Category: Cookin’

Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover

She said: “It’s really not my habit to intrude;
Furthermore, I hope my meaning won’t be lost or misconstrued.
But I’ll repeat myself, at the risk of being crude,
There must be fifty ways to leave your lover.”


Got up pretty early. What with plans for Sunday, I moved my weekly long ride forward to today rather than skipping it. Left around 9:30, aiming for about thirty miles in two hours. My bike computer has been misplaced, annoyingly, so I made do with just the tracking on my watch; this proved to be a massive mistake.

Initially I headed south, up the hills to the outskirts of Banstead, then east through Woodcote and then heading back north through Wallington and up through Mitcham and Tooting. It was there did something very silly; rather than turn back towards Morden, I headed for Earlsfield, then Wandsworth. Before I knew it I was passing Richmond park, heading down into Kingston, where I repeated my error and did a lap of the Hampton Court estate before heading back through Worcester Park and Cheam, feeling incredibly tired and starting to struggle.

Thirty-six miles down, in a little under two and a half hours. For a little while I could barely walk; that’s nearly a 30% increase in distance over my usual route; no wonder. I had to keep getting up during lunch to stretch my legs; though that didn’t last long and by the afternoon I was back to my usual self with only a slight ache from pushing myself.

Cooked a lasagne for dinner, despite my heroic exercise efforts earlier (apparently 1600 calories down) I wasn’t massively hungry, and there’s plenty left for another day. The kids seemed exhausted, so we put them to bed relatively early, then settled down to watch Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. At least that was the plan; numerous interruptions in the first hour of “I can’t sleep!” and “I’ve left my teddy downstairs!” meant that we didn’t really get the uninterrupted time we wanted; never mind.


Out of bed even earlier, greeted by rain falling. Will I never get another lie in again? This time it was to make sandwiches to take on our picnic, and pack the bag so we could leave as early as possible. The kids gave me some lovely home-made fathers’ day cards, plus some chocolates and other goodies, and shortly after breakfast we were out in the car, arriving at Alice Holt forest a little after 10am.

The forest car park was already quite busy; despite the signs saying that its capacity had been reduced to maintain social distancing, I didn’t see much in the way of a reduction of parking spaces, though, and there were plenty of people about, though all were being sensible about keeping their distance. We had a lovely amble around the forest before breaking for lunch and then carrying on afterward. We headed back home about 2pm having had a really enjoyable walk, with the sun shining. I’m making plans to come back with bikes, but need to sort out a few things first – like bike racks and trail gators.

The rest of the afternoon was taken up with family movie afternoon – my turn to pick, and, inspired by our recent reading of the Borrowers books, I went for Arietty, which occupied most of the audience. I’m not sure Studio Ghibli’s deliberate style is suited to an impatient four year old.

J cooked us dinner while we caught up with my mum. Somehow the kids were in bed later than expected but all in all, a decent day.


What’s that Lassie? Another early start on the cards? Of course… Started work at 8am with a meeting with D to prepare for the afternoon’s presentation. Followed up that with more meetings with different members of my team about their work, and an interview with a candidate who did quite well and I hope to hear more from.

The presentation in the afternoon went fantastically; I had answers to every question and objection that came up; got a load of good feedback on that, which was fantastic. Finished up at the usual time and cooked burgers for dinner with spiced wedges and grilled peppers, finishing with ice cream in the garden. Summer is finally here!

Ended the day with a short Ring Fit session (leg day!) and Dark Matter‘s take on Groundhog Day. I want to know about far-future Android; she looks like someone not to mess with. Sadly I don’t expect we’ll get to see that revisited; we’re rapidly closing on the end of the series, cancelled way too soon.

Frustrated Gangster

I’ll skin alive the next man who says I will
Stop at nothing to get all the way.
I’d recomend a good undertaker,
And of course a nice Beaujolais!

Work! Work! Work!
That’s no way to make a living…


An inauspicious start to the day; unlike the last few Saturdays, the grocery delivery wasn’t early. Coupled with the fact that we’d run out of milk the evening before, the day started very lazily. A took a very long time to eat her breakfast, far longer than normal, and needing more encouragement than usual. She still wasn’t keen on eating her mid-morning sweets, which is even more unusual; these are looked forward to immensely as they’re a weekend-only treat.

