Skip to main content

w/e 2023-09-03

Most of the week I was home alone while Mary walks in the Pyrenees and the middle of it wasn’t great, especially for my head.

A migraine that was hard to shake and then returned briefly the next day. Then a general persistent headache. And in-between I cracked my head on the edge of a stupidly low-hanging lamp shade at the optician’s, while I waited for them to clean and also, it eventually turned out, break my glasses. They did find some not-quite-right replacement arms while they source correct replacements. And they did call the following day to check I was OK, which I’ll take for genuine concern rather than any fear I’d be pursuing legal action over my bloodied bonce.

A photo in a field of short grass with two red tractors, decades old. Both are stationary. One is towing an old red hay baler, and the other has a contraption with big spiked wheel things for spreading the hay around.

But the week started and ended more brightly! On Monday I helped R, a local farmer, in his 80s, gather up hay bales in a neighbouring field, alongside a couple of his relatives and our neighbour. As with previous years, a pleasant, tiring, satisfying activity but not one I’d want to do every day. Perhaps the most fun part was riding down through the village in the back of his pick-up truck. Twice! I’ve never ridden in the bed of a truck before! So excitingly illicit, and it felt like being something between a teenage carnival queen on a float, and an AK-47-toting soldier/rebel/etc. Yes, definitely two comparable and appropriate similes there.

A photo of a wheelbarrow piled very high with long, dead grass and weeds

And then yesterday, after several days that were so cold and damp and grey that I nearly put the heating on in August, the weather turned beautiful. Blue skies, exactly the right sunny temperature, and a very gentle breeze. I collected the last of our long grass cuttings in the morning, 14 dense, teetering wheelbarrows-full, disturbing frogs and toads and finding five green walnuts hidden by squirrels. The varmints aren’t getting those back.

Later, while in the bathroom, I saw a buzzard fly past the window, only a few meters away. Which was nice.

A photo looking over a grassy hill, and over low a wire fence, into a valley in which the tops of trees are visible through the mist. The sun is rising above the mist into a sky streaked with wispy clouds.
Sunday morning

§ Some success with home audio recently. I know, exciting!

For a couple of months I was unable to listen to NTS because its stream kept cutting out after about 4½ minutes. It was oddly consistent and consistently odd. Last week, via the station’s Discord, I heard about a temporary solution: turn off Apple Private Relay. It works! I’ve no idea what the problem is, and why it hasn’t affected any other streaming I’ve tried. It’s not a long-term solution, but at least I can start the weekdays with the gentle Early Bird shows again.

Also a couple of months back – which initially made me think it caused the above problem – I got a couple of Sonos Era 100 speakers for different rooms. I only use them to play music from my phone or iPad via Apple Airplay, not using the Sonos app. But most of the time the speakers never showed up as available unless I turned them off and on again at the wall. An older Sonos One SL, and the TV’s Roku Streaming Stick, were always available. It was puzzling enough that I eventually tried Sonos’s webchat, without high hopes.

The guy on there was very good, helped by their software’s easy ability to send diagnostic info direct to the support system. After an hour of us trying things he said I should speak to someone on the phone. So a few days later I called up and had a pleasant time helping him troubleshoot.

Both times it was so nice to be treated like a competent grown-up, and to talk to people who obviously knew what they were doing. So unlike dealing with, say, Three’s customer support. As a result of that, although only after the call, I worked out how to turn off the 5GHz wi-fi network on our router and… ta da! the speakers always appear in the list. It seems the new speakers were often connecting to the 5GHz network, which my devices weren’t on…? or something?

Anyway, you can wake up now. I can now easily stream NTS direct to one or more speakers as nature intended.

§ We/I watched four films this week:

  • Heat (Michael Mann, 1995). I hadn’t seen it since it came out and it’s still good. I didn’t feel much but it’s slickly good.
  • La Haine (Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995). I’d never seen it before so it was good to cross that one off. Not a super gripping plot or anything but good, and Vincent Cassel was excellent.
  • Happening (L’Événement) (Audrey Diwan, 2021). Good, if grim, like all the other young-woman-gets-pregnant-and-struggles-to-get-an-abortion movies.
  • How to Blow Up a Pipeline (Daniel Goldhaber, 2022). I didn’t quite manage to see this at the cinema on a trip to London earlier in the year so pleased it popped up on Netflix. Another good film! I was wary because it could have been really clunky and preachy but it felt like they’d really tried to reduce the amount of talking, which works.

I also watched the wordless 3 Years Alone In The Forest Building A Log Cabin on YouTube, which I could have sworn was via Kottke, but now I don’t think it was. There’s a lot of detail left off-screen (like, how he funded it, how much actual time it took, etc.) but nevertheless it’s very impressive to see both the cabin and him change. Ideal watching for the I’m-almost-free-of-migraine phase of the week.

§ I finished reading Mark Fisher’s book of essays, Ghosts of My Life this week but I have a whole other post of bits I wanted to save from that, so I’ll say no more for now.

§ Looks like we have some summer this week. Hope you get to enjoy it.

Mention this post

If you’ve mentioned this post somewhere, enter the URL here to let me know: