent)
Energy 56kcal 47kcal
Protein 0.2g 3.6g
Sugar 4.7g 4.8g
Other carb 5.8g 0
Fat 1.49g 1.8g
Fibre 0.2g 0
Salt 0.1g <0.05g

Price: £1.99 RRP but we got it for £1.49 on special offer.

Conclusion: I rate this one quite highly. Once I got over the initial almondiness, I started to enjoy the boldness of the flavour. However, it’s also very ricy, which doesn’t work in its favour.