Monday, February 28, 2011


We ate our first Salsify tonight. An interesting veg - not like anything else really. It's also called Oysterplant, but I didn't taste that. Slightly lemony, slightly peppery. Just different. Different in the 'you can do that again dear' sense.

Anyway 4.1K on the book so far today, and I want to try for a tiny bit more.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Not catching well

Well, another day, and another day's work. The book moves slowly toward an end, but I had to skip the fishing comp today. It appears that I didn't miss much as B caught one large wrasse. And that was it. Not a happy camper.

The sheep appear contented in field next door, unlike the dogs and cat last night. Very little sleep - just when I need a sharp brain...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Sheep-eel

Well, you have heard of a sheep-pig, haven't you?
On Flinders of course we do everything better.
But not, I will admit to the extent of herding sheep with eels. However, yesterday did involve both, and with the inevitability of this place, both at the same time. We asked a local sheep-farmer to 'mow' our paddocks as buying stock for them has just been off the financial horizon (it's not just the basic cost, it's care, and all the other bits). We'll get there, but we start with chooks. Anyway, I still think milk and cheese would be a boon, whereas mutton - well, I love it, but we really have more than enough fish, shellfish, wallaby, and right now poultry, in the freezer. But for fire reasons the paddocks should be short.
So yesterday the the first 15 arrived. The other rugby team will get here today. At the same time a friend came by with an eel in a clay crock for me. A live eel. It was put in a basin in the sink while Dave was out learning a little about sheep.
I came back to find the eel had (as eels will) decided to climb out of the bowl and and the sink and was determinedly heading for the sheep (well and the creek a hundred metres away on the other side of them.

But the day had been saved by the gallant eel-herding cat, Robin (AKA the wussy-pussy) who was practicing being an eye-cat and intimidating it from a safe distance and confined it to the kitchen floor corral.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pizza night

We had pizza at the school - a staff do, and as B works there from time to time, we cracked the nod. We took abalone and squid for toppings. You'd have thought it was something exotic. Anyway 3350 words today.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ok it's mega late again - and I have not done the 5k I wanted. 3210 - but I need some sleep - battled to write this morning as I still get up at 5-5.30 and need at least 5 hours sleep a night. Which was a bit under last night...
Today I cooked a huge beetroot - as big as a child's head, and that's about it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How to finally achieve status with your cat

Now, as we cat-staff know we are inferior and through feline eyes plainly feeble wussies too. After all we can't even catch our own mice. And while we are sometimes quite good at providing fish, we really are inadequate...

Only today our Duchess came out just as I was removing a large live rooster from a sack, en route to the chop. Rooster was quite a bit bigger than tortoise-shell kitty. I did in the two roosters and they did their Zombie Chicken bit. Duchy was... just happened to be wandering around. Rather close to me.

I could just about read her mind... that is One BIG birdy. And the staff must have caught it. Why did they only play with it for such a little bit?

Peter gave me a big heavy cleaver about two weeks ago. I had NO idea just how hard it was going to work. It makes defeeting (defeating?) very easy.

Anyway, besides Bill giving us some good bok choi - his snails cannot be at my plague proportions, my day has been writing. It's going OK. And now, after a meal of 'dirty rice' (chicken liver, bacon, chili, tomato, onion, bok choi, and... rice) and meatballs... it's back to work.

Oh. We are in Australia. The Earthquake was in New Zealand (for various people who seem to muddle the two ;-)). We are fine, and to our relief our friends there are fine too, but Christchurch's people are in our hearts and thought tonight.


Ok - so this may be the pattern for the next while - I worked very late and then had guilt that I was keeping B up and just went to bed. Life at the moment consists of writing, cooking supper and not a lot else.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

THE cricket match.

Last time the cricket was scheduled the weather was too 'ordinary' for the players to take to the field.

An hour before the start today, there was a wild squall that came through, with hard rain blowing almost horizontally. But the meat was all defrosted, and the beer was on hand, so it was decided to gather at the field and see what happened. And the wind blew steadily, with occasional harder gusts, but the rain stayed away, and there was even some weak sunshine at one point, and the game went ahead.