While J did her usual Saturday Zumba, I had another go at Ring Fit Adventure, cranking up the difficulty slightly, from before, raising a decent sweat. At lunchtime, A took one small bite of her sandwich and declared she’d finished, we noticed she felt a bit warm and took her temperature.

Oh dear. Running very hot, it seemed. Aiming to play it safe, I booked a COVID-19 test online while she had a nap, then bundled her into the car and drove to the local leisure centre which has been set up as a temporary testing centre. The soldiers working there gave me a test kit, and clambering over the seats to get from front to back (no leaving the car allowed), I attempted to gather a sample, in the process of which I tripped her gag reflex and ended up covering the place in vomit. After a second go-around to get a new test kit, I managed the deed and we headed home again. Unsurprisingly she barely moved from the sofa for the rest of the day.

I attempted a tear-and-share garlic bread recipe to go with the baked bacon and mushroom Macaroni Cheese that J made for dinner; it was mostly successful but I think the dough needed more kneading and more flour; wonderfully airy, but far too sticky to be comfortably rolled into 35 golf ball sized pieces as the recipe suggested; I ended up with about a dozen lumps instead. The amount of butter aded was insane too; between that and the main, I didn’t feel the need to move very rapidly at all for the rest of the evening, and there was a ridiculous amount left over for another day. Kids out of the way, we finished off The Umbrella Academy. Thank goodness the next season is out soon, for something that I wasn’t convinced about watching, it’s been pretty entertaining.


What with the pending COVID-19 test, the rules say to stay isolated. So, no bike ride this morning much to my massive disappointment. I did get some exercise in instead though; a round of Ring Fit Adventure (complete with small children as an audience). At least I’m getting some kind of exercise.

We seem somehow to have built up quite the surplus of apples, so while the kids watched Mulan in the afternoon, I knocked together an apple tart to go with the evening’s dinner of pork belly with root vegetables. That particular joint has been my go-to for a long time for an easy, lazy Sunday dinner – peel and chop the vegetables (in this case, new potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and red onions), score and salt the meat, then roast in the oven for about ninety minutes. It came out incredibly well, tender and fall-apart pork topped with a beautifully crispy crackling. A declined to eat any; she was still not feeling her best, though better than the day before. During our meal, my phone pinged – A’s test had come back negative; our brief period of isolation was thankfully at an end.

After dinner we packed the kids off to bed, and shortly after I was surprised by a little voice crying out “Daddy, I’m hungry!” A good sign in some ways, I brought her back downstairs and gave her a banana, which went down in a reasonable timespan, before packing her off to bed again.


Back to work. As usual a day full of meetings, though the first one is something of a milestone – it’s the last standup I’ll be running before I get a proper scrum master in to help me beat some shape into the daily meeting. I met up with her later and was extremely apologetic about the state of the backlog.

Spent a little time at lunchtime sorting holiday stuff. It’s almost certain we’ll be in Cornwall this time so I’ve booked tickets for Stonehenge on the way there, where we’re planning a picnic, and for Tintagel Castle for while we’re there. I just need to find stuff to occupy the rest of our time; hopefully things will be in a state that we can visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project; both are now open but not to the extent that would excite the kids so much – no play areas, no biome or indoor exhibits. There’s always the farm and the beach if nothing else.

The afternoon was somewhat thrown completely off course by a colleague pinging me: “You know that work that you and D said you wouldn’t be doing? The project manager for it seems to think you will be doing it after all.” Cue hurried conversation with D over slack, and then a swift gatecrashing of a meeting we weren’t invited to to attempt to set things straight. Seems like there’s a lot of that going on, what with Team Loki also hallucinating an agreement for us to do some work, which is now turning into a major headache for everyone concerned.

The afternoon and evening were rainy, and it wasn’t good road cycling weather, so I took the Switch upstairs for yet more Ring Fit Adventure. Seems to be becoming a bit of a habit. The console decided to introduce me to planks; all I can say is ouch; they’re tough.


