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w/e 2023-06-04

Hello! Apart from a couple of chilly days mid-week, the perfectly sunny days have continued. It is very pretty around here in the early summer sun – rolling hills patchworked with growing fields, trees and hedges overflowing with green leaves, fruit starting to emerge, fluffy lambs growing up, little birds cheeping away, gangly buttercups bobbing in the breeze. You get the gist.

This weekend my friend David came to visit for the first time so got the very best impression of the place as we walked through fields and along little roads, admiring the many views. Having someone visit is a great way to see everything as if with new eyes and, in this weather, appreciate how fortunate we are to live here.

§ Like many of you who experienced my scything of last summer through this blog or photos, David was keen to have a go at scything, so I got the thing out. I’ve been apprehensive about doing any more, because I felt pretty defeated by it, by the time I stopped last year, a third of the way through finishing the meadow-like lawn.

A photo of a scythe lying on some short, cut grass. At the top of the image is some longer grass with buttercups growing in it. The blade of the scythe has a label on it reading 'STYRIA-AUSTRIA'

But it went well! It was easy, quicker, and more effective than I remembered it being. I don’t know if it’s because, unlike later in the year, the grass is currently sparser and shorter, with fewer thicker weeds growing. Or because I’d misremembered what it was like. Or because my scything skills have somehow improved over several months of not doing any…?

So I feel relaxed about scything more of the lawn in future – we only did a small patch of the No-Mow-May-length lawn this weekend.

Not sure if we’ll let the entire lawn become meadow again this year. We’ve yet to decide. But stay tuned, scything fans.

§ I spent an afternoon putting a few old gadgets on eBay this week. It’s annoyingly time-consuming: ensuring they’re still working, taking photos, writing the eBay pages, packaging everything up. I’d been hanging on to things like old PDAs (Personal Digital Assistant for the young folk) out of affection for them but, really, why? They were in a box and I only see them when I’m looking for something else, or moving house. Am I going to keep these things in a box until I die? Why, why? So, away they go. I hung on to the Newton MessagePad though because it is such a nice object and OS.

§ A couple of weeks back I added a bit to the front page that highlights blogs celebrating their birthdays, in a first attempt to make the front page change more often. I only blogged about it this week after waiting for a day that two blogs showed up at once. There are many other, bigger, things I could have done with the site first, but I do like this little, fun, celebratory feature.

§ This week I finished reading The Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler and really enjoyed it (if one can “enjoy” an often grim post-apocalyptic tale while wondering if that’s actually where we’re all headed). Purely because of the title I’d feared the story was going to be overtly analogical or allegorical, or preachy about a particular societal or political way of living or viewing the world, all of which I’ve found a little tedious in a few other science fiction books. But, no, it was just a good, thoughtful read that I enjoyed.

§ The fourth and final season of Succession finished this week and I liked the final episode a lot. It must be extra hard to come up with endings that are surprising and satisfying but this managed it. Up there with the best endings, like The Americans. Loved it. So many interesting characters, great performances, and wonderful lines. There aren’t many shows about which I want to read lots of people discussing every little thing, but there are so many details to analyse and interpret.

And the fourth and final season of Barry also went out this week. Good, but I didn’t enjoy this season as much as the previous. It’s always been quite an uneven series, in terms of the comedy/drama balance, and how absurd vs realistic it is, and it felt like there was more unevenness this time around. I think what I’d really have liked to watch is a drama about Sally Reed (played by Sarah Goldberg who was excellent) and Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler), without any of the shooting and killing.

We watched the first season of Poker Face and, if you remember my dislike of flashbacks, you won’t be surprised to learn that I found the usual episode structure – some characters do a murder in the first 15 or so minutes, then we flash back to see revealed that Natasha Lyonne’s Charlie Cale was actually around at the time – annoying. Cale spends the rest of each episode working out who did the murder and how, something we the viewers already know. I felt zero suspense and was just waiting for her to figure it out: “Come on!” Which is a shame because it’s a nice idea, there are lots of great characters and guest stars, and it’s all very well done, but the episode structure is generally not for me. But there were a couple of chronological episodes which were much more betterer and interesting.

Finally, I watched the third season of I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson which continued to be funny. I’m not sure if it was as funny as the previous two, or if I only remember the funniest sketches from the earlier ones. I love how they not only go on far, far too long but take such an expected turn too. The Eggman Game sketch was one of my favourites:

Congrats big boy

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