I should explain that it is a fiercely competitive match, Flinders Island town dwellers against the ones who live on the farms, or in outlying villages. It all started 8 years ago, when the Island had a fire that burned for 10 days, and it is a fundraiser for the Volunteer Fire Service. Despite the unwelcoming weather there was quite a good turnout, and everyone bought delicious lamb chops, sausages or saveloys to put on the slices of white bread. I am always stumped as to what to do with the chop bone, as I finish my bread, but today there was a really well behaved whippet who came to my rescue.

The play was fun to watch, with enough happening out on the field to keep even the noncricket lovers happy. All ages were playing, from junior school boys, to retired men, but everyone gave their all, some even risking their beer.

The player of the day got a prize, as did some of the others, to encourage them to be back next year, but the Country boys won handsdown, so I am sure the others will be back next year to avenge that.

There were raffles going, and at the end, all the left over lamb was auctioned off. It had all been donated by some of the farmers, but having already been frozen, it had to be eaten without refreezing. So I hope the firemen got somewhere close to the target they were expecting to raise, despite the weather.

There were many laughs and jokes all day, but there was a serious side to the gathering as well. At half time they handed out 'service pins' to the volunteers, who had completed 5,10 or 15 years with the service, so acknowledging them publicly for what they do for the community. Thanks given with a laugh, and a joke, but wholeheartedly meant.

(For those of you who were not reading the blog last January, or who do not remember every word we write, I am re-inserting the explanation of the rules!)

"All the batsmen batted for a set number of overs, and the whole team had to bowl a certain number of balls. Then the number of times they would have gone out were deducted from their run total. Fielders were strategically placed to protect some of the parked cars, but the game had to stop occasionally so that the ball could be retrieved from the bushes, and the rest of the fielding side could have a little sit down while they searched."

As a cricket lover I had a wonderful day, knowing more and more of the islanders I chatted a lot while watching the play, although I did wish at times for an instant replay feature as I missed some of the action while talking, I will happily be back next year.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

rain on my butchery.

Well, a day of wild wild weather. Torrential rain, howling wind... and more butchering in it. We had, thanks to B's kind friend, more chickens to deal with. I don't think I've ever had 9 chickens, 2 geese, and even a few leftover muttonbirds, a couple of wallaby, a little steak, and a little very precious bit of lamb in the freezer before! From the cholesterol POV I suppose I ought to be glad we're eating mostly fish, lean chicken (store bought chicken is actually very much fatter than anyone realises - the figures used by everyone for diets etc... are from the 60's... pre factory chickens.) Wallaby and of course shellfish (which is high cholestorol again, but not such bad cholesterol I believe). But there must be Scots sheep thief genes here... I miss lamb fat, crisp and... drool. My mum loved it, and lived into her 90's.

The book proceedeth. Not as fast as I'd like today, but a real difficult bit finally dealt with.

Ok so I forgot to post

Yesterday was a day of writing and turning 3 more young roosters into food as fast as possible. The first time we did this it took us 3 hours for 5 chickens... I did yesterday's alone (trying to get back to work in a hurry) 3 in 45 minutes. So practice does help. It also marked the day when I first got heated about something in Australian politics. The ALP seems to believe that multiculturalism is good thing for Australia. I believe that the Australian culture of tolerance, letting people have a go, stepping in to help them with learning a strange environment are good for Australia. That's a culture in itself, one that has served us, as new migrants, well. One I'd like to imitate and learn to do my turn. The trouble as I see it is that ALP grandees failed to look at what makes a migrant migrate. The answer in almost cases is that they are unhappy with the Socio-political system - or the products thereof (economic situations are a product of the Socio-political situation, not of geology or the weather. Those can help, but as potentially super - wealthy countries like Zimbabwe and Iran prove, aren't enough in themselves).

It makes no sense, whatsoever to run away from a failed (for the migrant) Socio-political system to one which you percieve as better (or producing better outcomes, because its socio-political system is better) and dragging the baggage of your old system along with you. It makes no sense for me having come from a culturally divided country, where racial discrimination is a norm, and where there are 11 official languages and precious little national unity or common ground, riven with crime and xenophobia, to come and try make a little South Africa here. Yes, until I die will remember good people and lovely places in South Africa. I'll miss those. But I am meeting and making good friends with people here, and learning from them. If they pick something up from me, great. But that isn't the point of the excercise. It's the other way around. I'm here in their country to learn from them. To integrate into the Island and thereby Tassie, and thereby Australia. To immigrate means de facto to accept changes. It's a lot easier if you embrace changes. If I wanted it just like 'ome - I would have stayed there. And if I wanted to rebuild into a historical 'home' - I should remember that history repeats for those who don't learn the first time.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hegel and the chicken...