Woke to my abs still aching. Not surprising, really, given I’ve barely exercised them in, well… ever. D had taken the day off sick with a fever; hopefully it’s nothing too bad. Started the day with our newly led standup, which could have gone worse, then into the usual Architecture meeting before a monthly business update. After lunch was a meeting with HR to review the incoming pipeline, followed by a whole load of meetings about the projects from hell. We at least agreed to pull M off the work he’s currently doing and give hime one of the pieces of work; the other is an ongoing feast of pain.

Finished off the remainder of Saturday’s macaroni and garlic bread for dinner before catching up with friends online. Finished up late. Oops.

Sisters of Mercy

Yes, you who must leave everything that you cannot control
It begins with your family, but soon it comes around to your soul
Well, I’ve been where you’re hanging, I think I can see how you’re pinned
When you’re not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you’ve sinned


It might be Friday but because I’ve taken the day off work, it feels a bit more like a Saturday. For some reason I’ve taken to having very vivid dreams which are waking me early in the morning; like all dreams they fade quickly but there’s a faint feeling of unease that doesn’t pass easily.

Spent the day doing various jobs around the house that have been outstanding a little longer than they should have and trying not to be too grumpy at the kids, which I mostly succeeded at.


Urgh. The dreams aren’t going away. This time I’m woken by the terror of running away from an explosion in some kind of office block, which I’d set up myself through some kind of sabotage.

If it hadn’t before, the weather has properly turned now. Had a day at home with the kids; we went out for a walk in the morning while J did her usual Zumba class. The rain mostly held off except for a few spots halfway around our route, though not long after we got home it started raining properly. The miserable weather made for a movie afternoon – Sleeper Jr.’s pick was The Sword In The Stone on Disney+; the kids are getting decent mileage out of the subscription at least, and it reminded me that I never seem to get around to reading The Once and Future King. Will maybe order it on Kindle soon. Finished up the day making what was supposed to be a ragu, served with much more expensive fusilli than I’d usually buy. To my surprise the pasta tasted much better, probably due to the much tighter spiral foundation giving it a more interesting texture. Maybe I won’t buy the cheapest supermarket-brand pasta in future; we’ll see.

The kids were in bed fairly early even given the weekly Doctor Who viewing; there was plenty of time for a movie; we’re pretty Marvel-ed out so settled on Contact, which I hadn’t seen in about twenty years. It still held up, though Rob Lowe looked alarmingly young even compared to his West Wing days.


Woke early and got up to breakfast before heading out on the bike, choosing a new route this time – up through Mitcham to Tooting, then Wandsworth, Putney, past Richmond Park to Kingston, a trip to the Hampton Court Palace main gate, then back the same way to Kingston followed by Norbiton, Worcester Park and Cheam. A decent ride of , and the weather held out for me.

I fried onions for hot dogs for lunch while J was out on a run, and then lounged about the house for much of the afternoon, getting little done apart from cooking roast lamb with new potatoes and honey-glazed carrots.

Finished up the evening pottering around and attempting to half-heartedly play LA Noire while J caught up with friends on Zoom; I didn’t really have the mental energy though and gave up after two interrogations and a car chase. Aimed for an early night but something stopped me from getting to sleep until nearly the normal time. Oh well.


Yet another weird dream; that one passed quickly from memory leaving me to get up and face sitting down to work, which I wasn’t looking forward to having enjoyed my days off. Today was an extremely meeting heavy day, even worse than usual and I didn’t really feel like I’d had much time to just stop and think.

Eventually finished work, then cooked a stir fry for dinner before going out on a ride with Sleeper Jr. Over an hour and a seven mile ride later, partly offroad, we packed him off to bed and chilled out.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you
By Xerox in four parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon blowing a bugle.


If wittering on about my life stuck at home were ever important to talk about, today isn’t the day to do it. See most other Tuesdays for details of that; today is a day to listen to the lived experiences of others who don’t have the benefits of being born with innate privileges inner society, and to what one can do to help reduce those societal inequalities.

Pay attention to the stories of black folks especially; racism is all over the place but it seems worst directed at those with Black heritage, especially in the USA – but definitely not exclusively. Donate to causes which help to level the playing field, and spend money with businesses owned by those people who are the worst affected by the current situation.

