You can’t go wrong just planting seeds, can you?

To celebrate either Jesus’ birthday or my own, the Short Aunty and family bought me some exciting gardening stuff.

This morning I planted the first of my 850 seeds for some leafy salad thing. Supposedly, in just three weeks it will be ready for my sandwiches – potentially saving my 50p a week on buying lettuce. I checked the packet very carefully and you can plant in February. You can even harvest in February if you plant right at the beginning of the month, but it started snowing, so I thought I’d wait a few weeks.

So today was the day.

Now, after having seemingly thousands of seedlings last year on every available surface, I decided the best option was only to plant a few seeds at a time. After all, imagine if they actually grew and I had 850 lettuces? I’m not sure you can freeze lettuce.

Rummaging around in the shed I came across a packet of onions. Googling the planting of onions I learnt that you’re supposed to use fresh seeds. Seeing as there was nothing to lose and you can’t just put seeds in the bin, I planted them as well.

As for actual plants in my little house. The chilli plant that I sowed in December (I’m sure chilli plants aren’t meant to be sown in December) is growing marvelously. By this I mean it isn’t dead. I got this particular seed from a Mexican restaurant in London, not from my dinner, but in a small packet post-dinner alongside a mint.

The supermarket parsley isn’t dead either, or at least not all of it is dead. I know that with it being a herb you’re supposed to use it in food. I do on occasion. But there’s so little of it I’m afraid it won’t survive me eating its leaves.

The coriander was less successful.

My question is, what would have the best chance of success with my eager but unrefined gardening techniques?

On why cleaning one’s shoes is a bad idea

Sometimes you feel like doing something really good, like polishing your shoes. You get the shoe polish out the cupboard and find that when you bought your last pair of shoes from a real shoe shop, you also picked up a bottle of some spray-on ‘I clean anything’ magic lotion.

The first mistake is that you’re in sixth form, still at school, and although you don’t have lessons for the first two periods, and hence had a lie in, you do have lessons later on.

The second mistake is to throw every shoe you own into a box, carry them all downstairs into the smallest room in the house—the utility room—and proceed to spray on the cleaner.

Of course you don’t realise that you’ve made a mistake until every shoe shines. You stand up and try to breathe, but find you can’t.

In fact, the air is sticky. You wheeze your way into the kitchen, trying to breathe through your nose to see if that will help, and grab the back-door key.

You spend the next ten minutes stood in the garden. You drink large volumes of water, open every window and make a squeaky phone call to your mother to explain you’ve accidentally poisoned yourself with shoe polish. You text your friend who is already at school—speaking hurts—to say you’ll be late.

And you never, never do it again.

A very small post.

Posted on 1min

This is going to be a very small post, mostly because I’m writing it on a very small screen.

Today I shall move house. As you can imagine, the hovel looks chaotic. I have so much stuff! Although apparently relatively few clothes. The bags of books to clothes ratio currently stands at 10:1.

What happens regarding the internet remains a mystery. It may, or may not, be awhile…

Hunting spiders, wearing glasses and feeling scared

As I write this I am wearing glasses. I haven’t worn glasses since I was fourteen, so they’re taking a little bit of getting used to.

As glasses go, they have the weakest lenses they possibly could without actually having no lenses. This means I can see everything just fine, except during that moment of adjustment when my brain has to catch up with my eyes. It leaves a conundrum. I’m sat in the living room talking to my family, but they’re watching TV and I am not watching TV. To avoid watching TV I’m staring at a much smaller closer screen, so I’m wearing my glasses.

It’s not that I’m rude. It’s that they’re watching one of these TV programmes where someone dies in the first few moments and then the rest of the programme is spent working out what happened. Sometimes, actually in my experience quite often, the clues come in the form of further dead bodies.

I don’t like being scared.

I really don’t like being scared.

I’ve never had a love of any TV programme that might give me nightmares.

In the middle of the scary TV programme there was a loud thud about our heads. My cousin, the Little Mermaid, ran downstairs in sobs, shaking, unable to articulate what it was that had terrified her. She leapt into her daddy’s lap and stayed there for some time.

The Short Aunty and I investigated. There was nothing unusual on first sight. Once the sobs and the shaking had calmed a little we learnt that we were hunting a terrifying monster in the form of a spider.

I have complete sympathy as I myself have an irrational fear of dead mice.

Finding a spider in a room of children’s toys is not the easy. I took my glasses off for the search. I only ought to wear them for looking at close screens. This leads to a certain conundrum. When you’re going between hunting spiders, reading on your tablet and talking with your family – during the adverts – how are you meant to manage whether your glasses are on or off.

We failed, but luckily my Uncle located the spider. Tired and with no end in sight of the murder investigation, just more adverts, I went to bed.

In the morning the Little Mermaid filled me in on who had, or hadn’t, been pushed out of a window and exactly who the culprits were.

Changing Clocks

Outside, in the half-dark that is early morning, I de-iced the car to take the Mother to work.* She helped, finding the de-icer and doing most of the work. I started the engine.

As I pulled out onto the main road, the Mother looked angrily at the dashboard.

“The clock hasn’t gone forward.” The tone of her voice made it clear she was accusing my car of somehow being faulty.

“He’s an old car.” I said, “Bertie doesn’t know he’s got the wrong time.”

She appeared distressed by this idea. Clearly her daughter was driving an inefficient car. She explained that her iPad doesn’t have to be told that the time needs changing. I explained that Bertie was more like the oven than an iPad, and just like the Father had to change the clock on the oven, I would have to change the clock on the dashboard.

“Or you could do it?”

“How?” Car maintenance and clock changing are not normally areas the Mother takes responsibility for.

“If you press the  ‘H’ button…” unfortunately, the Mother’s sight isn’t everything it used to be, “…the top button.”

And, with a single click of the ‘H’ button the time was corrected. Bertie has a simple clock. The numbers loop in one direction. There’s a button for hours and a button for minutes and you press them until the clock reads the right number.

It’s amazing how much of an impact technology is having on what is considered normal. The Mother needing to be told how to change a clock reminds me of the Grandmother not recognising the save button icon as a floppy-disc (she calls it the TV button). And whilst these little hiccups are sweet and make me smile, the frustration was palpable.

*Somehow I then managed to become sun-burnt by lunchtime.