There is something deeply philosophical about having your hand up a chicken's bum. Well, gut cavity anyway. No really. You should try this. Hegel I am sure reached many of his longer insights in this manner. (Hegelian philosophy may not be immortal, but the sentences (which can be a whole page long in the original German...) are close to eternal. Or at least very long.

My day (as you may gather) was interruped by a meaningful period of chicken introspection. Well, drawing and plucking. They asked me if I was able to do any arts and crafts things for the conference in Melbourne, music painting etc. - I said plucking and drawing... We were given two chickens (supposedly young roosters but one was a hen) that needed to go but the owners didn't want to kill themselves. I understand this, but quick clean killing is a part of being prepared to eat animals as far as I am concerned. So I did the deed, and wondered just what it is about my wife that makes headless zombie chickens chase her? I stand still, and they go elsewhere. She is persued by them. I just get to think about life and death and whether any other fantasy writers actually have any idea what goes into turning a chicken into dinner (or a sacrifice in some horror story) while carefully removing the inside bits without damaging the gut.

Anyway, we are getting better and faster. And young fowl are definitely easier.

I made our pita and 'roo (layer of greens, layer of tomato and fresh basil and olives, thin slices of grilled wallaby, and a healthy douse of salsa verde in a home made pita) for our tea. I really need to get a better recipe for those. And then I'd made trifle for dessert as we had some cake in the freezer and it was getting dessicated. It was yum, but such a rare treat that am now overdosed with cream.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Well, it's been a rather dull day for me, writing and more writing, hot and sticky and windy here. I dropped off Peter at the airport, puzzled and probably bored him with steam powered submarines and nitrates, and came back to treachery and magic and all-to-smart sheepdogs. A writer's life is a varied one... or at least the research is! Our dogs were very restless last night - the moon, the heat the humidity, and so I hope things are better tonight. The tomatos are ripening - used 4 in cooking tonight, and have a fridge-drawer full.
Otherwise: no adventures to report.
Barbs filled in at the school today, as the gardener/groundsman. Hot day for it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

how to extend your beef (or wallaby) mince

You can tell you're living on Flinders island when you stretch the mince in your meatballs with Abalone. When it's an odd day when someone does not drop in.
Anyway -5040 words onwards today with spriggans, muryans, and too clever for their own good sheepdogs.

good night!

Monday, February 14, 2011

I plainly sound a little like a sick sheep

Well, my day got underway at 4 am this morning, when I got up and put the rolls. I had them baked and ready and went down to the roadside to give them to Carole on her way past at 6.30. She must have been a little worried not to be late as she was already past - but no worries, two other friends were following. And at about seven they picked up the still hot rolls with a cheery 'Oh we just 'phoned B to tell you we were nearly there'. Then I knew I had trouble...

Barbs is a morning deep sleeper. I am a first thing at night deep sleeper, and wake quite easily in the morning. B does not (ergo I had left her asleep. She is best approached in the morning coffee and trepidation).

So as I am walking back down our 100 metre driveway - I hear B calling. "Dave, Dave they looking for the rolls!" in the the sort of voice that makes your average drill Sergeant Major look for a place to hide.

I call back "I've just given them to them."

Tch. You'd think after 30 years I'd have learned that if there is one worse thing than having your head ripped off (metaphorically as it were, one hopes) it is the head-ripper-to-be realising that actually they have no reason to rip your head off and all except for being woken up (without coffee) and getting a fright, neither of which it is easy to make into your fault... You see, when she went calling, assuming I was in the garden, instead of at the roadside she got an awful groaning from the garage. Presuming I had been up to some construction or something and hurt myself she ran over there...

Only to find it was merely one of our neighbour's sheep in the field next door. And she still couldn't find me.

I came back, boiled the kettle, made coffee and took it in with a nice fresh spicy bun.

All I got was the baleful eye and a cross grunt to my happy Valentine's day.

Heh. The path of virtue is much strewn with boulders :-).

Anyway, it appears that coffee helped because I seemed to have climbed out of trouble by about eight. We took all the wrasse out of the freezer and minced cat-fish. - We have cat food for 29 days. We're well stocked with dog roo, and very well stocked with dog cubes and rice... so we're sorted for beastie food for a while. Just as well, because barring a miricle I won't be doing much fishing for the next while. Looks like 3.5K on the book today. A lot to go...

