Another adventure into acrylic painting. With these two paintings I was trying to exaggerate the contrasts between the colours, textures and patterns. I feel there was some success, in that there are details which show that contrast quite vividly, particularly the central green line against the background of white.
The second example was less subtle and was more about blending techniques and seeing how using the pure white colour would blend with the stronger background colours. A slightly murky result but i’m following (or trying to) the path of trial and error where i’m learning the craft and testing different colours and techniques : )
Right, the first load of manure has been dumped at the allotment, ready for spreading! It’s a good feeling to be properly starting the process of soil improvement and i’m going to be up there on Wednesday morning and most of Friday!
A local equestrian centre by the motorway junction provides free manure to all those who brave the huge pile. This pile is roughly 6 metres high and maybe 6 across and we found that some of the stuff further down was excellent.
Friends of ours who also keep 1.5 plots in the same allotment offered a lift in their hired van, so I went over there with them and we all got digging. A great experience and much less grim than I was expecting. The smell of the manure was like hops, or malt (something like the inside of a beer brewery). Very pleasant and it was hot and steaming. Almost black and quite fine and dry also.
One guy who was also there was saying it’s the best manure he’s ever seen. It certainly looks very good. 40 minutes later, some very large bags were filled up, 4 of which were Ikea bags borrowed from our lovely friends in Kingsway (J&J MK).
It was then back to the allotment to dump it all out and we got a good sized pile of steaming manure in the middle of the area we dug last week. This should cover an area twice the size of the dug patch, so this will be one of the jobs for this coming week!
Green manure: a good tip from Esther is to plant Phacelia, which is a green manure, which is purple flowering and very good for bees. They have had good results, so this may be able to go in around now, if it stays mild enough for it to germinate.
We are now officially car free!!
It’s a great feeling – until something goes wrong, but in theory, we’ve considered the options and ways to handle it and should be alright. There’s always problems which need to be overcome but that’s the great thing about life.
The green Nissan Sunny Spray was towed away yesterday and will be scrapped, with the proceeds going to charity. It was a bit sad, as i’ve been driving the car since I was 17, but it had to be done.
We also had to do a 3-way phone call with the Commonwheels car club people and the DVLA, to check our licences were full and clean and that there were no problems. That was completed and Claire has also now signed up to the carclub, and we can now book a car online. we’re just waiting for the smartcards to arrive, which unlock the car.
The tax refund also has to be in by the end of the month and we’re looking into cancelling the insurance. I wasn’t looking forward to the big cost of the service and MOT in 6 months (roughly £500), so by the end of the next 6 months, we would have saved over £1,000 just for petrol, tax, insurance. We’ll obviously be using more buses and trains + the car club, but so long as we keep below the £180 per month mark (which is what the car was costing), we will be ‘saving’ money.
I took a half day yesterday and drove up to Swindon to see a friend and ex-colleague from private practice (Mr. PG). We went over to the Swindon Borough Council golf course, which has great facilities, including driving range (with upper level), good practice green, pitching area with bunker and both an 18 hole course and 9-hole.
After 100 balls on the range we had a 10 minute putt practice, then had to leggit to the 1st tee. At this point it was raining and looking slightly grim, but warm enough with low wind. We were hopeful it would clear up, which it did after 45 mins or so. I hadn’t played in a couple of years so wasn’t expecting much – 6 over after the first 2 holes!
I finished with 3 pars in 9 holes, which considering the fact i’ve played about 4 times in 5 years, was pretty good. The best part was the putting, with only 2 and single putts on each hole, which for me was amazing. Also I didn’t have a sand wedge or pitching wedge, so the 9 iron was being used in place of both!
Both of us finished on the par 3, 9th near the green from the tee. We both managed to mess up our chips, with my choice of using a 9 iron to push the ball towards the flag not working! I had 30 yards to the hole but managed to only push it 10 yards! That is the worst feeling in golf, when you’ve got a real chance for a decent score and produce a weak shot.
So, 15 Yards to go, putter in hand, a fairly firm shot to the top side of the hole and it curled in for par! PG also got his in from the same distance but his was slightly downhill. Both finishing on a par on the final hole was great.
Good half day there and much needed break.
Well, let the fun begin! The dust certainly hasn’t settled yet, but i’m actually looking forward to experiencing what happens during a hung Parliament. Just a few thoughts and impressions of what’s happening right now.
The Lib Dems are not doing that well at all (nationally), given their apparent popularity. They are doing well in terms of votes but not in terms of Seats. I just hope they can have some kind of influence on shifting towards the Proportional Representation system of voting.
So, a Hung Parliament with no ‘winning’ majority, even with a Lib-Lab coalition. I think this could be the end of Gordon as PM.
People cueing outside polling stations and not being allowed to vote! It seems that in some areas, there was a greater than expected surge of interest. I have to say that it is shocking that those people who were already at the Polling Station (in the cue) before 10 were shut out. ‘Democracy’ in action. It’s not their fault that there were a lot of people wanting to vote or that the process of voting inside the station was slow. You get 1 chance every 4 years and even this was taken away.
One area actually ran out of ballot papers! I can’t make up my mind which is worse.
There are some serious implications for project funding for a lot of people now. I’m not sure where any further funds will be coming from for Gloucester’s Lighting Strategy, as an example.
The Green Party now has its 1st Seat in Westminster – well done Caroline Lucas!