#100DaysToOffload – Day 44

Yesterday I was in the park for while my son had football training. Us parents on the sidelines end up talking all sorts of random things to kill the time and being British the weather was naturally one of the topics discussed. We were saying how we missed the sunny weather of previous months as unlike Basil we've had lots of glorious weather and relatively little rain. Of course the British Summer being what it is that meant while we were all on lockdown we had lots of sun and now restrictions have been eased it is a bit grey and drizzly.

I mentioned it was going to be St Swithin's day soon which means sod's law it is likely to be raining and got a lot of blank looks. None of them had heard of St Swithin's day. WTF? I'm not even religious and certainly wasn't brought up in a Christian household but I've known since I was little that the saying goes if it rains on St Swithin's day (15 July) it will rain for 40 days and 40 nights. Here it is copied from wikipedia:

St Swithun's day if thou dost rain For forty days it will remain St Swithun's day if thou be fair For forty days 'twill rain nae mare

Have you heard of this?

100 Days to Offload is a blogging challenge started by Kev Quirk. Check for more info.

#100DaysToOffload – Day 43

The regular readers of this blog (yes both of you!) should recall I like reading and I like being frugal so it should come as no surprise to learn I like book swaps. Luckily my neighbourhood has several public bookswaps set up and also during lockdown lots of folks have been leaving books out on their front walls for people to take. Probably my favourite bookswap spot is the Stoneham Book Transformer:

stoneham book transformer inside usage instructions

Partly I like it a lot as someone has constructed it then installed it guerrilla fashion in the street. Nothing like a bit of direct action to improve things for everyone.

A few roads away from me is the Hove book hut

Hove book hut in Frith Road, Hove

which has the misfortune of often being described as a bird house by locals on Facebook/Nextdoor etc and I know this annoys the person that constructed it in their front garden (as I had a chat with them one day while checking the books).

Mindful of the fact I've always got lots of books stocked up ready to read I try not to take too many books and limit it to books I had planned to read anyway or authors I like. That said this is my recent haul:


Better crack on with reading.

100 Days to Offload is a blogging challenge started by Kev Quirk. Check for more info.

#100DaysToOffload – Day 42

Unbelievably this post 42. 42! The answer to life, the universe and everything. However this post deals with much more mundane matters. It deals with cheap bananas.


I've mentioned about being a frugan before and even mentioned 9p bananas in that post. Same thing happened on Monday and 3 packs were purchased. Soon as I got home I peeled and chopped about half of them. Some went on to sticks to be frozen.

banana popsicle

These we end up using by melting a little chocolate and peanut butter together then dipping the frozen banana in it. The coating freezes and you end up with tasty concoction that is good on a hot day.

Others where just chopped into chunks ready to be used in smoothies. (Sometimes our kids claim they are bored of toast or cereal for breakfast so we make them a smoothie.)

chopped frozen banana

And the rest of them went being used in a banana bread and some banana scones. The scones were this recipe and whilst they were tasty they were not scone like at all and more banana rockcake. Would not recommend. Really I should have made banana pancakes where when making a pancake batter you substitute some dairy/egg for some very mushy banana and make American style pancakes. Absolutely delicious.

100 Days to Offload is a blogging challenge started by Kev Quirk. Check for more info.

#100DaysToOffload – Day 41

Seems I've cycled more in June than have done since last summer. Cycling is something I do enjoy and whilst I'm not a hardcore cyclist going out and doing 70+ miles every Sunday morning it is fun to get on your bike and have a ride. Where I live I have to consider routes carefully as south is the English Channel and north is the South Downs so lots of hilly roads. Given my current weight and fitness I'm trying to avoid big hill climbs as much as possible so routes are east and west. Last few Sundays I've met up with a couple of friends for a social ride of about 20 miles-ish with a stop for coffee at about halfway.

It's been really good though yesterday's ride featured climbing then 8 miles back into strong headwinds. About a mile from home I was broken and barely managed to keep turning the pedals:

yesterday's route

Here's a couple of others:

The first social ride

^ This one was to the Brighton & Hove Albion training ground. More out of curiosity of how long it would take. Cycling there was a lot quicker than the drive in rush hour would normally take.