Barbs worked this afternoon - plainly very hard, and is now so stiff she can barely move.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Oil lights and the bounty of others.

Hmm. Didn't get to post yesterday, as it was very late, and I ended up chatting to my brother instead. I was also a little down - I'd hoped for a short session of very productive fishing - having been invited up to North East River, and B having done very well out of the Aussie salmon last time. Result - a rather long day and not one fish. All the larder contributions - bar one little squid came from gifts. Worse they came from gifts from people I can't easily recipriocate to, which makes me feel bad. I've never been a good 'reciever' and it makes me feel guilty. We got a young roo, a load of veggies... And the truck's oil light came on after B drove up to drop some landcare people for the trip over to Roydon Island (they're spending a couple of weeks getting rid of exotics) - we REALLY don't need expensive problems and I was foreseeing these. It came on, went off when you revved. Oil was if anything overfull... suggesting oil pressure problems.

The weird thing is - today in the run up to Emita (had to go for Carole's farewell) no oil pressure light coming on. We were late, and B drove cautiously at first, and then faster. no light coming on. Still worrying... it's working, it come on when you start the vehicle and vanishes thereafter. Anyway - more gifts today - we got some Cape barren goose breasts and drumstick and thighs from the goose-shooters. These are a wonderful dark red meat and the flavour is just absolutely superb. And I ended with more wood - a heavy duty ply crate and another crate - I could build two new chook houses with the current scrap timber supply, which consdering I had none when we came to the island, is such a pleasure. I also have a fiendish sharpener and a Big EVUL Cleaver. Sort of thing that probably got banned by the Geneva convention, and might just go through your whole kitchen worktop if used in a bad temper.

Oh and apples, and spring onions... the summer harvest is plainly getting into gear.

And thus, onward. More tomatos out of the garden, will have to start preserving very soon, especially as people give us such beauties I can't resist (mine, esp the Gross lizzies, are not beautiful. But they're tomatoes).

I've got to get up at sparrows tomorrow to make last batch of rolls for Carole for padkos. And I still need to write another 400 words...
So we love you and leave you.

Friday, February 11, 2011

the book moves on

Well now, not a bad writing day, in all seeing as it didn't get going till quite late - went up to move Peter's bandsaw and find out the talley of our debts - which were quite modest, when you consider tha we have the bulk of our dry goods - and some things that will last us a great deal longer - probably for six months or more. Then we also had various drop ins, and B as usual, busy with everything from meals on wheels to their board games evening.
We had dutch oven (aka cast iron pot) baked chicken for supper - free range and tough but mighty tasty. Very unlike bought chicken.
The book moves on. I am starting to think of bits for it all the time - a sign that I will soon be horrible to live with - half in the book world.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

'tis a foine beastie...

Well, mostly writing today, with a short interlude to recieve some scavenged and normally thrown out plastic drums that will make great plant pots in the sort of 10 litre size, and to pop up to Peter to collect a load of MDF slabs and bits of ply that he'd picked up at a garage sale and used for packing. Very useful 'stuff'. Barbs and went up later to help him move his solar panels and a truly enormous metal cabinet. He has a little grey tractor - pre-war and elastic (well, steel. Real steel.) that he fitted with forks, a lifting arm and everything short of a pair of wings to. We had a lot of fun hauling things about with it... including entertainment when he had a load of batteries on the fork and almost no weight on the front wheels... turning corners is fun fun fun... It's a foine little beast. B wants one! I crunched her fingers with a metal door (not popular) so maybe I ought to be looking for one for her.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A farewell to swinging seats...

We got a 'the trevally are just about solid' at the wharf call this morning from S&B but alas - by the time we got there... they'd gone. We saw a coupe in the distance.

We've finally been relieved of the awful swinging seat. It kept blowing to destruction and had to be parked right in the way of the door to allow it survive.

Other than that -various visitors and my writer's group this afternoon, which was fun, but always reminds me how much I have to learn.

We had a delicious Tassie Lakeland trout (from Alan the Dentist) and salad from the garden for supper - besides the fight with lettuce going to seed, I remain amazed at how well we eat on very little. If food inflation is going to be a biggy... I guess we won't see a lot of bananas but it's not going to hurt as much as it does some people in the big city.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cutting boards and other stuff.

