From the newsletter: Welcoming spring
7 days ago
This post was originally sent out as an email newsletter to my subscribers and therefore might contain lots of references to the fact it's an email rather than a blog post. I publish the newsletters on my website days after they've gone out, therefore some references might already be outdated.
It has been an entire season since I last emailed you and a lot has changed in that time, so I thought I’d send you a nice little update on this Sunday morning!
The last time we spoke, I showed you Year.li, an annual clock that I made in the closing months of 2017. The clock has a single hand that takes one full year to revolve. That continues to keep time for us all. A few days ago, we just passed 3 o’clock - one quarter of the year.
I spent the Easter weekend in Cheltenham, relaxing with uni friends and stuffing my face with Deliveroo. If ever you're near, Holee Cow is incredible and has just opened. I might have forgotten the name of the burger I had but the burger itself was unforgettable!
I've spent this weekend stocking up my VegTrug for another year. That's a huge raised-bed and it's great for growing fruit and veg in. This year I’m growing all the veg to go in a pie - carrots, onions, celery, potatoes - and tomatoes and chillies, too. Last year was super successful, producing an abundance of food with zero waste. I'm starting a month earlier this year in the hopes I might be able to eek out that little bit more. I’ll let you know how it goes!
What I've been reading:
I read about three books a month now, making good use of my 3 hour round-trip commute. Here are three from the first quarter of the year that I’ve really enjoyed:
Once Upon a Time in The West Country by Tony Hawks describes his move from the city to the countryside with his pregnant girlfriend and all the changes that brings. He doesn't make it any easier on himself, embarking on a bet with a bicycle and a micro-pig called Titch...
Walking Through Spring is exactly what its title suggests. Starting in the New Forest at Easter and walking through Bath, Cheltenham, Birmingham, and Yorkshire, Graham Holland plants an acorn every mile to form a new national trail. It's a tour through the countryside but also a literary walk of the country.
Them: Adventures With Extremists is a quick but entertaining read. Embedding himself with Islamic fundamentalists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK, journalist Jon Ronson investigates what makes an extremist - and tries to uncover their shared belief: that a tiny, shadowy elite rule the world from a secret room.
I have all of these books still so if you want to read one of them just let me know and I’ll post it to you for free. You can send me a direct message on Twitter.
What I've been listening to:
Denmark's P2 radio station is a Classic/6 Music hybrid and its late night show is absolutely lovely. Called Natsværmeren, which roughly translates as 'tigermoths', the show is on from 9 to 11 BST. Grab a relaxing tea and put it on as you wind down for bed.
Separately, I went to Vienna to the Radiodays Europe conference in late March and sat through a great talk on classical radio. Try out this app from Klara in Belgium - it translates your Spotify playlist to classical music.
Podcast wise, ReplyAll did a great episode in November about Facebook Ads and their privacy settings. In it, PJ and Alex try to find out whether Facebook's eavesdropping on your conversations and showing you ads based on the things you say. It's a timely listen, given the recent scandal.
I'm looking forward to episodes of Around The Open Fire with Dave Erasmus, although I'm not too sure when they're going to start. Dave's been doing some fascinating things on his YouTube channel this past year. I really recommend giving him a look (and listen!)
I also got a great new two-track EP from Little Comets in the post on Tuesday. Here’s a track from that that I’m liking. Their guitars always sound so delicious. A vinyl is dropping in late-spring, which I'm looking forward to!
What I've been liking:
I don't accept money or free stuff for these mentions (or anything else in this newsletter, for that matter). These are just some great people, companies, and organisations doing things that I appreciate. I'm sharing them with you in the hopes you can find some value in them too.
Redemption Roasters in London, just around the corner from my office, is an awesome social enterprise. Working with young offenders at Aylesbury Prison, they train them in professional roasting and competition-level barista skills. The result is a good cup of coffee that raises the bar for everyone. They're currently fundraising on Kickstarter to create a line of Nespresso-compatible coffee pods.
Black Bee Honey is another great company and one that I'm an investor in. Their London honey is delicious and is jarred straight from the hive - raw, single origin, and British. It definitely isn't the cheapest but it's the best quality honey I've ever had the pleasure of smothering on toast.
I'm still off social media for the most part. I left just after New Year and haven’t checked Twitter or Instagram in months. The grass really is greener on the other side; I feel less anxious, more connected to the people I love, and much further away from negativity and negative people.
On that note, I'm going to start talking to you a little more often; there’s lots more to share in spring and I have some exciting things coming.
Thanks so much for your time.