Fifty Shades of Green

A sad day today. My kettle, which I have had since I was a student, went to the small electrical recycling event held at Kennington Park and did not come home. I honestly thought it was going to last me my whole life. It was second hand when I got it, a hand-me-down from someone who probably got a more sophisticated model that turned itself off when it boiled.

They don’t make the.m like this anymore

It has been with me through thick and thin, as an undergraduate and post graduate; as a newly qualified teacher right up to this morning when I boiled it for the last time to make my morning coffee. It’s been in halls of residence, slum accommodation, dodgy rental flats, social housing, my own home. But a while ago I decided to tackle the limes ale around the spout. Mistake. Once removed, I realised it had been stopping my kettle from leaking. I looked for ways to repair it. I found some advice but, lacking a soldering iron or any experience in using one, success seemed unlikely. I contacted the company that made it, Swan. They regretted they could not help, but they did offer me a substantial discount on a new kettle. A clever way to retain my custom and for me, a useful way of narrowing my choices. Still. Saying goodbye was hard and I kept putting the moment off.

Finally, this week, with Celia’s help I made my decision between a stainless steel kettle and a rather more expensive pale green model. It arrived this morning.

On trial


The picture shows it having its first boil, I don’t know why I sat it on a piece of bubble wrap, but I definitely felt it was on trial. Continue reading

This Green and Pleasant Land

Shakespeare’s line

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May

might have been written for today. Perfect for drying the washing, but otherwise a bit blowy.

But it was William Blake’s

green and pleasant land

we enjoyed East over the weekend.

Despite a notable lack of rain over the last few weeks, the fields are lush, and every lane, every hedgerow is bursting with life and colour.

P1180808

East Anglia’s flat landscape and big skies are made more dramaitic on windy days, and even small rises in the ground give views for miles. Continue reading

April Showers in this Green and Pleasant land

It has been a beautiful day on and off. The off bits were when the rain we so desperately need came down. Proper April showers. The sort where you can get drenched in a few short minutes, with the last of March’s winds gusting the weather into your face. Then, just as you reach the perfect drowned rat look, the sun comes out and the skies shine a deceptively gentle blue. A blue that almost matches the colour of your numbed fingers.
But gosh, it makes things nice to look at.

It also reminds me why I didn’t own an umbrella until I lived in France. In Marseille, when it rains, it comes down in gallons and keeps on coming down. For someone used to the short heavy spells of English rain, where the wind turns an umbrella inside out in seconds, it was an unwelcome surprise.

Here, you can often shelter for the time it takes the shower to finish. Or rather, could. It seems we have longer periods without rain now, and then heavier rain that lasts longer. Some places would settle for that heavy rain. Last night, on Radio 4, a farmer in the Cotswolds told how the river on his land that the cattle drink from is dry. In the dispassionate tones of the public school educated, he explained that without the rain the crops and grass would not grow and the cattle would have nothing to eat. Those weren’t his precise words and I don’t remember what programme it was, but I expect you could find it online.

In the Cotswolds. Continue reading