Besides the tools (and lathe and bench saw and sanderI still mourn) one of the other pieces of bad advice the movers gave us was that we had to leave all untreated timber. You don't, you just need to declare it. (Same with most of the tools - just garden tools are a real issue) So among the things I didn't have was my overstock of cutting-boards. I was horrified by the price of the polycarbonate rubbish here, and ended up with some cutting sheets - which help to seperate meat, fish veg etc, but are only moderately useful for protecting your table, and two miserable little boards. We picked up a meat-cutting one at Bill's garage sale, and now I have 3 more thanks to Peter's container and workshop clearance. They're ALL better than any owned before, so some things do improve. I've got a circular polycarbonate one - 2 inches thick (I've broken them before. This one won't break in a hurry). Anyway, the Salon is now very full of dry goods - from 20 litres of cooking oil, to 142Kg of dog food...

It was very odd not to have the garage full of bits - working tools, wire, nuts bolts, screws, nails, fittings. A pile of scrap timber, scavenged from various things... But I've been gathering things in. Slowly, ever so slowly, you start to feel you've got 'stuff' if you need it. It's a very comforting feeling. They say it takes twenty years to catch up from emigrating... well, I hope I can cut it down to ten.

Monday, February 7, 2011

We've got mould...

Well mold (or mould depending on your spelling) - for making dive weights. Peter's container is finally here, and we went and gave him a hand to start unpacking - and with it lead and weighbelt mould. I am so glad we were able to borrow a belt from AJ for James to use, as James has already left! Getting anything to the island is a circus (and the clowns are not funny). Still it has been rather like Christmas, helping unpack, getting our oats, flour, rice and best of all, Polenta. It's bizarre that mielie meel (corn meal AKA polenta) is only available in little 300 gram sachets at a wicked price here. As we have porrige every morning (usually oats) it's a nice change. We now have 10Kg - by Finnegan's Wake standards (where M'fanjane used to order 'i-eighty' (80kgs) about once a month) about 3 days worth - probably last us a year. Freezer space is limited, but I might try putting 5kg in there. Anyway, some serious re-organisation is called for - wetsuits (I have yet another - almost pristine that Peter found at a garage sale, an a BC. Now an Octo, and I am rigged), dive gear, fishing gear, dry-goods and tools are starting to overwhelm me for lack of organising - anyway - when this book is done and I must do some serious organising. If real life lets me have long enough...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

fish leather

Well, it was a day that started with 4 'roo (wallaby) - fortunately dead, from our wallaby shooter. So today has been rather taken up with butchery. I really really need more practice, as I am distressingly slow. Anyway we have dog tucker!

I made some rather tasty little patties for supper tonight - a minced a large leatherjacket and an abalone, the usual egg and breadcrumbs, and lots of fresh herbs, red onion, chili paste, and some ginger paste, light soy and pepper. They were good, very meaty and spicy - but what I wanted to say was that I did a good job of peeling the leatherjacket (which has a very thick skin with denticles - like shagreen - sharkskin - but thicker and is hard on knives if you don't peel it away from the fish first I was left with a very pretty patterned leathery skin about 14" by 10" (but split by a fin). I wondered about the possibility of making some fish-leather. It would make quite a hand-bag (a bit abrasive if the denticles stayed on. Ideal for combat and laddering your opponent's stockings in catfight when out clubbing), good for sword-handles, and for wallets for tight-wads (won't come out of your pocket, easily). Good for watchstraps...

How hard is leathermaking? My ex-boss did it to catfish, but he was rather secretive about it, and besides... he could make the elementary very very complicated.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Another small step

When we came to the island we started with one mobile, because one needed a number, for bureaucracy, but in reality there was no-one to call, and calls to those we knew would be in life-and-death disasters, back in South Africa. No point in a landline, we were going to move to a place of our own, and anyway, what did we need it for?

Very soon we realised one mobile phone was not much use as no, we did not go everywhere together, and the kids, when here, sometimes went off without us too. So we got a pay-as-you-go for me because I am not very good about having it with me or charging it. And gradually we settled into island life. Of course it was more expensive than we'd realised to move us and the animals and our stuff here, and the US Dollar fall against the Aus $ hasn't helped... so we're not moving any time soon. And from only having each other to call, 2-5 calls a day has become more-or-less the norm. And everyone - especially some of our more chatty friends - whinge at us about mobile rates. The bills were a lot higher than I enjoyed, especially when I was calling the various Unis and emigration about the kids' status. But even just over the December holidays, there were a lot more calls.

