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September 23, 2006

60. Attend at least one party per month; if there's a month with no parties, have some friends round.

September 15, 2006: I think Mike & Flick's wedding counts as a party.

And it looks like we may be holding a party in November, so that's ok. Nothing for October yet. And this shouldn't be 'accept an invitation', it should be 'attend the party'. So I've amended it.

39. Photograph and archive the things my kids make.

23 September: The lightbox arrived, and proved to be rather more complicated to use than I'd expected (I think I might have guessed). Nevertheless, I present for your delight and delectation the first three objects.

clay head with feathers

A clay head with feathers, made by Jonathan in 2006

white, orange and yellow papier mache vase

A papier maché vase made by Marianne in 2004

pink wireform and plaster sculpture

"Pink Thing", made by Jonathan in 2006

19 August: Simon Bisson had blogged about buying a cheap eBay lightbox. I went to look, and after thinking for a bit, bought a rather more complicated set that included a cheap lightbox, backdrops, lights and reflective acrylic. It hasn't arrived yet, but the thing that convinced me was realising that taking archive photos of weird papier maché artifacts before disposing of them would be so much better with a lightbox. So this is started. I've also corralled several of the latest round of weird things in one place.

24. Run a mile without stopping.

Well, I ran for a train the other day. Perhaps 200 yards? And that was pretty exhausting in fact. Meanwhile, I've found a website that includes a method of learning to run three miles or five kilometers in eight weeks. So, I could follow that and see how it goes.

49. Visit 100 different London attractions -- museums, art galleries, places of interest, events.

2. Battersea Fireworks display, 4 November 2006

Photos are from my new lowlight camera, the Fuji Finepix F30.

1. London bfi iMAX, 22 Sept 2006

Photo by Robert Aleck

Plausible Places to go

London Transport Platform for Art, to see the Chiho Aoshima exhibit.
Jonathan loved going to see sculptures today, so perhaps some sculpture. eg the Cass Sculpture Foundation.
The Observatory Science Centre at Herstmonceux. Neither of those are quite London though.
The British Library, which has an exhibtion on London maps until 4 March 2007.
New London Architecture has an exhibition until early January on transport in London.

96. Blog the completed goals

I'm going to amend this one: because of course this blog is as good a record of what I'm doing as anything. When I wrote the original list I hadn't decided to do the blog, and I certainly hadn't thought of including pictures and so on.

But here we are, and this one is started.

72. Give blood.

18 September 2006: I went along, and gave blood, and everything went well. So this is now done, though I have some ongoing intentions -- to keep going every four months when they ask, and to help them by telling them about cheaper halls available in Walthamstow, because they're apparently paying £1000 a time to use the Assembly Hall.

23 August 2006 I'm booked into the session on 18 September.

1 August 2006 I gave blood years ago from time to time, but the last couple of times I tried (more than 10 years ago) I became sick and had to stop. Nevertheless, I think it's probably sensible to try again, or at least talk to the helpline about it. There's a session on Thursday afternoon! Which would be great except that I'll just have had dental treatment. I'll ring the helpline on 0845 7 711 711; it's 24 hours, and ask them about the dental deep cleaning & how long I have to wait, and mention about getting sick when doing it ten years ago. This is linked to joining the bone marrow register -- my guess is that if I don't give blood I am unlikely to be able to do that either.

1 August 2006: I rang the helpline, who registered me (woo), said that the sickness was very likely to be due to failing to eat and drink properly before the session, particularly failing to keep fluids up, and that I should probably delay the donation until a week after my course of dental work is treated. They're sending me a welcome pack.

90. Eat 20 foods or drinks I've never tried before.

1. Ostrich egg.
2. Special String Hopper Kothu, at Priya in Hoe Street, Walthamstow. If I'd have thought I'd have taken a photo. It's sort of like an unusually exciting and different special fried noodle, except with string hoppers instead of noodles. If you don't know what string hoppers are, you probably need to try eating Sri Lankan. And Priya's a new, delicious and pretty cheap way of doing so. It's the new branch of a restaurant in East Ham -- I don't know whether that's Rob and Avedon's pet Sri Lankan or a different one.

99. Learn to identify and collect edible fungi.

23 September: I went on the fungi spotting trip, and learnt a key lesson: that it takes more than a brief walk in the countryside to learn to identify fungi. I think I should now be able to spot boletus, which are delicious and not uncommon in Epping Forest, and, critically, not easily confusable with anything poisonous that grows in the forest*. And I also learnt about Chicken of the Woods, which in use is allegedly indistinguishable from chicken -- much like wild Quorn in fact.

This is a clump of honey fungus, growing on the ground and on nearby trees. Apparently edible and tasty when cooked*.

This is a beefsteak fungus; it looks like a slab of meat and it 'bleeds' when you cut into it. Apparently in the category of 'definitely edible if you're starving but I'm not sure why anyone would want to.*

*obviously don't take my word for this! Get yer own fungus expert.

I also think I need a license to gather fungi in Epping forest, and even then it's only for personal use. I need to find out how to get one. We had a group license for this trip.

I came home with a little of the honey fungus which we shared, and one boletus that I found, tips on cooking and trying out fungus (top tips are: don't eat anything you find growing on or under conifers, because even if the fungus is edible it might have picked up toxins from the conifer, and don't eat anything that looks like the sort of mushroom you buy in the shops, leastways not if you pick it in a forest (those big old field mushrooms are apparently ok)*).

23 August: I got invited to a fungi foray -- and I've wanted to do it for years. So it's going on the list and I hope I'll be going fungi collecting shortly. I will report back.

September 13, 2006

84. Implement anti-consumer month in September and February (each year)

September's anti-consumer month is a bit of a mixed bag so far. It's going well, in that we're not buying trivial stuff we don't need for the most part, and we are buying our groceries from the supermarket, avoiding takeaways and taxis, and so on. I also rooted out my Benjy's vouchers and am buying my lunch there instead of the expensive coffee shops. We are, as a family, sitting together and watching a DVD (Maddigan's Quest) each evening instead of going out, too.

On the other hand, it's going badly in that our old and hated dishwasher turned up its toes just after the beginning of the month. The new one is a Miele and our dishes are sparkly clean. Worse, Co van Ekeren got back to me with a proposition for how I could lay my hands on one of his P200 twin rigs at a reasonable cost. The dishwasher is pretty much allowed in anti-consumer month. But the twin rig is clear frippery.