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Author Archives: A wander through the mind

Reflections 2020 w28

One has broken the YouTube algorithm, one thinks.

During this lockdown YouTube has been playing in the background a lot, but now the recommended page is doing my head in.

I spend time choosing the do not recommend channel option, only for it to be on the next page refresh, and the number of videos that have been already watched is increasing, along with the number of recommendations for videos of channels that are subbed to.

If I block say a channel showing mr bean, I then get multiple channels with more clips of mr bean popping up. The algorithm does not seem to want to acknowledge that the subject is constantly being blocked, whereas if I choose a video on a new subject it works out I may be interested in more on the same subject.

One is getting so many repeat video recommendations it is putting me off turning to YouTube to find something to watch, I already have to watch some channels through an add blocker due to the shear amount of adds on some longer videos.

One is also noticing a trend of some channel creators to produce something to meet the new algorithm recommendation guidelines on quantity rather than on quality. Some are even trying to push themselves further than their comfort levels/skill levels would have sensibly kept them before the last update, putting them at risk.

Some are doing reviews like mad to produce content, on products (talking camping/bushcraft here) that you never see them use, or if they do it is only rarely. Personally I prefer my reviews to be done after use. How can you review a tent when you have just put it up in the back yard for the first time on flat grass? A true test is in foul weather and strong winds after you have struggled to get your tent pegs into the ground. Heck, even how the tent goes up/comes down in gusty weather or rain makes a huge difference. It’s the whole reason I choose outer up first if I can nowadays.

Although the COVID lockdown has reduced their options somewhat, surely if you are describing yourself as a bushcraft/wild camp channel, there seems to be a weird hybrid going on with some, surely there are skills you can show that can be done at home, it can’t be all about kit, tarp, fire, shelter build, especially if you do the same shelter repeatedly.

I hope a rival platform comes out, so the creators can go back to focusing on quality over quantity, because as my sub list has been shrunk because of loss of interest in what a creator is doing, so is my interest in seeing what is being recommended.

And why are 8-10year old videos being suddenly resurrected in the recommended section??? The mind boggles.

Stay safe.

Reflections 2020 w27

I have not been on for a couple of weeks, and the biggest change to the Covid routine was to go and get a couple of pairs of socks and a shirt from town…Exciting stuff.

Ooo and a haircut.

One had to go to town twice though because the changing rooms are not open. So one trip worth of shopping created two trips into town, two times touching the keypad, two times interacting with the staff members, three times the shirt was handled by staff members, I had to use a pen from them and touch the receipt they handed me before signing it and handing them back, compared to trying the shirt on once and putting it back.

Yes I brought the socks there as well, but what if i did not? Was the second journey really required to limit the spread of the virus rather than having the changing rooms sprayed down after being used?

To give some context on this, the shop is usually quiet, people trickling in and out a couple at a time, I have never been in this shop with more than 6 people in it at one time, which is why I like shopping there. So I am not expecting the staff to run around like a blue arsed fly, but then I was expecting to see more masks being worn in town. Half of the mask wearers were wearing them UNDER their chins in public. What use they think they are getting out of them I don’t know.

On a bonus note, the mask wearing is helping with the hay fever. It may become a part of my country walking kit, much like my eye drops, for when I walk into an area of pollen reaction. Not every reaction is just a sneeze or several, and if a mask will lessen the impact – good.

Stay safe.

Reflections 2020 w24

And now the countdown has started…

A Wedding?

A Birthday?


A Holiday?


A meeting of friends?



It is a countdown to having a haircut. Something, as a bloke, I did not even have to book an appointment for before. I could just walk in and wait to get a cut, even a shave if I so wanted. Heck I could get one on a whim if the barbers was empty.

But now an appointment has to be made, and for a busy barbers one would hate to think at how long it would take to get an appointment, and would it be a case of booking one for four weeks after that?

Luckily I can get mine done by a mobile hairdresser who has few clients, although she was thinking of packing it in due to a lot of her clients are elderly. Part in concern over taking the virus home, part because a lot would have not washed their hair themselves whilst the lockdown has been in place. We know one client has only used the dry shampoo. To be honest I cannot fathom how that works, but then I’m a ginger that has hair which requires super strength conditioner on a regular basis just to not boof into a lightning struck sideshow Bob.


So yeh, I’m counting down to it.

Stay safe.

Reflections 2020 w23

Today I salvaged some of the onions up the allotment. Due to the yo-yo weather we have had, many plants have decided to bolt and go to seed. The onions are no exception, some have no bulb as such and look like a swollen stem. But as I am dehydrating this lot I could salvage quite a bit, including the scapes.

Tomorrow, I have some carrots to pull, and some tatsoi to harvest the leaves from, both have gone to seed before they are ready, but I can at least salvage some leaves, also to dehydrate + there is far too many to eat fresh.

the baby sweetcorn has disappeared, not a problem one has had in the past, and the first earlier have never really recovered from the late freeze we had. Next year I will have the fleece coverings to protect them, I could not afford this year, with other items being bought.

