On urban gardening

This is what my garden looked like when I moved in a couple of years ago. It had recently been cleared of brambles, and had been the foxes home as no one had used it for years. One of the first things I did was buy a potting shed as I just really, really wanted a shed of my own. My original plan was to have a small patio in front of the shed and some kind of ‘cottage garden’ with native pollinator and bird friendly plants at the other end. I even went so far as to find a load of terracotta paving slabs for free and stacked them up in a corner ready for getting around to laying a patio. Yeah, that never happened. As I have said before, I just couldn’t quite muster the enthusiasm to do much of anything with the space for the first year and

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On black mould and the energy crisis

One of the reasons I don’t do much more than look at the headlines of mainstream media, is because when I read the actual articles, I usually get enraged by the logical incoherence of the article in the context of the overall narrative framing of the moment. For instance, we have the tragic story of Awaab Ishak, who, a coroner has determined, died as a result of black mould in his home. Black mould is a serious health hazard, especially to people with respiratory conditions, and plagues a great many (rental) properties in the UK. One of the properties I lived in was so damp that maggots had somehow gotten into the foundations of the flat and literally ate their way out of the walls. Yes, you read that right: maggots came out of my walls. The bedroom was particularly affected, with two of the walls being so damp that they were

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On Sunday service at the spa

Spa is Life. Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to get really fucking hot. May we accept the wet and dry heat with serenity, And have the wisdom to know when we need to leave the room for a rest break. May we warm the very marrow of our bones and the cockles of our hearts, And as we slough our dead skin down the plug hole, May our skin be renewed with a gleaming vigour. Living for Sunday, enjoying one hot room at a time, Accepting the challenge of the plunge pool as a pathway to health and vitality, Taking it’s icy embrace like a woman, or man, or themtheyithan. Trusting that the weekly ritual of rest and relaxation Will make all things all right. By surrendering our Sundays to your hot-cold glory, We can be happy on this day, And spend the next six days in anticipation Of

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On lived experience in the academy

Lived experience and academic knowledge are not the same thing; in fact, you could comfortably posit them as diametrically opposed. This is not to say that lived experience does not belong in the academy, but simply to make a distinction between the two forms of knowledge. I do not see them as competing, and in the best of worlds, I think they are mutually supportive, but they are not the same thing. This may seem obvious to some, but there has been a rising trend for some time now to uncritically incorporate lived experience into the academy in ways I think are problematic. I do not want to create a hierarchy here and in fact, I think it is the tacit or unconscious acceptance of a hierarchy which has created the problem in the first place. So, when I make the distinctions I am making, think of them as domains separated

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On microbial blessings

I have decided that god is definitely a microbe as things are really looking up for me since dedicating my life in service of the microbial world. Not only did I catch sight of the goldfinches one day this week for the first time since the bastard council cut down the rowan trees, but a handsome young man asked me if I wanted help carrying my shopping and plants home today. I said no, obviously, because HELLO I’M NOT A PENSIONER, but still, it was nice to see my future mapped out for me like that. In other news, my King Stropharia spawn arrived today, so I made a bed for it. This is it after fox-proofing (before fox-proofing, it looked a bit like I had buried someone). I thought I had more chicken wire than I did, so I had to improvise with whatever I could find in the shed.

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