Last week the government announced it is going to ban the sale of peat compost from 2024. Which is good because peat is a precious resource and the vast majority of compost does not need to contain peat. But it’s bad if you grow plants that have evolved to grow in peat bogs, like me. I tried a peat substitute called Thrive a few years ago for germinating seeds and it was rubbish. The seeds germinated fine, then grew for a little while, then just stopped and eventually died. Meanwhile the ones in peat kept going.

So I’m trying again!

These are some Venus Flytrap seedlings which were germinated in peat. I think they’re about a year old but I’m not exactly organised when it comes to this stuff.

The ones on the left are in coir, which is some kind of coconut by-product and supposedly* an eco friendly peat substitute, and the ones on the right are in sphagnum, which is/can be a beautiful moss (not so much here, but hopefully after the sun gets on it).

My prediction is that the ones in sphagnum will do fine, and the ones in coir won’t.

Here are a few other planties. I’m pleased with the plant in the first photo, which is a Sarracenia Luecophylla. It’s been very slow growing and doesn’t produce many pitchers, but it’s 70cm tall this year. I have a few divisions of it now but this is the biggest. I liked how the colours on the second photo came out.


*I am sceptical that coir’s real life production is either eco-friendly or ethical, but that’s for another time.

Work and BSG

Today was one of those days at work where you find out that something is URGENTLY needed TODAY. The thing that was needed was completed over a year ago, but it has never been tested in real usage, UNTIL TODAY. And today it is urgent. Despite being completely ignored for the past year. I do get frustrated with this. A few weeks ago there was a similar scenario where a fix for something was urgently required for a demo at 2PM. Well maybe if you have a demo at 2PM, don’t deploy an untested new release at 11AM?

Battlestar Galactica spoilers ahead!

So I’ve now finished S3 of BSG. To be honest it’s dragging. Season 1 and the first half of 2 (up to the end of the Pegasus/Cain storyline) was gripping, but since then it’s meandered a lot towards interesting ideas via some extremely boring ones.

I liked the trial subplot and I liked the lawyer. I liked Lee sticking to his innate sense of right and wrong. He and Helo are quite consistent in that, while some of the other characters oscillate all over the place and become unbelievable and dislikeable (Adama, Roslyn).

But where are we now? Starbuck died, and I didn’t care at all. Because firstly I don’t find her to be a nice person at all, and secondly I didn’t think she was really dead. Now she’s back again, wow didn’t see that one coming.

I’ve been very intrigued by who the final five will turn out to be, but after four of them have just been revealed I feel a bit “well, okay?”. What bearing does it have on the story? It just seemed a bit pointless. And tying it all to a Bob Dylan song was really strange and took me out of the BSG universe while I was watching it. Maybe Bob Dylan is the final cylon. Maybe it works better if you’re not familiar with the song, but the line “said the joker to the thief” is so distinctive that you’re immediately taken out of the program and into whatever relationship you have with the song.

I don’t know, to me it feels like we’re entering Lost territory where the writers have lost sight of the original intrigue and are making things up as they go along and stop focusing on keeping a tight storyline.


I have signed up to a half marathon in August. There is one in my town (!) for the first time ever, so how could I not? I hope it goes ahead. The last half I signed up for was just as COVID was breaking out, and it got cancelled. In some ways I’m in better running shape than ever, because I’ve been running half marathon distances every Sunday for the past couple of months. In other ways, with the lack of Parkrun and any other timed events, I haven’t run fast for a long time. With Parkrun it used to be that every Saturday morning was a 5k tempo run.

So…. I did some intervals this morning. 6x500m with 60s rest in between. The first interval was about a 4:20/km pace, which considering I used to do an entire 5k at a 4:00/km pace seemed a bit underwhelming, but the others hovered around 4:00/km so it’s not too bad. Though I do vaguely remember somewhere around the 4th or 5th recovery period feeling like I was going to cry and/or throw up (I didn’t do either).

Since I was worrying about on Monday about the fact my manager had casually mentioned about returning to the office in June, there has been a timely discussion thread on Hacker News about “how to negotiate continuing to work remotely”.

There’s a remarkably insightful quote towards the top of the page, which says “The act of trying to force someone to do something, whether by (implied) threat, logic, emotional manipulation, or whatever, can mortally wound a relationship making getting a concession you want moot.“. I realised that it’s up to them at this stage. They’re looking to change the terms of our relationship at my expense, so they need to figure out how to approach it and open the discussion without damaging the relationship.


My boss today casually mentioned that the managing director had casually mentioned that he could get everyone back into the office in June. 🤔

I don’t really know how this is going to go, because at the moment my response is “nope” . I mean, I haven’t been vaccinated yet?! But also…

The thing with commuting is that it’s just terrible. It takes up about two hours a day and it costs about £1000 per year. If my employer suddenly says “hey, we want you to work an extra ten hours per week and take a £1000 pay cut”, well, no thanks.

But then there’s also the salary review issue. I’m now 12 months overdue a salary review and am actually due another one just about now. I haven’t worked out how to phrase it yet, but I won’t be going back into the office before they have settled the last 12 months.

My mum thinks I should send an email to the MD and ask about it, but eh, I don’t know. I prefer the idea of waiting until his expectations are clear before I set out my position. I don’t know how it will go anyway, because if he just makes a demand that everyone comes back to the office now then he’s at risk of multiple people leaving all at the same time, and there aren’t many of us to start with.

Though I do wonder how much the salary issue is just an excuse for me. There are much more important factors in my employment, which are: 1) Commuting is awful, 2) I’m an introvert and working from home is far better for my mental health than working in an office, and 3) I’m bored in this job and if finding a new job wasn’t such a hassle I’d have left already.


I’m on holiday this week. The weather has been terrible but that’s good because the lack of rainfall over the past months had started to become a problem. We have a pond that was starting to look very low, and I was also getting worried I was going to have to start rationing water for my plants (of which I have many).

The plants aren’t really doing great, because the weather has been quite unusual. We had a cold winter, then it warmed up a lot and they all woke up (great!) then it went really cold again and a lot of them went back into winter dormancy. Then as it started warming up again we had weeks and weeks without any rain, and quite a lot of sun, so some were getting dried out, even though the temperatures have been pretty low for this time of year. All in all it’s a very late growing season.

Though the plants indoors are doing well. I will take some pictures soon. I have a Sarracenia in the conservatory which has just put up a 70cm pitcher, and when it opens fully I’ll probably post some photos.

So I’m very pleased about all the rain we’re having at the moment, and every time it does rain I’m outside draining off the (connected) water butt into the other (non-connected) water butts (one of which is actually a 240litre wheelie bin).

I’ve also been trying to finish an app I half-wrote a couple of years ago. It’s a sound recorder that uploads to Google Drive. I started creating it because I used to record little things on my guitar a lot, and it was always such a pain to get the files onto my PC. Then I also had a great idea for something else, which is a website where you can ‘watch’ a specific model of running shoes and be notified when they are available in your size for less than a certain price. When you run a lot shoes can get expensive.