The peas are lazy, strong plants that only want to stay on the ground, they will not grip the canes at all, and at 6ft tall they are a tangled mess now, it’s a good job half of them are a purple pod.
My turnips are a good size, now all I have to do is find a recipient for them, 

The tomato plants have just started to get some fruit on them, hopefully I will get a glut to dehydrate. Everything else is growing ok, if not a little behind those on other plots grown on window sills. But I wanted to do everything in situ at the allotment, so I can get to a point where I can grow different varieties all year round.

As for the onions, they went in at the end of last year from sets, to try to stop the bolting by cropping earlier, this year I will do the same but from seed, apparently the flowers only appear on the second year, onion sets count as the first years growth, so in theory they should not want to produce the flower next year if sown from seed this one. Time will tell.

It was nice to sit outside the greenhouse processing the onions, it felt like I was preparing food on a camp, it also meant the scraps went straight on the compost pile without traveling to and from home first. As an added bonus the slight breeze made the vapours powerless — no tears.
One might just take up my old camp cook set and do a pea and ham soup straight from the pod, with a couple of nice crusty rolls.
It’s nice to be able to take time to enjoy the rewards of the plants in location, instead of just seeing jobs that need to be finished when the wether is more suitable, neither wet, nor a burning hazard. The joys of being a red head.

stay safe.

Reflections 2020 w22

Another Sunday been and gone without much notice, but then there is not much to notice at the moment. Today some shops opened up, but one hates to think about how certain areas of town are going to be able to distinguish one queue from another, let alone pass down the middle of the two rows and keep the distancing.

So on the last trip to the garden centre I got some soft plastic wire to make a couple of masks. There is greater risk with greater numbers, so it is definitely time for one now.
This is the part I was not looking forward to – the return of the noise, busyness and people.

For a while now my social anxiety has had a chance to relax a little, I have no fear of the virus, it has done me no harm in the past, unlike the people who carry it. So having a large personal space when out and about has almost been a luxury. But I know more people out will equal less space. There is not the room to maintain it.

I may not fear the virus, but it has taken many away from loved ones, it is still around, so if the distancing is shortening, the the masks will be worn when out.

Hopefully there will not be a spike in new cases over the next two weeks.

Stay safe,

Reflections 2020 w21

How did man manage pre-time?

Was it a simpler process, just trying to stay in nature’s rhythm? Or was the invention of time a god send to a struggling species?

I only ask looking at the last post written and finding out it was 2 weeks ago, it feels like 1. And with a good portion of the world no longer a slave to the clock, are we going to see it as a restraint to our lives, or order, when it returns?

All I know is that one has made the decision to postpone my walk along Hadrian’s wall. It now looks as though it could clash with my sister moving south, and a camp at Dartmoor and Exmoor. And Spot and myself are not in any way fit enough to do it.

During the lockdown we had an hour to get some exercise, this was shared between the allotment and Spots walk. Today we walked for the first time in months the shortest old route. We are both stiff and it feels like we have just started walking.

We could do the wall walk, Spot has a K9 rucksack for when her age catches up with her, so that is not an issue, and I could just take more pain meds. But would it be pleasurable?

I’m not doing the walk for the ‘challenge’, or to say I have done it. It is on a list of places I would like to go to.

It is a walk that can be done in a week, but I allowed for two just in case I get distracted. It is the same with Dartmoor, I may just camp in one place for the two nights I stay there. Just to observe and absorb.

That is if I get there without the fog. As of yet I have failed to see the Brecon Beacons without a sheet of rain hitting the car window. I have heard rumours of sunshine there though. This is also a place I have yet to camp.

Though a lot of my equipment is unfamiliar, with only a couple of uses together, it has taken me down below 0degC with winds of up to 53mph, I stayed dry, warm and comfortable. Not all of the sleeping system was used either, so I am confident I could go to lower temperatures. Some equipment has been replaced with alternatives to work in this tent, for those times the weather keeps us undercover,  and the walking trailer has yet to have my maiden voyage with it.

By now one had planned to have done long day walks fully loaded on a regular basis, in preparation for the longest stretch of the Hadrians wall walk. But now I am only thinking of getting back to the regular walking distance with Spot.

I may even charge up the Fitbit.

Reflections 2020 w19

I heard a conspiracy theory the other day, this virus is just the world leaders working together to subdue the population. Deliberate and planned.

How do these theories get any traction?

This theory supposes that governments infected their own populace and worked together, all together, in their response. If only they could do the same over food, pollution, poverty and a whole host of alternatives.

Not only did they all say “I’m in”,  but they devised a strategy that some countries would respond quicker than others, but all would not grass on the others.

Not one has done a posturing move and not infected, to score points with the ‘voters’, I put it that way to also cover the not so democratic regimes, nor has any come up with we are healthier than the rest of the world – we did not get it.

