Thursday, March 25, 2010

Follow Bean Sprouts on Twitter

Did you know that Bean Sprouts has a Twitter feed? The name is beansproutsblog and you can become a follower by clicking the link!

If you haven't dipped your toe into the Twitter pool yet, you should know that it is a website that does one very limited thing - it allows you to post a short (140 characters) message which will be sent to everyone who has chosen to "follow" you.

So what use is that? You can use it to keep your family and friends up to date with what you are doing. A typical tweet of this kind might read:
Drinking coffee, listening to Miles Davis and trying to install anti-virus on dad's laptop

Or you can use it to draw people's attention to stuff on the web, such as:
I just laughed at a funny picture at

You can even use them to organise or participate in a flash mob.

I use the beansproutsblog Twitter feed to tell followers when I update the blog, to pass along things that interested me that I didn't want to blog about, and to re-tweet messages I think would interest my followers.

Try it. What's the worst thing that can happen? It's free, and if you don't like it you can always unsubscribe.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring is going to be a stunner

According to a news item on the BBC, the consolation prize for our long hard winter is going to be a stunning spring.

Matthew Oates, the National Trust's conservation advisor, says
One of the problems with early, rushed springs is the flowers and butterflies then get clobbered by foul and abusive [spring] weather

By contrast a late spring following a cold winter means the animals have all had a proper hibernation, and plants emerge over a longer period in successive waves. I hope he's right. I've had about as much manky weather as I can stand.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quilts at the V&A

I'd love to go and see the exhibition Quilts 1700-2010 at the Victoria and Albert museum in London. It's on until July 4th, maybe I'll be able to get down there some time before then.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Arty Crafty Day

I had a wonderful day with my sister Lindsey. We spent the whole day in my garage/studio with all the doors flung open and the spring sunlight streaming through. We drank gallons of teas and listened to CDs whilst chatting, laughing and making arty crafty stuff.

Lindsey made a dreamcatcher, a couple of necklaces and several pairs of earrings. I wasn't as prolific, I only made four inchies, but I turned a few more pre-made inchies into brooches.

I like making inchies, and I think the finished items are very appealing, but I'm always at a loss of what to do with them. Lindsey and I came up with a few ideas for making them into wearable/usable items and now I am full of inspiration to try some of these ideas out and see if people might want to buy them.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Equinox

Today is the spring equinox (unless you live in the southern hemisphere in which case it is the autumn equinox). For the last six months the nights have been longer than the days. But today day and night hang in perfect balance. From now onwards the days will be longer than the nights, and will continue to grow longer and longer until the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.

Yesterday I saw my first open daffodils growing in the ground (not cut daffodils in a florist or pot-grown from the garden centre), and today the narcissus in my own garden have opened. I have been watching the new lambs in the fields near my house. Ground elder and cleavers are starting to cover the bare ground wherever gardeners are not actively rooting them out. And last night I found a small insect inside the house. The world seems to be coming back to life.

Ed has been in France on business for the last week but he got home last night. My dad has been staying with me following a serious illness but he is much recovered. Even the moon is in its waxing phase and I feel full of hopefulness.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St Patrick's Day

Because my dad is staying with me, I've been listening to the Irish radio channel RTE all day so there is no way I could fail to notice today is St Patrick's Day. We're going to have Irish sausages and champ for dinner tonight, washed down with Guinness.


Boil about 4lb potatoes until cooked. Simmer a couple of bunches of chopped spring onions in 1/2 pint of milk for a few minutes. Mash the potatoes and add the hot milk, spring onions, salt and pepper and a couple of ounces of butter. Mix well. Serve with a generous knob of butter on top.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Starting to feel like spring

I've been feeling depressed again since around Christmas. Don't get me wrong, Christmas was great and I had a lovely time. But I ran out of my dried frog pills (antidepressant tablets) and I thought "I don't really need them anymore. I have been feeling fine". Big mistake. I got back on them about a month ago and I am starting to perk up. It's really grim to feel like you are in a black pit the whole time and nothing, absolutely nothing at all gives you the least little bit of joy at all.

This winter hasn't helped. It has been extraordinarily bleak and long. It's not just my perception; statistically this has been the hardest UK winter in my lifetime. We are only a week away from the spring equinox but there are scarcely any signs of spring at all. A few crocuses and snowdrops are starting to bloom, and I saw some lambs this morning whilst I was walking the dog. But no daffodils are flowering in my area yet and the trees are not in bud. The forsythia and ribes are not out. It feels like early February, not mid-March.

But I got loads of house and garden plants for Mothers' Day and Eleanor helped me re-plant all the hanging baskets with pansies, primroses and dwarf narcissi. I still have some plants left but I ran out of potting compost. I will get some more tomorrow on the way home from school and replant some of the containers. I also have some seeds I want to sow indoors.

It feels good to get my hands in dirt, in amongst roots and bulbs, and smell the green, vital, earthy scent. It is good to plant things - it always feels to me like a powerful act of faith. You can not plant things unless you have hope for the future. You have to expect that a frail stem with two small leaves is going to grow into a large and beautiful plant. Solipsists do not do gardening.