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no guy on the bonfire this year

I finally wrapped up my tomatoes and brought the last of the green ones in yesterday. I also selected the three strongest chilli plants and brought them inside with the Amaryllis. If they survive the warm shock I can theoretically take them through to next year, as they're actually short perennials, they just hate winter, cry and die. I put the last of the living squash plants into a couple of old recycling boxes full of the growbag compost,and left the Achocha to it, as it looked half dead and was still making fruit, in its way. Hopefully no pests came in with the chilli and the amaryllis, the black mould is fierce this year.

Oh, the terrible black mould. I went out to one of the buildings that was redone two-three years ago this autumn last week. It was refurbed in that slightly Scandiwegian style of interesting shapes, wood slat cladding and pleasantly coloured render that seems very popular in municipal buildings at the moment (East Oxford Health Centre is a good example of the genre). I noted gloomily through the curtains of falling rain that the wooden slats had gone to the black mould, just as they are on every building in that style. I wonder what went wrong? The architects must have anticipated the problem. Maybe it's a materials failure; a new preservative not as mould proof as advertised.

The mould has come into the house, as well. My big fat duvet of a winter coat, the one the dry cleaner quoted me £WHAT??? to clean, is now shedding spores in a wheelie bin. My old peacock bag that I've had since I was a teenager, it's gone. A moleskine notepad bought for me by a friend is currently in assessment. I'm currently taking off the wall cladding which has been the black mould's nursery garden (a crazy laminate of heavy, non-porous wall paper, over loose layers of spongy lining paper, over thin polystyrene tiles, over a black and silver plastic layer, over a further layer of lining paper, then finally the plaster beneath). According to my boss, people used to sell this stuff door-to-door as insulation and I was lucky just to have a wall (possibly two walls) of it. She had it all over the house when she moved in, ceilings too.

The South Park fireworks (which were great - some lovely new peach and violet colours) had a guyless bonfire this year. Previous years have involved a gigantic wicker man designed by school children touring the county before finally being stuffed with fireworks and going up in flames at the Rotary Club Fireworks. As I stood in a muddy field watching a colossal stack of pallets burn, like our primitive ancestors did (actually in the village we mostly burnt tractor tyres, but those were simpler times), I wondered what had become of the guy. My surmusings were pretty much exactly right, as it turned out. The National Theatre of Horton Cum Studley (or whoever they are) were back again, but they really need puppets on sticks and a louder loud-hailer if they're going to bewilder more than the front row, as the audience is on a downhill slope (although the bit with the drumming was enlivened by a random choir in the audience flash-improvising a harmony version of Uptown Girl around it).

Either way, austerity. Austerity in a time of plenty, whatever that means. Actually, Oxfam has a quote about that, though I can't remember it. One of my colleagues kept it up on his wall, and it gave me a little stab of a annoyance, each and every working day*. Speaking of which, that Typhoon looks bloody awful. The DEC haven't declared general disaster yet (give it an hour) but it looks like Oxfam have an emergency appeal on, and they'll be doing the toilets, so time to drop in the shop and put money in the box.

*I am not a good enough person to be working here, the little stab of annoyance said, and it was right.


( 5 worms — Feed the birds )
11th Nov, 2013 10:25 (UTC)
That danged black mould! I had to sacrifice several pairs of shoes to the gods of mould (the shoeboxes had been pushed up against an outside wall.) Most of them old and crappy but one a pair of really comfy gladiator sandals I'd had for years that always drew positive comments when I wore 'em. Blast it!

I've no idea how to combat the mould in ways that don't involve vast expense and possibly building work. I've tried to get more air circulation in the problem area upstairs, but not a lot that can be done downstairs, though last year the mould seemed as it t'were... on hold. Weather factors presumably.

11th Nov, 2013 20:48 (UTC)
Dehumidifiers will have at least some small effect, but at the cost of noise and electricity. We run ours a lot during the winter.
12th Nov, 2013 07:12 (UTC)
Hum, now that's got me thinking about whether or not I need a dehumidifier. We've used the little chemical ones*, but I'm guessing yours is one of the big ones? How do you find it? Got any recommendations?

*Don't like these, if I'm extracting water I want to be able to use it
12th Nov, 2013 07:38 (UTC)
We just went to B&Q (back in the day) and bought one off the shelf, so no specific recommendations as to make or anything. Ours has done us fine - we used to use it in the bathroom or in the nursery/spare room in East Ave, and it clearly made a difference (very satisfying too to empty the water catchment thing, you get quite a bit out). Right now we often run it near the laundry as it dries, which definitely helps; and we also ran it in the cellar to help the plaster dry when the works there were happening. In some ways it feels like we'd make use of a second one if we had one but that does seem a bit over the top! You can of course move it from place to place but it's heavy enough that you don't do it at the drop of a hat.

It won't help with the confined situations of a wardrobe unless you leave the door open and run it next to it for a while - not very practical. We have some hanging wardrobe (chemical) dehumidifiers which do help in that situation.
12th Nov, 2013 08:37 (UTC)
Curses on the devourer of shoes (rushes upstairs to check on a pair)
( 5 worms — Feed the birds )