Just think about that. Countries that posture all the time with military displays, missiles and other propaganda techniques, decided not to lie about following the plan, and strut in front of the world.

Don’t get me wrong, there is strutting from individual politicians meeting the sick whilst not wearing a mask or gloves, when others around them are…History will either view them as kind, compassionate and caring – or as a dumb MF who chose to risk infecting others just to get a photo opportunity..

2020 the year people just ‘fell asleep’ and did not wake up, not virus suspected. Birthdays spent alone, or with visitors standing at the end of the yard singing happy birthday. Clean beaches – until the people came back. The toilet roll shortage, and then the pasta shortage, along with the tinned tomatoes, rice, anti bac wipes, pasta sauce, flour and other odd random items that make no sense. And funerals of friends and loved ones that could not be attended because there was already 10 people who wanted to attend.

Spirit of the blitz, but without the destruction or fear of bombs being dropped, more food, and a better selection of it. Online shopping and having deliveries. No ration books limiting the selection and quantity of that food, or alternatives. Internet and TV, the huge selection of channels for many. No curfew for lights out. No limitations on clothing, No having to give up your cook wear, to support the troops. No having to forage for food, our weeds of today, so that a meal can be made. Distrust of people that may be standing within the 6ft radius, regardless of wind speed or direction. And the supporting of a fellow human being — would a pensioner who falls receive help? Or even accept help for fear of catching the invisible enemy?

There seems to be a rose tinted version of the British spirit, all coming together for fellow man, after decades of being told to look after number one, supporting others is bad.

I would like this to be a turning point for humanity, but I cannot see a long gap before we wage a war against those we are currently working with for a cure to the virus.

Stay safe.

Reflections 2020 w 18

The lockdown is starting to fade, or at least some counties are trying to phase it out.

My brother works as a painter, this week he started back at work, just in time for the news that he could have, if he was still on lockdown, gone fishing. I bet the air was blue when he heard that one.

As for me and Spot, we are taking advantage of being out longer than an hour, but having half that time taken by the allotment, and therefore a much shorter walk than normal, we are both stiff. Nowhere near the 8 miles 1-2 times a week and 5 for the rest we should be on.

I say we, but Spot has a K9 rucksack for when she needs/wants. At 11yrs old it is the best way to be out together whilst I get the greater distance to walk.

So as far as getting ready for walking Hadrians wall in August, we are far behind the cooking trials, I want to test them in the environment they will be eaten, with the same cooking methods. And we are far behind getting the miles in.

We are going to time the greater distances with full kit with the sun at this rate.

That is of course if Scotland is out of lockdown for the end of August.

One will aim for this to be so, it’s no harm if we are prepped but denied. This is part of the reason to try dehydrating ingredients and then vacuum packing.

They are to be a grab and go – should a camping trip come about. And the trips should be more common, as I attempt to reclassify a camp break from going to the coast. I would like to get to some more local spots one passes on the way to somewhere else.

Lets face it, if it’s piddling down, the view is pretty much the same no matter where you are. And if it is dry, then one hopes to appreciate and notice more of my immediate surroundings.

Reflections 2020 w17

Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives is apparently being changed to Stay alert, control the virus, save lives.

One has a couple of issues with this new message – at least the old one was clear on what to do.

Stay alert… if one was in bear country this would make sense, or in the sea where sharks swam close to shore, something you can see to be alert for. But how does one stay alert to an invisible by the eye virus? Without testing you cannot tell if someone has it on them or not, nor can you tell if you are touching an item that has it on it. So how do we stay alert?

Control the virus…if this virus was controllable , why are we in lockdown? Such an extreme reaction to the virus suggests it is to limit the spread because we do not have control over it. But now we can, just by being alert? Were we not alert enough before and during the lockdown, and if not, what training have we had that we are now qualified to be now?

The fact new cases are still appearing suggests that even in self isolation, social distancing and extra sanitising steps we are neither able to be alert, nor in control.

Because we cannot see it to avoid it. We just have to be lucky.

Stay safe.

Reflections 2020 w16

Well the lock down continues, and so does the daily routine, except a friend has had time off work, so we have played online. I had however forgotten how he like to collect in game tat on co op missions.

Now I will do the tasks and hunt for treasures that unlock in came advancements, but I cannot be bothered with the find 20 this to get a picture (not usable in game), but he is. Soooo, we have just spent over an hour searching for a secret missed on a level, with no use for the item when found. Personally one thinks it is just an end boss delay tactic. But we are socialising, and that is the main thing. We rarely get to do that normally.

On a random note…

I wonder what a tortoise thinks when you pick them up to move them, or even when they get lifted into/out of a box? Are they scared, or confused? Do they pray to their deity? Or are the usually slow(ish) movers thrill seekers getting a rush when it happens? Longing for the next time.