Tag Archives: Update


This is probably the 10th ‘apologies, I’ve been too busy to post’ post in the 11 year history of this blog. I’ll try to be better; gradually finding an equilibrium between the various things I do.

Life is awesome: kids great, work exciting, gradually getting the running going again, and today I’m going to get a dirty burger for lunch. Where’s the bad?

In the meantime, go read my colleague Nikhol’s blog about food and get hungry in anticipation of Friday lunchtime and the bank holiday weekend.

Good to be back. More coherent posts to follow.

Steeled for 2012

2012 AustraliaCrikey, four months and a whole new year before Division6 got an update; I can only apologize; it’s genuinely been so busy, between work, visiting family, the arrival of a new nephew and a dozen, dozen other exciting, important things, that I’ve struggled to find the time – and on those occasions when I had the time, I struggled with the motivation. I do have a list of posts planned that’ll see a lot of new stuff on here in the weeks ahead…!

All continues well in our worlds; after a slightly virus-laden Christmas, we all recovered and have had some wonderful times with friends and family, including our second (possibly third) night away from Em on NYE (thanks parents!) and much more. Amanda made our house a Christmas paradise this season and – whilst its approaching time that it all comes down – it is with the child-like sadness that I note the passing of a delightful holiday season.

A few resolutions for 2012, doubtless which will have an impact on my posting here.

  1. Regain healthy eating and exercise routine. It’s been six months since I last went on a run and I’ve ignored my diet for about 15 months. It’s had an adverse effect on my weight, fitness, and how I feel in general. I’ve reinstated my draconian calorie counting (although and working my way into the draconian control over my food intake) and started the 100 push-ups programme again. When I get back down to a 32″ waist, I’m getting rid of the ‘fat jeans’ as Amanda calls them, and planning on buying a new suit in the summer. Expect more soup reviews…
  2. No procrastination! Over Christmas I sorted out filing dating back 9 months, responded to emails from the same period, finished tasks around the house that dated back an age and more. This’ll be a tough one to keep, but hopefully ‘action now’ is a motto that will serve me well.
  3. See our friends more. We’ve been a bit rubbish about this in the last year as we adapted to parenthood and country living, but we will make this change!

That’s it – a short but substantial list of resolutions. I know most NY resolutions falter but hopefully the fact that I’ll be sharing my progress on some of these fronts at least on Facebook and here will add to my motivation! Certainly I’ve had enough of feeling slightly tubby, so will be determinedly fighting that one!!

Photo via Tim Phillips on Flickr.

One year of country life

Dawn over Basingstoke Common

A year ago today, we packed up our bags and left the Big Smoke. I won’t deny that I had some anxiety about it; leaving friends and (my) family, introducing a 2.5 hour a day commute, having to drive everywhere and more, and with Emily (then merely "Hippo") on the way, it was a fairly hectic experience.

Looking back on the first year of this new life, I have absolutely no regrets. I’ve had barbecues from Spring through Autumn, played with my daughter on our big lawn, grown and eaten veg straight off the plants and fruit off the trees, run and cycled through village after village, made local friends via the NCT, discovered the joy of jumble, DIY and more, and am enormously enjoying the lifestyle. We’ve even found good local Indian and Chinese takeaway restaurants and discovered Papa Johns.

It’s been a fantastic first year. I still miss my friends but many of them are being good enough to visit with some regularity and I’m getting better at heading up for London nights out here and there.

Here’s to what comes next.

Multi-tasking – limited by my brain

Day 127: Multi-taskingI’m in a period of particularly intense focus at work at the moment and that’s not leaving me a lot of spare bandwidth for blogging. Life continues merrily. Despite the first signs of autumn gathering gloomily (mist over the common a few mornings ago), we’ve still got our annual South Coast seaside celebration to look forward to, so sunshine is still firmly on the agenda.

Normal service will resume in about a week and a half. In the meantime, my thoughts may be marginally more half baked than usual – apologies!


We were at a lovely wedding a couple of weekends ago  – the one wedding we’ve been able to get to this year – of a pair of close friends of mine from University. We took the opportunity to catch up with many friends across our friendship group. People lamented that we hadn’t managed to schedule visits for a number of them and – in all honesty, this is principally our bad and Amanda and I are going to sort it.