This is a belated contribution to my 100 Days to Offload posts. It is a blogging challenge started by Kev Quirk. Check for more info.

#100DaysToOffload – Day 40

Yesterday was Father's Day. As we all know it is a modern construct supposedly supported by the greetings card industry to drum up business. It's not a particularly big deal in our household but I do like winding up the rest of the family for a few weeks prior to it by talking about all the presents and surprises I'll get for Father's Day. The reality is usually quite low key and this year was no exception. Usually for Father's/Mother's Day the other parent cooks a nice meal with the aid of the children. This was was a bit different as Mrs Luke has strained something in her neck from a week of sitting badly during what seemed to be back to back Teams or Zoom meetings. This meant she couldn't actually do much! I had to go go do the shopping for the meal and do the prep but that's fine.

The day started not the way I expected as we had an Ikea delivery first thing (so the coffee in bed I was hoping for didn't have a chance of arriving) and I was lugging boxes in the house in my pyjamas first thing. I did get a present:


Which was very welcome. Proper coffee is always appreciated. (Think the last time I drank instant coffee was June 2019 and that was because it was the only option while I had a thumping hangover.)

Pleasant stroll along Hove seafront walking the dog and the children after that and a video call with my dad.

Then down to lunch. My favourite food it food that you need to eat with your hands and that gets you messy so it lunch consisted of a lot of that:

beef short rib

Massaman beef short ribs

katsu wings

Katsu flavoured chicken wings

buffalo wings

Buffalo hot wings

bbq ribs

Baby back pork ribs

along with salads, coleslaw and fresh focaccia from the top notch Italian deli near us. It was a feast!

Then a visit to my folks to sit in their garden and drink fizz and get attacked by my children:


All in all a great Father's Day.

This is one of my 100 Days to Offload posts. It is a blogging challenge started by Kev Quirk. Check for more info.

#100DaysToOffload – Day 39

Whilst the Premier League may have restarted yesterday with much discussion on crowds, or lack of them, and talk of faulty goal line tech (my fav take on that was that the HawkEye system needed to take a drive to Barnard Castle!) I am still missing cricket more than football. Presumably this is because it is cricket season rather than football season at the moment. I've mentioned cricket before and did manage to get my tickets refunded thankfully.

Anyway as I've been missing it I have watched the BBC's offering as highlights of classic Tests of yore. There are 2 available at the moment. Thankfully only an hour long each (rather than the full 5 days!) and whilst I certainly didn't grow up in a sporty household it is odd how much of these I recall, at least the names and the headlines from them. Presumably back then it was a lot more visible as we only had 3 TV channels so it was a lot harder to avoid!

Screnshot of the iplayer page

Anyway the 1984 Test brought to mind a great documentary that deserves more accolades: Fire In Babylon.

Screenshot of a webpage about Fire in Babylon

Like all good documentaries it is about a subject but also has a broader focus. In this case it is a lot about the changing attitudes to race in the 80's as well as the sport itself. (I can imagine disgruntled statue defenders closing the tab now.) It's interesting stuff.

This is one of my 100 Days to Offload posts. It is a blogging challenge started by Kev Quirk. Check for more info.

#100DaysToOffload – Day 38

No not the small economical Ford car. The Spanish word meaning “an event marked by festivities or celebration”. It is a word for something that doesn't really occur that often in the UK. If you're wondering what I'm on about it all started with me posting on Mastodon with a picture of my Sussex flag

Sussex flag hanging outside my house

as it is Sussex Day today. As I've lived in Sussex for more of my adult life than I've lived anywhere else I am marking Sussex Day like that. The ensuing conversation on Mastodon had me lamenting that if I were in Spain (or other countries, just using Spain as an example as I've been there a lot) there would be public celebrations, bands and some drinking going on. As I'm in the UK sadly the most that ever happens is some flags get flown and maybe some speeches get made.

Really we need to up our game but I am guessing a lot of these holidays are based on saint's days and the UK is quite a secular country it would be hard to get official sanction for them. Which is a pity. We really could do with some more public events to help bring communities together.