So we've accepted reality and got a landline - dug out our 2 South African phones and the instrument John left here. Today - having web-contacted them Tuesday, had them call us on Friday... it's up and working today. B and I made our first calls.

I was out picking some tomatoes for supper when - great excitement - the phone rang. I came in post haste to find out just who had been our first caller.

It was a wrong number.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The return of the blue slug.

The writing proceeds apace, and other things jump up and intervene. We had a better night knowing James was safe - after Scottish dancing in the toxic hall (something nasty and chemical on the room divider screens and after a hot day it had half of us wheezing). Fortunately we won't be there again and are moving to the Sports club. I shall miss the Masonic lodge with 1959 picture of the Queen, but it is apparently in the throes of being sold, and the insurance (for liability) was crippling. I have to say I find the whole liability thing really strange. When the hell are you personally responsible? Fair enough Australia did a magnificent job with limiting damage and loss of life with Yasi - with one missing (who sounds like he was looking perhaps for a Darwin Award, but I don't know the whole story) and one dead from running a generator in a closed room (Darwin...) but with a catagory 5 extreme Cyclone - compared to South Africa's Demoina (which didn't even crack cyclone status by the time it hit SA - and still killed over 200 people)they did incredibly well. If you have a life that natural disaster follows around, maybe Australia is a good place to live...

Anyway, moving along, we have our blue slug back - I feel I should take a photo - at the moment we have 4 cars in the yard right now (one is actually ours) including a very smart Honda CRV. So instead I will show you a picture of a skink on some sheep-poo. Your lives are all immesurably richer for this, don't all thank me at once. It's a White's Skink. In the old South Africa they'd have probably given it a job on the Railways.

We've added some more plants to the veggie patches from Bill, but I just don't have the time for the labor of getting my two new round raised beds operating until this book is in. Likewise fishing. I turned down a trip today to get some words done. And on Monday our mate Peter's container comes in. I'd have gone spare if I was him - he's been sitting here waiting and waiting... he flies back to the big smoke, and it arrives within days. Inside are some bulk non-perishable food bits for us (flour, oats, ginger, rice, dogfood, lead) and another second-hand wetsuit and a BC and weightbelt mould. Now all I need is an octo... and some time to use it in. Well, we'll get there.

Anyway, back to the antics of Fionn and the black and white sheepdog.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Rather anxiously by now. No word of James arrival in South Africa (he left on monday at 7pm and it was an 18 hour flight, Singapore, Dohar, Johannesburg, and then a seperate flight to Durban. Last we heard he was safe in departures in Singapore. My sister mentioned -at the end of her last e-mail, that his flight had been delayed - but didn't say where or really when he'd be where. I'm sure he's fine, and old enough to look after himself. Parents just worry, I suppose. Only done about 2000 words today, as I keep checking the post and Skype. Barbs made some very good Damson plum jam today, and between Jamie and Nik and myself we successfully put a new power-unit fan in Nik's computer.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bloomin 'ot

With cyclone Yasi threatening to engulf North Queensland, it seems rather selfish and childish to complain that it was a bit hot and humid here today - rather like Durban in December. It actually gave my computer a heat-seize - I took the cover off, cleane the fans and the cooling vanes and we've been fine. It didn't make writing fun though. We've taken the blue slug in to get some fairly major work done, and visited the sekrit salad supply :-) and got given some more lettuce, we also got some plums from other friends(heaven knows when I'll have preserving time) and some lovely red onions from someone else, and a bananabread. As I said to B with the sort of gifting-barter around here you can't say "caught 10 fish = 10 fish meals" but you might end up with all sorts of other things having ended up giving several friends fish. Some of it takes a fair amount of ingenuity to turn into meals but it does keep it from being boring, and usually ends upat more than the original 10. Still the heat is telling on the variety... we always have biscuits (cookies), but I just can't face baking right now, because it's too hot in the kitchen. Anyway, I did, despite friends dropping in and the heat and computer hassles get onwith the writing - a good session. Need to do a little more, and try and work early tomorrow in case it is hot again.