Hopefully the revolution will be televised.


Up earlier than usual; I have a meeting at 8:30 to go over the slide deck for tomorrow’s all-hands; then it’s a day full of a non-stop tour of the the usual projects strands across various parts of the business. Managed to break for lunch for an hour before heading back in for an interview with someone who, sadly, didn’t pass the bar. The rest of the day blurred together; the final session at 5:00pm was delayed by one of the key decision makers being late, which in turn had a knock-on effect on dinner, which I was meant to be cooking. In the end, even more incredulously, after a vote, no decision was made on what to do next, the result being an unsatisfying “Just do both things“. I referred them to my product owner, who’ll decide whether we can even fit our option into the work schedule, and headed out for the day.

Dinner was pan-fried pork rib-eyes with sweet potato wedges and mushrooms. The pork was incredibly tasty but I think it needed a different way of cooking; the steaks were somewhat unevenly cut and cooked at different rates, though they were very tasty.

Kids in bed, I baked a cake while J wrapped gifts. Tomorrow’s a special day.


Blimey, was this really eight years ago? Awake fairly early, but Sleeper, Jr decided he wanted to stay in bed until 8am; I think he was enjoying that feeling of having the whole of his birthday ahead of him, the anticipation that today was going to be a magical day. We had a lovely session unwrapping presents (he seems to have been given an incredible number of Harry Potter Lego sets), then busied ourselves making a picnic.

While I was busying myself with the cake decoration, K called around with her son; the two boys go to Beavers together, and we had a nice socially-distanced chat in the front garden before returning to the task of sandwich manufacture. We set off somewhat later than planned, but got to Oaks Park at a decent time, having worked up an appetite walking along countryside paths next to fields and stables. It’s nice to be able to walk to the very edge of the city and see green open areas, even if it’s a little further than we’d go on a regular basis. The park was reasonably busy, and the cafe was doing a decent trade, but it wasn’t by any means crowded; plenty of space for everyone and the kids had fun running around in the wide open space.

On our return home, there were more cards to open and Super Mario Party to play on the Nintendo Switch. I got rather annoyed at the RNG, but everyone else had fun, and before we knew it it was time for me to go out and pick up the Fish and Chip supper from the local chip shop, which is only doing advance orders at specific time slots. It was acceptable, I guess. The mushy peas were a let down and it’d be so much better if it hadn’t been wrapped up in paper steaming itself while we waited for dinner time.

Kids packed off to bed after dinner, we collapsed in front of the sofa. It’s been a delightful day, one which wouldn’t have happened under any other circumstances. Properly quality time, something that is more valuable than anyone in the world.


And if my name were Juniper,
Then I would know where I was going.
And then I would become all knowing,
My beard so very long and flowing.


Up a little earlier than usual, which was just as well as the Ocado delivery was early. I was helped by A in putting everything away, by which point everyone was up and ready for breakfast. Spent the morning attempting to tidy, as well as portioning up the large piece of beef fillet I’d taken delivery of from the butcher the day before.

The afternoon was spent partly in the garden; it’s been particularly warm but there was an old flowerbed that needed digging out to give the kids somewhere to plant pumpkins, before it gets too late. I cleared all the grasses and weeds from it, but left the sowing of the seeds for another day. Made another Detroit-style pizza for dinner; deliciously filling. I’m starting to wonder if I might be able to manage a gluten-free version the next time my mum can come to stay – whenever that is.

Finished up the day watching the SpaceX launch on YouTube; we managed to catch sight of the ISS in the sky later on, but any hint of the rocket itself passing was beyond us; our suspicion is it was behind the treeline. Never mind; when you’ve seen one spacecraft passing you’ve seen them all, I suppose.


Woke at 8am by one of the kids coming out of the bathroom. This was particularly annoying as I’d been intending to get up early so that I could be out and back on the bike in a sensible amount of time. Eventually left after the circus at about 9:30, heading up to Hampton Court Palace again.

