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It's been about two weeks since I last saw or heard the Barn Swallows. Now, normally when I write that it's the end of September with the nights getting a bit chilly.
But, it's still quite warm. Well, abnormally warm, actually. But not a chirp or a cheep to be heard.

Well, there you go. It's 30-something during the day and we're on yellow alert (lowest level) for heatwave, but the swallows have gone. Which means only one thing. It's now officially the beginning of Dark and Dismal Winter, which will last until April when they return.



That's it. I have no more work to do, and no more work I want to do. Back in July when loads of people went on their holidays, mid-Sepember seemed forever away.

Now it's here.

Break open the bubbly!
Break open the bubbly!

At the moment, I have only one thing planned. The car needs it's insides fiddled with and that's booked for Monday afternoon.


My inheritance

Those who know French things (or are French) will recognise the bottle as an alcohol-free bubbly made of sweet apple juice. Well, since making the association that my insides just don't tolerate alcohol, I've not had a drink in... what is it, ten or so years? I've not been counting. A lot of things mess with my stomach. I have "funny tummies" all the time. Could be a preservative, could be a pesticide, could be all sorts of things. As a cereal-eating linguini-loving person, I can at least say it's not lactose or gluten.

And, let's just take a moment to appreciate (and pee ourselves laughing) at the concept of a Glaswegian with zero tolerance for alcohol. I mean, really.

Now, did I inherit mom's ability with languages (French was her third)? Nope.
Did I inherit the musical talents of either of my parents? Nope.
Did I inherit mom's love of exploring and discovering new things? Not really.
Did I inherit her artistic ability? Nope.
How about her memory and ability to recall the words of a poem she read once some forty years earlier? Good grief, I can remember all sorts of complete bollocks but just don't ask me what I had for dinner two nights ago. Or three. Or...

What I appear to have inherited was her notoriously wonky digestion. Granted, it's quite a lot less wonky as I can cope with raspberries and my general avoidance of tomatoes is because I kind of don't like them that much.

Oh, and her crappy eyesight.

Oh, and all the attractive features of my father. Which is to say, none.

(and somewhere along the way, Boris Johnson's hair)

Gee, thanks.


Defrosting the fridge

The fridge has a "one star cold box". It works on the principle of keeping that box icy cold and the cold will sink and keep the rest of the insides cold.
Problem is, the cold box part is quite prone to icing up.

So I have to periodically defrost it. For that, I've let the fridge run low. There's only marge, butter, some cheese, some yohurts, and two bottles of milk in there.

But it's also 30°C outside, and probably around 20°C inside.

So I dug out the powered cooler. But, it needs a solid and meaty 12V supply. Where can I find such a thing?

I know, my lawn mower.

No, I'm not joking.

I managed to get the mower in the front door (it just fit) and cranked it in the living room. Once it was going, two long jump leads connected end to end to reach into the kitchen and...

...okay, that part I am joking. You could tell because the dinky alternator of a mower is nowhere near powerful enough to run a cooler.

But, I did take the battery from the mower, the charger, and wire it up to the cool box with the charger dumping over five amps into the battery and most of that running the cooler. That think behind the charger? That's the kettle. And the white thing on the left behind the sugar pack is the toaster!

Because it was warm, and a bit of gentle persuasion with my Lidl heat gun (at 60°C and from a distance, don't need to incinerate the fridge!) and it didn't take that long to sort out. Once the metalwork had warmed up to ambient, the ice melted away from it and fell off.

I ran the fridge empty until it got down to about 3½°C, then put the food back in. I think it was about 5°C in the cooler, which wasn't bad.

I don't tend to use the cooler much. You can hear it putting a load on my little car when it is plugged in, it's quite power hungry. As it happens, it's much simpler to buy a kilogram of whatever is the cheapest vegetable in the frozen section (invariably sliced carrots) and pop that on top.
One of these days I'm going to take it apart to add a switch so I can have it just run the internal fan (without the Peltier module) to distribute the cold air around the contents. Then, an eighty centime bag of carrot bits can help keep stuff cold for the journey home.



They were going around work asking the different teams (production, pick'n'pack, us...) who we reckon will be the winner of each of the first round matches. It's something the worker's committee is doing. I dunno, maybe the team that gets the most right will win a cupcake?

Happening right now as I write this is the opening match, France versus New Zealand. I expected most people to support France, the plonge crew certainly did, but the chart on the wall shows half of the teams thinking it'll be New Zealand. I'm inclined to agree, based mainly on - if I remember correctly - it's a bunch of big scary men doing the Haka before the match. Which is, let's face it, about the only interesting part, right?

When it comes to Italy/Namibia, everybody except Production A thinks Italy.

The next match is Ireland/Romania, and again Production A is the dissenting voice with Romania. I'm wondering if there are Namibians and Romanians in that team, because...

The next dissenting voice is Plonge, who in the Australia/Georgia match picked Georgia. Well, actually the guy from Georgia picked Georgia, and the rest of us having no idea whether or not Australia's team is good, went along with it.

