Hello to anyone coming here from this interview with me in People And Blogs. Please lower any expectations.
§ Yesterday I was searching the NTS archives, wondering if there was anyone who listed something like “indie pop” as a genre they played. I love NTS’s variety, and love that I rarely hear music I know, but it’d also be nice to occasionally enjoy the warm bath of familiarity.
Then this morning, before making breakfast, I tuned in and happened to be near the start of what I think was a repeat of In Focus: Sarah Records. That’s Noel Edmonds levels of manifesting. I enjoy that the show is in the category The Scene That Celebrates Itself, while also pursing my lips that I wouldn’t file (m)any of these as Shoegaze. Tsk.
§ This week I did the 30-mile round journey to Abergavenny in the Renault Zoe, the furthest I ever drive (so far).
Accelerating from 40mph to 60mph was almost unnoticeable, given the smoothness, quiet, and lack of gears. Quite strange. In the Panda I’m very aware of increasing speed and revs, and more than happy to putter along at 50mph on that curvy 60mph-limit road if there’s no one behind me itching to overtake at 80mph or so. But I had to pay more attention that I wasn’t approaching the speed limit in this electric car. I even tried a modern contraption called the “cruise control” which, along with other features like automatic windscreen wipers, made me feel like I was driving in the distant future, like the early 21st century! Crazy.
I was in Abergavenny for the dentist, where a hygienist scraped and polished at my teeth. While she did this I thought about all the TikToks I’ve watched of dirty swimming pools being cleaned, filthy cars being valeted, paving being pressure washed, dilapidated houses being renovated, mucky rugs being shampooed, etc.
§ There are three mousetraps in our loft and the last three times I went up to check on them, the peanut butter had vanished from each, but none of them had been tripped. Something has a very, very delicate touch when it comes to eating. But it only has to make one mistake, just one. I can wait.
§ I’ve usually started every day by grinding about 60g of coffee using a hand grinder. “A sense of achievement that you get when you grind coffee beans yourself is unique,” the website says, which I guess is true, but it’s also quite tiring and boring, the more so the finer you want your coffee ground.
So we decided to treat ourselves to an electric grinder. After watching quite a few videos, not all by James Hoffmann, we settled on a Baratza Encore ESP. It’s not the newest and coolest grinder but lots of people have found its predecessor (the non-“ESP” Encore) reliable over years of use, its parts are replaceable and available, and Baratza’s customer support is apparently great. And from the YouTubes it sounds like you’d have to spend around twice as much to get much better, and I kind of doubt our palates would even notice that.
Aside from one occasion when I forgot to put back the thing to catch the grinds, it’s working fine. Simple, quick enough, grinds more than fine enough. That’s the review.
§ Having previously outlined how much I was doing to practise learning German, I feel obliged to say that I’ve been finding it hard to do any over recent weeks, after purposely easing up over Christmas and New Year. I can barely get round to the couple of minutes a day it takes to maintain my stupid bloody Duolingo streak, never mind anything more useful.
There are no incentives for learning a language other than occasional desires in my head so once I lose momentum it’s hard to get up to gear again on what seems kind of pointless.
The only possible lesson here is to never ease up on any over-ambitious plan or schedule, or I will fail.
On the plus side, since that last post, I have come across the Easy German YouTube channel which is a lovely collection for this kind of thing.
On the other hand, after a couple of episodes it seemed a bit daft and too uneven, and I’d have happily stopped watching. The acting was patchy (not bad but occasionally too different in terms of style and tone) and too many things weren’t very convincing, especially the period scenes.
And then towards the end of the sixth episode I realised it wasn’t about to end and there were actually two more to go, and I was annoyed that it wasn’t over.
But, given how often endings can be disappointing, they pulled things together well and the whole thing was better than its worst parts indicated.
§ That’s all. After interminable rain, we currently have blue skies and the sun is warming the fluffy white sheep in the field over the road.