There is, however, a busy-ness that comes with the early days of parenthood (who knows if it ever fades? I don’t think it will for a few years) that people without children don’t always seem to fully understand – or at least, sympathise with. The obligations (and indeed, desire for) time with close family, the developmental activities you schedule for the little one, and the sheer, relentless routine of feeding, playing and tidying up the aforementioned play and feeding entails. We’ve been good about making sure that we’re the kind of parents that are happy to take Emily out of the house – and even travel to an extent- but we do try to apply consideration to how disruptive one thing or another is to her.

This notwithstanding; diary inspection begins and we’ll start plotting out some fun visits for the weeks and months ahead. Currently booking in dates in late September…!!

The first fruit*

These aren't our plums. But they are impressive.After the first ripe tomato depressingly proved unsuitable for consumption, I had held out little hope for our Victoria plum tree. Most people who know about such things had reassured us that the first year was not one in which we should expect fruit, and despite the presence of the 20 or so plums on the tree I had assumed that ants, birds or something else would get them before we would.

I was absolutely wrong. Last night’s stiff wind blew the first ripe plum from its branches and I plucked a neighbouring one as well. On cutting, I had to trim around some slightly overripe flesh but the remainder – absolutely delicious. Amazing. Lush, even. Mega-lush.

This is what its all about.

In other garden updates, there’s continued cropping on the strawberry plant, the blueberries are ripening fast and the yellow courgettes are sprouting in force.

* technically the cucumber was the first fruit, and we have had strawberries too, but the ‘first tree fruit’ just didn’t feel right as a headline

Diet update

Big plate small portionTwo weeks in and I’m feeling considerably better already. Still a way to go but some marginal progress is in evidence, I’m sleeping better and my appetite has (somewhat) shrunk). My willpower is also beginning to improve. If I keep going at current rates, I’ll be back to my wedding weight in three months or so. Which is a depressingly long time to get back to where you were, but progress is progress!

Produce update

potatoesThe garden keeps on giving; more potatoes have come up – they’ve been OK – I think I’m perhaps not a massive fan of this particular varietal, but I haven’t tried them chipped or roasted yet. I need to research how to keep seed potatoes fresh for a year as I’m hoping that the Lapland potatoes prove as delicious when grown in the ground here as they were in Finland.

The strawberry plant gives of itself daily – more sweet tiny strawberries keep materialising. The courgettes are starting to come in thick and fast, although cucumber production seems to have slowed – we might need to add a bit more feed.

I’ve finally got around to bug spraying the plum tree, which seemed to be suffering some kin of minor infestation. Will have to see how it pans out. The two remaining apples on our apple tree are perfectly formed. Quite exciting.

The tomatoes are ripening fast – there seem to be a lot of them. Emily’s slight allergic reactions to both tomatoes and potatoes has taken some of the fun out of these, but Amanda and I will enjoy them!!

How does your garden grow?

cucumberThe garden is doing really well – we’ve eaten our first two cucumbers out of the greenhouse (delicious- Emily especially thought so) and baby peppers and courgettes are beginning to make an appearance. The cucumbers are wonderful – big, juicy, fresh, softer than commercial varieties and sweeter, too.

The apple tree has shed most of its fruit – unable to sustain them, presumably, as it continues to bed in – but that’s for the best, I hope. The tomatoes are yet to fruit but are flowering with wild abandon. The coriander has taken an unexpected journey skyward.

The potato plants are HUGE.

Looking forward to the harvest this year :-).

Another garden update

The garden’s doing well – a quick produce update:

  • All our Lapland potatoes have sprouted and will get buried under another layer of soil and manure compost this week
  • Our cucumber plants are flowering!
  • We’ve germinated a couple of yellow courgette plants, which will go in soon
  • Our chilli seeds aren’t coming up yet, but we’re still vaguely hopeful
  • We’ve planted aubergine in the greenhouse, and strawberries in the strawberry pot – both shop bought rather than from seed
  • Carrot seeds have gone in the ground – no joy as yet
  • We’ve relocated the rhubarb as it was too shaded where it was. It’s struggling to thrive.
  • The other courgette plant is coming along
  • The potatoes in the planter are growing like crazy!
  • The tomatoes are getting tall, but no flowers as yet
  • Tonnes of nascent blueberries, apples and plums on those trees
  • The olive tree is growing but not fruiting as yet

We’ve got another batch of seeds that need to go in and I have to patch and plant some new grass to help the garden recover from the Fiskars session, but on the whole its really all coming together nicely.