Lots has changed in the last two weeks, including quite a few pop-up bike lanes and freshly painted ones on other roads. Did more or less the same route as the previous time, with the difference that I didn’t get lost in Thames Ditton, instead adding a couple of miles along the river heading back toward Kingston. Cycled back through Epsom again, this time knowing what I was letting myself in for; I wasn’t quite as quick through that bit as last time, but there was more of a headwind and it was warmer. I also need to manage my hydration better, I think.

In the afternoon we planted the pumpkins and I barbecued some bits and pieces for dinner. The kids keep asking if we can eat outside; much to their annoyance we’ve said no, mostly because there isn’t any shade in the garden. “What about the gazebo?” they ask, and they’d be right, except for the fact that even a pop-up gazebo takes more than the five minutes before a meal to put up.


Back to work with a bump; today has been particularly horrendous, consisting of meeting after meeting, each about different projects and with different priorities. Although I stopped briefly for lunch, it didn’t really help with the onslaught and by the time 5:30 rolled around I was desperate to get away from the screen.

I’d been craving something slightly unhealthy, and succeeded in my plan by making a stir fry with deep-fried battered crispy pork. Delicious, and it was filling but not too much. Got the kids into bed and then collapsed in front of the TV; it was one of those kinds of days. Another one tomorrow, hopefully not quite so extreme.

Born Under A Bad Sign

What are you like?
You’ve had a right life and taken a long ride,
But oh what a cost…

And all of your life, staring at white lines
Reading the road signs,
And oh what a loss…

Sleeping late in the afternoon, playing your guitar,
Born under a bad sign.


Woke up early and checked on the whereabouts of my bike repair stuff; the tracking suggested it’d be mid-afternoon before it arrived; there was no chance of a ride today. Instead we pottered around the house, which has been increasingly untidy, starting to get things into some semblance of order. After lunch I took the kids for a walk, which was nice – not too warm and not too many people on the streets.

Got home and started to prepare dinner – kebabs and chicken wings cooked on the barbecue, and took delivery of my bead jack. Once the kids were in bed I set about trying to mount the tyre; instead of doing what I’d hoped, the tool snapped in two. These are particularly tough wheels, it seems. Eventually, using a huge amount of tape to hold the tension in the tyres in place, I managed to both get the tyre on and inflated. One down, one to go. The second one went on slightly faster, but only slightly, and started to inflate, pinged into the rim, and then went down again. Now I had a tyre that had a flat tube and I couldn’t get it off no matter how I tried to prise it. Gave up and went to bed frustrated, not managing to get to sleep until gone midnight.


Woke again ridiculously early, annoyed by the tyre, getting back to trying to remove it; in the process of doing so to change the tube I tore the rubber. Annoyed doesn’t even begin to cover it. Replaced the original tyre on the bike; fitting that one was a doddle, and watched some TV with A while we waited for everyone else to wake up and head downstairs.

I’ve been wanting to get out on the bike ever since the exploding inner tube incident, and today I finally had the chance, but setting off much later than I’d originally planned. Left at 10am, heading up through Mitcham, Streatham and Brixton to Blackfriars Bridge, then along the Embankment and home by way of Battersea and Tooting. I’d forgotten how many traffic lights there are on that route, especially in central London, and the number of people out on bikes was somewhat ridiculous too; seemed like half the city was out for a ride. Got home at 12, then a brief chat with the neighbours before lunch, and lighting the BBQ to slow-cook some ribs.

Spent most of the afternoon in the garden; it wasn’t until dinner time that the next disaster struck. I went to the garage door, pulled it to close it and with an almighty clunk it stopped and refused to budge. Had a good look at it and found the problem, but couldn’t fix it myself; I ended up having to call a locksmith to help with the mechanism. He couldn’t repair it either but he could at least secure it until I can get it fixed properly.


Back to work! Had a rare morning of quiet in the house as J took the kids to Banstead Wood for a walk. In between meetings I managed to get hold of a garage door company to come and take a look at my problem in the afternoon; other than that the day was pretty unremarkable. Helpfully the garage repair guys turned up while I was in the middle of a meeting with another team; I had to leave W to fend for himself while I went to sort the paperwork. It’s fixed now, but that was another chunk of cash I’m not too pleased to have had to part with.