The England/Argentina match is fairly evenly split as to who might win, as is the Japan/Chili match.

When it came to South Africa/Scotland, I piped up "Scotland". Somebody said "But their team is bad", to which I replied, "I'm Scottish". At which point Plonge gave it's vote for Scotland (and please, guys, don't suck...). My interest in rugby is... non-existant, so I don't know what teams are or are not good. I mean, I look at England/Argentina and think "Oh my god", then I remember that's football not rugby.
Actually, about half the teams supported Scotland. So, thanks. ☺ 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 👍🏼

Finally, Wales versus Fiji. Wait, what? I don't know what I find more surprising. That Fiji has a world class rugby team, or that in a line-up of sixteen countries three of them are British.


Now I'm going to crawl into bed and watch an episode of One Piece on Netflix. No idea what it's about. I just know it's a fantastically popular manga with like a billion volumes. Well, actually a little over a hundred (which puts it in 22nd place as to the longest running mangas). And if each volume is about seven euros apiece...

Anyway, no idea what to expect. So, the three episode rule applies.

I recently watched "The Chosen" (Netflix). A kind of a weird Mexican series about a boy with "powers". The ending was peculiar, but I wasn't that bothered because the characterisations were very well done, it was well shot, and at the beginning it really gave some strong "Stand by me" vibes. It's not a long series, so might be worth a binge watch if you're looking for something unusual?
Speaking of unusual, don't play with your settings when you see the widescreen parts at the beginning appearing letterboxed. This production has taken the stylistic choice of not only filming it on actual film (you can tell, there's a softness to the visuals), but it's also mostly presented in 4:3 aspect. Which in today's world seems quite quaintly old-fashioned. Which, for a series set sometime in the '90s, is probably exactly what they were going for.



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David Pilling, 9th September 2023, 12:57
I represent big "freezer block"/gel pack/cool block a non-ESG organisation out to destroy the world as we know it. Anyway they're one solution to keep the picnic cold, bring back frozen food from the shops. 
On TV when anyone hurts themselves, frozen peas are always brought forward. 
I supported Scotland in the 1978 world cup (cos England didna qualify). Never again. Sounds like in Plonge you're all too nice. Support whoever is playing against the old enemy. 
Supporting England is also a fools mission, they'll almost certainly lose. 
Supporting anyone is unwise, because nothing is simple anymore, look at Spain in the Women's World Cup, a brief moment of unrestrained joy when they won (beating England), nope, they'll be going through the courts for the next 10 years, careers ruined etc etc. 
John, 9th September 2023, 18:35
I was reading that someone known as "Gazza" couldn't resist kissing whichever prince it is who's next for king - admittedly not on the lips - in some commercial venue or other. 
That sounds to be something for a disciplinary hearing, I imagine. Bit like the Spanish problem? 
One has to be so careful these days!
Rick, 10th September 2023, 08:54
Yes, it's a shame that all the world is talking about a kiss rather than the fact that ALL of the women there won the tournament. 
But, on the other hand, the bloke grabbed her head and smooched her right on the lips. Don't you think that's a little more than "unrestrained joy"? 
Certainly the reactions of everybody else suggest that there's a problem that needs to be fixed. 
And, somewhere in the background, the now non-event of having won a trophy... 
Rick, 10th September 2023, 08:59
"One has to be so careful these days!
Can't be THAT hard to just treat people with respect, can it? 
You know, don't kiss random people you're not related to or in a relationship with; no bottom pinching; just generally no touching random people in ways that could be seen as "intimate" (note for clarification - as perceived by the recipient, not the giver). 
Not THAT hard, surely? 
Rick, 10th September 2023, 09:05
Well, England beat Australia in the opening match 27 to 10... 
...but not quite as dramatic a floor wiping as Ireland's eighty-freaking-two to Romania's eight. 
(note: I have no idea how rugby is scored, but one side having *ten times* the other seems to me like a pretty decisive victory) 
David Pilling, 10th September 2023, 13:59
Vaguely in the 70s there was a lot of kissing in (men's heterosexual) football, look at the Giles cartoons of the day - older people disapproved. Two football people kiss after a great victory, who cares, do you want them to shake hands like in the 1901 cup final. Cancel me now. 
I get the current interpretation of events, he should not have done it, he's a creepy old guy. Quite right. 
Changing mores - cancelled again - just common decency. Well yes, but they go out break one anothers legs. Dive. Intimidate one another. 
I really meant why not celebrate the win, and move on, because the next set of qualifiers starts on Monday morning and there's money to make. But nothing can be contentless now, there has to be a lesson to learn. Its all about educating people. 
By now we've moved on from Me Too, to there was trouble in the management anyway, its a great victory why not steal it from the architects. 
I also wish they'd celebrated 1966 and moved on, I would not remember it if the TV didn't mention it every week. 

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