Thursday 29th November, a bright and chilly day; frost on the roofs at seven; bird action in the garden all morning, a pair of bluetits feeding on the flowerless, but still green jasmine tangle by our kitchen door, great tits and bluetits on the wooden elm tree feeder, and squabbling over access to the nijer feeder, which isn't really for them at all. Only one goldfinch, which they scared off. This time last year nb we had no customers at all, which I take to mean the birds just aren't finding the countryside-autumnal 2012 very bountiful. Turning compost in the rain on Sunday, mud all around and a lot of shovelling (my back still hurts), and such worms! Great lively boluses of them, I could have picked up a worm-ball in my hand, but I didn't. Two large sacks of compost plus one of pure loam. And what'll we do with our riches? It occurs to me, for years now if our nemesis has been slugs and snails, our top garden success story has been worms. They flourish like the green bay tree. Not exactly our intention... Is our midden telling us something about the human condition? Swamped in its own rich rubbish?
Energy bills, what to do? For a long time we've been an EDF for Gas and Good Energy for Electricity household, on the grounds that there's no such thing as "Good" gas, but we've been thinking it over, which lead to wondering exactly what gas tariffs are available, and brought me to another OH! I SEE! moment. Here I am, at the website for Energy Supplier x, that's easy. So what do they charge? What could be a more reasonable question than that? So I look, I look, and suddenly I get what the fuss is about. The bxxxers aren't going to tell me. They just won't. Not a chance. None of them, it's amazing. For tariffs, you have to go to those Comparison Sites, and here at least the situation is clear and simple. First, we will strip-mine you for personal data. Then, we will let you in the door... We are currently planning to switch to a dual fuel deal with the Good guys, which will cost a little more, but supposedly means some of our money will go to developing clean-sourced household gas, and besides, their site is angelic. Dunno if this was quite Mr Cameron's intention, but it works for me.
We can tell EDF we're quitting because they are investing in new UK nuclear reactors, heheheh, but in fact what really annoys me is seeing the Nuclear option called "Green", in any context & even by the incorrigible La Belle France. I won't stand for that sort of cheek.
We don't need to swop fossil fuel emissions for plutonium, that makes no sense. Nothing, as yet, not even seaborne wind farms, makes any real sense. We need to USE LESS ENERGY. Invest in finding out how, and you have me on your side.
Reading: Edge Of Infinity, Jonathan Strahan's new anthology, which arrived this week. A pretty good collection of stories, if I say so myself (one of them is mine). For this one I want sf stories set in the Solar System, said Jonathan. Colonised if you like, BUT the rule is NO novel technology, No fantasy-science, just the resources we have now. Okay, fine... Just the resources we could rustle up right now. It turns out I'm the only contributor who took the brief literally, which for me gives "4th generation sf" a kind of retro air, but no harm in that. Very true to state of the form, really. Anyway, a highly enjoyable collection. (Warning: following the link will lead you to spoilers. Me, I like discursive sf reviews, which pretty much means I like spoilers, I admit. Especially, I cannot tell a lie, when the reviewer is nice to me).
Also, got a preview of the cover for Athena Andreadis and Kay Holt's forthcoming anthology, The Other Half Of The Sky & it's very pretty. Which I have in fact already read. The stories are all, in one way or another about women, and/or feature a female protagonist. Maybe not a new idea, but it's worth it, and it still works. Probably another example of "4th generation sf". A lot of trees, I noticed. Or maybe it was just a few mighty tree and asteroid-forest stories, but it seemed like more. Trees in Space. Mmm.
The keynote photo is Clementina's weeping ash, again, because I like it. Bare of leaves now, of course. But at least this beauty, and all the young windsown ashes at the same site, are sound and clean. So far.