The kids were both exhausted by evening; I wonder if there’s something in the air? Got them both into bed at a reasonably early hour, then took the laptop out to the garden, where I had a pleasant evening drinking beer and chatting with friends on Zoom. Tomorrow will hopefully be similar; the sun is shining and all’s as well as can be.

Private Universe

I have all I want, is that simple enough?
A whole lot more I’m thinking of;
Every night about six o’clock
Birds come back to the pond to talk.
They talk to me, birds to talk to me,
If I go down on my knees

I will run for shelter,
Endless summer, lift the curse.
It feels like nothing matters in our private universe


Fairly normal start to the day; it’s the last day before a long weekend, and contrary to all expectations, it wasn’t completely full of meetings; I had my head down and managed to get a bunch of stuff done. Not everything I wanted but there was some progress there, including helping out members of my team with various bits they were having problems with.

The sun was shining and the kids were having lots of fun outside; my spirits were raised by the arrival of the new tyres for my bike – I’ve been itching to get back on the road. Once I’d finished my workday, I put together a fish pie and then fitted them; or that was the plan, anyway. It turns out that the combination of Schwalbe puncture-resistant tyres and tubeless rims makes for a really difficult experience fitting the tyres; I hadn’t even managed to get the first one on before dinner.

Put the kids to bed fairly early; they were tired, then joined some friends on Zoom for a catch up, all the while still trying to mount the thing. Eventually I gave up around midnight, when I turned in for the night, arms aching from trying to get the bead over the rim, having nicked two inner tubes in the process. They’re at least repairable, unlike the last two. After a bit of research online I heard of something called a tyre bead jack, so I’ve ordered one; Amazon will deliver it on Sunday. Hopefully it’ll do the trick or I’ll be looking for a bike shop to fit these tyres.


Woke up early and got everyone in the car at a reasonable hour to set off down down the A303. We stopped for a picnic lunch at Stonehenge, before heading off again and reaching Fiona and Nick’s farm by about 5pm, settling into our cabin there and mucking about in the field outside by the river before getting the kids into bed and enjoying the stillness that comes from being miles from anywhere.

Oh, wait, no, that was what was supposed to happen today. Obviously we haven’t actually left the house. Today was a bit of a struggle; it started off nicely enough, but then the weather turned. I’ve finally re-potted and put the tomato plant outside; hopefully the weather’s now warm enough for it to cope. It’s been getting way too big for the windowsill where it’s rested recently. Hung the washing out while J was doing her online Zumba class, then brought it in again as the rain started. Bah.

Had a film afternoon with the kids while I was preparing the dinner, J had suggested Descendants, a Disney film imagining the children of some of the worst antagonists in their movies going to school together. Not really my cup of tea but I enjoyed watching Kristin Chenoweth chewing up the scenery as Maleficent; she’d obviously enjoyed the part massively.

Both of the kids have been massively tired recently; if it hadn’t been for the fact they’ve not left the house I’d wonder if they hadn’t caught something somewhere. Again, sent them to bed early, one of them with Calpol as he was complaining of a headache, then had time for a movie for ourselves, in this case Thor: Ragnarok. Been a very lazy day today, tomorrow will hopefully be a bit more active.

Sleeping Satellite

Did we fly to the moon too soon?
Did we squander the chance?
In the rush of the race,
The reason we chase is lost in romance;
And still we try to justify the waste
For a taste of man’s greatest adventure


Lazed in bed for a while, then got up at 8am. Showered, then noticed my Fitbit Versa was misbehaving; it was acting as though one of the buttons was stuck down. Rebooting didn’t help; on careful examination I noticed that there was what looked like water on the inside of the screen. That’s been the last straw.

Over the past three years, I’ve been through five fitbits – two Charge 2s, and three Versas. The Charges both developed cracks in the screen, and when I had the opportunity to upgrade to the Versa for (almost) free thanks to my employer at the time, I jumped at the chance. The first one I had served me well for all of six months before it developed a screen fault. The replacement for that one had a bluetooth problem and wouldn’t sync correctly. The most recent one appears to have bad waterproofing. It might be still under warranty, but I’ve lost patience. In the absence of a return of the defunct Pebble Time 2, I’ve bit the bullet and ordered an Apple Watch. I at least have some confidence it’ll last me unlike the junk I’ve had so far, even if it’s expensive.