I am taking in the 100 Days to Offload blogging challenge set by Kev Quirk. Whilst lockdown is on do 100 blog posts to help you offload and to read what everyone else is up to.

#100DaysToOffload – Day 37

Due to my laptop keyboard seemingly broken I'm restricted to just my desktop for any proper interaction online. (Much questioning of the children has been one but they deny all responsibility!) Yes I've got phone/tablet but really don't like the onscreen keyboard seeing as I have big fat sausage fingers. The desktop is set up in our bedroom and is all configured for work. Really don't want to go and sit there whilst not working so blog posts are likely to be a bit more sporadic. Previously I'd often rattle off a post in an evening when inspiration hit me whilst sitting on the sofa. That's not to be for a while now.

Had a lovely weekend. The Saturday was almost like a “normal” Saturday. Son did some football training in the morning (groups of 5 kids, no close contact etc). Getting a chance to catch up with the parents was much appreciated. Very heartening to hear a lot of people are having similar experiences to ourselves with regard to working and schooling from home. Think we're doing alright actually. Then a trip over to friends whose house backs onto the beach. Lovely afternoon sat out by the sea catching up while the kids entertained themselves. Then a dash over to see my mum and step-dad to sit in their garden and eat food. Then Sunday was a bike ride with friends in the morning for me and a trip up to my folks' allotment int he afternoon to pick ripe berries and water all the plants.

Sadly it is now Monday and back to the saltmines for me. :(

I am taking in the 100 Days to Offload blogging challenge set by Kev Quirk. Whilst lockdown is on do 100 blog posts to help you offload and to read what everyone else is up to.

#100DaysToOffload – Day 36

Another book from my “to-read” shelf enjoyed.

Cover of the book The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

A pleasant and quick read, at only 128 pages long, hopefully quite like this post! Enjoyed this book a lot. Here's the wiki page for it if you're curious.


I am taking in the 100 Days to Offload blogging challenge set by Kev Quirk. Whilst lockdown is on do 100 blog posts to help you offload and to read what everyone else is up to.

#100DaysToOffload – Day 35

For the last few weeks we've had all sorts of problems with our internet connection. At first we just put it down to 2 of us working from home plus 2 kids home schooling whilst various combinations of us are listening to music streams or watching video streams. Then it just kept getting worse and more sporadic. In an effort to help my daughter out a new wifi extender was purchased (the old one was rather basic and rather slow so could do with being replaced anyway). Still it was problematic. Then occasionally there will be a shout of “please stop steaming, I'm on a Zoom” but it will turn out no one is streaming so we were unsure what would be causing it. Mrs Luke called Virgin, as the account is in her name, and they claimed it was due to the number devices connected at once. Thing is we've had this number of devices connected for at least 6 months and it was fine up until last month.

Then whilst I was trying to work but failing due to DNS not resolving for my desktop machine I hotspotted on my phone for a while. When I turned the hotspot off it autojoined the wifi extender network and was working fine. Then when I changed it back to the main network it stopped resolving DNS again. Hang on that's not right as the extender just gets access through the main network! Some more poking about and trying different devices and I found several tablets and computers had exactly the same problem. If they joined the main network no DNS would resolve but if they joined the extender network it worked fine. What's that all about??

So I spent some time looking at Virgin forums and looking in router logs to try and work out how to fix it. Checking various configs to check all was OK etc etc. Seems various people had had similar problems to us starting about a similar time and it could only be fixed by Virgin. Poor old Mrs Luke called them again and explained fully what was going on. In the end she was on the phone to them for about an hour but they did a remote wipe & reinstall on the router and presto! All the devices that couldn't resolve DNS before now can. Having it working properly is such a relief. It is one of those background stresses you don't realise is there until it has gone.

As an aside one thing that struck me while searching for the solution to this problem is the number of people that can't differentiate between their wifi connection and their internet connection. I do feel sorry for those Virgin call centre folks.

I am taking in the 100 Days to Offload blogging challenge set by Kev Quirk. Whilst lockdown is on do 100 blog posts to help you offload and to read what everyone else is up to.