Monday, May 24, 2010

Peas, Beans & Bishops

Here are the peas. Can you spot 'em?

Mangetout. Securely fenced in to keep they pigeons off. So securely fenced in I doubt I'll be able to get at them when they're ready. And the next batch were sown yesterday; successional sowings 'r us! Traditionally, I'm rubbish at successional sowings so I'm trying harder this year. I sow them in a half-round gutter, then just slide 'em in.

Beans are a different story altogether, although still legumes. Obviously. My runner beans have been very lethargic this year. sown three weeks ago & only just germinating. Very poor, chaps. Come on; arse in gear please. But even that is better than the Climbing French, who have without exception turned into Caving French. Well, they ain't come up so they musta gone down? So I've had to start again from scratch, very late, with those. Perfidious French, huh?

And as for the Bishops? Well, here's the Bishop of Llandaff.
He's a dahlia but He never showed at all last year, or the year before, when I planted the beggar outdoors in the True Sod. So this year I gave him comfy quarters in the One True Greenhouse and at least this year he's shown his face. I have two more of him lurking around and waiting to see what will happen. Lurking Bishops? Isn't there a Monty Python sketch somewhere there? Spanish Inquisition?

Oh, and I've cut the hedge.

Neat or what. Chuffing hard work though. I have a petrol hedgecutter, which is dead good but ye gods it's heavy. Like carrying a small motorbike around with you.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Travelling vicariously

I've been all over the world this week, starting in Abyssinia, and the Danakil Depression. Later I went to the Hindu Kush and the marshes of southern Iraq. Along the way I called in at Austin, Texas and Saltaire, Yorkshire, and the CAMRA Pub of the Year (twice), before ending at Heeley & District Allotment Society. Crikey.

To explain, for my 60th birthday Wilma Wilbury bought me membership of the Royal Geographical Society.. They have a lecture programme every Monday evening, and last Monday's was by the biographer of Sir Wilfred Thesiger. I read Arabian Sands, Thesiger's masterwork on the crossing of the Empty Quarter, when I was 13 and it's never left me. Thesiger was born in Abyssinia in 1910 and, well you can work out the rest for yourselves.

Austin, Texas was courtesy of the Hot Club of Cowtown, gigging at the Victoria Hall, Saltaire. I'm in danger of (danger of? I am!) becoming a groupie. Go see 'em.

The Kelham Island Tavern is in Sheffield's "Beer Alley" and the Heeley & District Allotment Society Plant Sale is courtesy of my fellow-blogger, Michelle. Good to meet you this morning.

Phew; I need a rest after all that. I am 60 you know!!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Not too bad.... the allotment either.

Massive strimmage yesterday left it reasonably tidy but today saw a major dig-out of one of my many bindweed plantations. I got two barrowloads of bindweed out of one bed. But it was worth it; I was able to plant the first batch of salad leaves. Red Cos, Green Salad Bowl & Lollo Rossa lettuce, along with some Pac Choi, all suitably pigeon-proofed.

Rest of it doesn't look too bad either, if you ignore the big pile of manky old sticks due for burning.

The Factory

At this time of year a greenhouse is just a seed and plant factory. I'm just soooo glad I've got one again.

Monday, May 03, 2010

On this day.....

.....9 years ago I flew to New York. The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust had given me a grant of £6000 to fund a 2 month journey following in the footsteps of David Douglas, botanist and plant collector (1799-1834).

I can truthfully say it changed, and continues to change, my life. Regular readers of this blog over the last couple of years will have seen some of those adventures and subsequent trips.

My great regret in connection with this is that my father never knew about it. He died 4 years before I set off, but would have loved to hear about it. He hardly travelled at all and in many ways I travel in his name. Tomorrow is his birthday; he would have been 95.

Love that Lovage

Now that's what I call Lovage. Really getting into its stride now, 3 years on and 3 feet high.

More Spuds

Well, we like new potatoes.

Tatty Bags

Here's the cunning plan to have Jersey Royals (or International Kidneys, to give them their non-protected name) on tap. Looking forward to them already.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

So cold

Today was the start of this year's cycling
11 miles round Rother Valley Country Park and the Transpennine Trail. But so cold.

These chaps looked cold too.


I've been partialled!

Last Friday was my last working Friday. I've taken partial retirement and now work three days a week - Tues, Weds, Thurs.

Summer is coming, I'm only working three days a week, what's not to like?