Both kids were over tired this morning, despite having slept well; think they needed a low-key couple of days. We did a little light gardening and then, because it hasn’t moved in nearly eight weeks, attempted to start the car. Inexplicably it turned over just fine; I took them both out for a spin just to get the battery up to a decent charge before lunch; for most of the trip they were both glassy-eyed, barely awake. After lunch, it was A’s turn to choose a film, so she subjected us to The Little Mermaid. Despite the protestations from her brother that he wasn’t interested, he soon dropped all pretence of paper craft and joined her on the sofa; it’s the right kind of no-thinking entertainment that was needed.

While the terrible two were occupied, I made a start on my attempt at the Detroit-style pizza I’d been threatening. The dough was so loose it was almost a batter, but it worked fantastically; a slug of olive oil in the bottom of a deep roasting tin, keeping the dough from sticking, with pepperoni layered on top followed by cubed mozzarella and cheddar, finishing up with a tomato sauce made by reducing a couple of tins of tomatoes with herbs and garlic. Definitely one to repeat.


Well, I’d been threatening it for a week, and this time I actually did it; got up early and was out on my bike not long after nine. Made it to Hampton Court Palace in next to no time, and was delighted to find Kingston town centre full of people on bikes; seems like there were more people cycling than driving by a huge margin. Got a little lost in Thames Ditton on the way back after running into a road closure, but after getting my bearings, I followed the main road into Epsom before heading home. That last bit of the ride was but far the hardest, seems like 90% of the hill climbing was in the last quarter of a 25 mile ride. Got some decent speeds on the downhill though. Most annoying was the last mile home, a road that was incredibly badly surfaced, and I was bumping all over the place. Stashed my bike in the garden and let J go for her run. I’ve been delighted with the it now that it’s run in, and hope for a few more longer distance adventures in the near future.

After lunch, I was asked by D next door if I’d heard the loud bang? Nope, was my reply, though I soon discovered the cause; seems like the cratered road had done something to my tyres and pinched the front inner tube, which had conspired to explode not much later. I stood for quite a while puzzling over how it was possible for a bike to get a puncture standing on a lawn before I figured it out. Once I’d discovered my spare tube didn’t work either (it was already patched, and the patch somehow split when it was inflated over 60 psi), I gave up and turned my attention to the BBQ, where I smoked the most delicious brisket for dinner, accompanied by spicy wedges and a side salad.

In Our Cathedral

There was a time, you forget,
You were losing every bet.
Your hope was shattered,
Your trust betrayed,
But you found a place where you don’t need to be afraid:
In our cathedral…


Settled into the usual routine of dragging the kids away from the TV for breakfast before getting them dressed in time to start some kind of school work around 9am. In theory Thursday is supposed to be a meeting-light day that I’d planned to spend doing some bits and pieces I’d promised members of my team that I’d look at days if not weeks ago; that dream died before it was even fully formed. The morning passed quickly enough with the usual mix of catch ups. I try to take an hour for lunch each day, and have my calendar blocked out to ensure that. Today, however, conspired to keep my lunch break as short as possible and I only managed to snatch 30 minutes with the rest of the family before heading back into what seems to be my role as chief referee between different teams who’ve interpreted the same requierments in entirely different ways.

At one point D pinged me in one of his own meetings because he thought I’d agreed one thing and allowed my team to delivered another and he was getting heat for it. I apologised for the fact that I’d obviously miscommunicated something and then went away, realising a few minutes later exactly what the problem was, pinging him back and establishing that he wasn’t going mad, the person he was talking to was discussing something very different to what D had thought, and no-one was misleading anyone. I seem to be getting good at talking more senior managers down from the edge. Not sure yet if it’s a good thing or not.


Awoke super early for no reason I could discern. Persuaded the kids away from the TV and got breakfast, then started the workday. Nothing much to write home about there other than two meetings, one in which it turns out we’re not going to be held to the June deadline we’d had agreed on our behalf – in fact the implication was that if we delivered by December, no-one would bat an eyelid. In the other I did something that took me minutes but saved the bacon of the team working with a very large and influential hardware manufacturer. Not sure I deserved the praise I got, but, hey, good feedback is good feedback, right?

Took delivery of a batch of meat from Turner and George this morning; cooked the sausages for dinner and they were by far the best sausages I’ve eaten in a long time. I miss working next door to their butcher’s shop. Also in the delivery were ribs, steaks, bacon and brisket, which I’m going to smoke on the BBQ. We’re going to eat well over the next week or so.

Finished up the day kegging the saison I brewed a few weeks back, and putting the Kölsch on tap. My least favourite part of home brewing is cleaning lines and kegs, but it’s done now, And the Kölsch tastes just right; as does the sample of the saison. I’ve named the former Rehana, because she asked, as the latest in a series of beers called The Beer Called <Name>.

A Little Less Conversation

Baby, close your eyes and listen to the music,
Dig to the summer breeze.
It’s a groovy night and I can show you how to use it;
Come along with me and put your mind at ease!
A little less conversation, a little more action, please


Up at 8am, ready to take delivery of the shopping. This time it seems that there’s no preserved sweetcorn in Ocado’s warehouse of any description, be it tinned or frozen. We do at least have the fresh, on-the-cob, variety for this afternoon’s firing of the barbecue.

Mowed the lawn while J did her online Zumba class, while attempting to referee the usual arguments between children. We did the usual things of topping up the compost on the potatoes, watering the beans, and so on, before lunch. After lunch the kids ran around with water pistols, enjoying the warm weather while I mostly skulked indoors trying to avoid the direct afternoon sun. Turns out I wasn’t all that successful; there are definite tan lines on my feet to match my sandals. Lit the fire around 4 and cooked the usual favourites – burgers, corn on the cob and wings, followed by smoked caramelised apples and pineapples, accompanied with vanilla ice cream.


Didn’t sleep at all well; despite having retired around 11 the previous night, didn’t get to sleep until nearly 1am. As a result the start to the morning was even lazier than usual, and breakfast wasn’t done until gone 9am.

Went out on the bike a little after 10. The adjustments to fit and brakes I made on Friday have made a world of difference. Put in a 20 mile route in an hour and fifteen minutes, and could have done so much further without needing to be back at home for lunch and the kids. Next weekend I’ll aim for that bit further. This time I got grumbled at for being out enjoying myself, which was fair enough as she wanted to go out for a run too.

After lunch, the weather turned as we’d expected, so time for a film afternoon; apparently it was my turn to pick the movie. Flicking through Netflix the other day we’d noticed The Never-ending Story, which I’d not seen since I was about Sleeper, Jr.’s age. Amazingly, it kept everyone’s attention for the full ninety minutes, including a break for homemade popcorn.

Despite my protestations that it’s a side dish, one preferably dipped in breadcrumbs and deep fried, J made a macaroni cheese for dinner, with bacon and mushrooms. Pretty nice, but way too filling; there’s more than enough for a second meal left over.

Kids packed off to bed, I collapsed in front of the TV; a combination of too little sleep and the morning’s bike ride had conspired to tire me out.


Up about 7:45; the kids were already watching TV downstairs. A decently unhurried breakfast followed by settling into work. A quick catch up with D before the first of (count them) three stand-ups; he’s got the afternoon off work because he has to go pick up his new car. “New Tesla is it?” I joke, and it turns out, that, yes, it is a new Tesla model 3. I’m slightly jealous, but only slightly, because I don’t drive that much anyway and even if I could afford one, I don’t really need more than the sensible and boring car I have.

The afternoon was mostly taken up by the third session of the security assessment we covered last week; in our weekly sync meeting one of the other leads passed on some news that was both unexpected and disappointing with regard to an offer we’d made to a prospective employee. Oh well. Finished up attempting a crispy sesame beef stir fry with green vegetables and baby corn. The beef wasn’t crispy enough but everyone else seemed to enjoy it well enough.

Finished up the day covering over the nascent potatoes; there’s rumour of a frost overnight. Hopefully the other vegetables will survive. Let’s see in the morning.