Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Non but the Brave

We left home full of enthusiasm thinking it was a bit chilly but never mind, we'll soon warm up when we get started, dig up a few parsnips to roast for supper, muck up a bit... well, we passed Julie and Chris on our way up to park the car and thought it can't be too bad out there, Julie and Chris are working away.
They are now our heroes. It was bl***y freezing out there on the Hill. We managed to dig up a giant parsnip and a couple more, and then we are ashamed to say, we quit. Bri had strained his back already and I had got so stiff I couldn't take my gloves off. We will try again when the temperature rises to oooh, say at least a good eight degrees. Until then its back to the quilting frame in front of the fire for me, and back to a warm study for Bri. Meanwhile Julie and Chris have all our admiration for carrying on the true spirit of allotmenteering.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Age Renew My ****!

This week I had to buy some new make up so I bought the one that promised to make fine lines disappear and it actually said ‘makes you look five years younger’. Well, it made me look thirty odd years younger, it gave me teenage spots to go with the fine lines. When it comes to feeling younger in an instant, it has to be the call of the wild, the open air. Yesterday was the first day that it hasn’t been freezing, raining, snowing for more than twelve hours and it must have struck hope into the heart of every gardener. It almost felt like Spring. Bri and I couldn’t resist a quick trip down the plot to check the shed (which needs tidying) and we was thinking Oh No! It will be an horrendous task to bring the plot back to life. No! it was a wonderful surprise yo us to see that there hadn’t been mayhem and destruction from the weather. There are still carrots leeks and parsnips to be had and obviously no weeds because of the cold. There’s plenty of muck to spread, oh what joy...Max Factor can keep their makeup full of empty promises. Forage renewal and feeling and looking younger, it’s fresh air and the plot all the way for me, Bri looked good to me on the way home too while we made plans for next weeks visit if the weather holds.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Incredible Journey

When we first started our time travelling, we thought it would be fun to do, something to amuse us. How wrong can you be? This journey became obsessive and we really couldn't say why at the time except it was interesting, full of surprises, turned us into detectives, made us think outside the box and gave us a great deal of pleasure. The results have now made us realise how much the past creeps into the present. I, for one, have found out why my Dad always took me and my brother to Bacons End at the weekend to see the little piggies. We went every Sunday religiously without question because it was how we spent time together. I found out why I still have to look into every hedge that has a hole in it to find birds nests and can recognise their eggs and I can name most trees in Britain by their leaves. I know now why we walked down every lane looking for wild flowers, crab apples, oak apples, hedgehogs. water voles and harvest mice which we always seemed to find. I know why my brother and I are tree huggers it is because my whole family came from the country whether it be Shropshire, Etwall or Bedgelert, it was a natural way for them to spend their time. It is obviously built into our genes. We were also miners of either gold or slate and our nephew, the geologist, is still in the rocks, he looks for oil. The journey continues...
Brian, has found out why music is so important to his life. It has been in his genes since 1837, each generation has had something to do with entertainment and the theatre. He too can't pass a musical instrument without trying it out. He can't have a shower without singing, no matter how very early it is, believe me! Bri is also an urban cowboy through and through the only concession being the lotty, but not surprising when we found all of his roots in the centre of London or Paris. It is really sad coming to the end of all these discoveries, but we do know ourselves a little better for these forays into our pasts. For instance I know I would be really at home in Lark Rise, Bri on the other hand in Candleford.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Shipping Forecast

Way back in the 1950's when I was a lad and dinosaurs still roamed the Earth, we didn't have television. (You poor soul, I hear you cry). However, we didn't worry because we had the wireless to listen to. We used to huddle around it as if it was a fire and would keep us warm the closer we got to it. (As it was full of valves and wires, it probably did) Now, as peculiar as this may seem, we used to love to listen to the shipping forecast which was given out at the end of the nightly news bulletins. This weeks obsession with the weather has reminded us of this. It was the names of places that we had never heard of and had no idea where they were such as Finistere, Dogger Bank, Cromaties, Fair Isle ( I thought that was a type of pullover) German Bight etc which fascinated us. What makes this even more strange, is that we live in the middle of the country therefore the shipping forecast had no relevance to us whatsoever, just far away places with strange sounding names.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Are We Stir Crazy Or What?

OK, what is everybody else up to this week who haven't had to struggle to work? We are sitting on our reupholstered settee watching snowy Christmas movies, eating Christmas chocolates and drinking lots of tea (sometimes with lebkuchen as well) We didn't even know what lebkuchen were exactly until Plum opened her new musical box, which was full of them. It plays Let It Snow! How prophetic is that? We haven't been entirely idle, however, we have now almost reached a point in time that we can't go any further back with our family trees unless we go on field trips to dig out parish records. We have got as far back as 1800 with each branch of our families. We are also finding little stories about many of them along the way. If only we could find photographs for all of them. We have spent this afternoon feeling guilty because we are not doing the jobs we should be doing down the plot but it must be like Siberia up on the Hill. We have watched the weather forecast and we have another five days holiday next week and so we suppose we will start on a jigsaw, maybe, play Boggle, maybe, quilt a little, play guitar a little, maybe, or just be as lazy as this week! Oh boy, do we love snow! But going out doesn't seem to be an option! This snowy weather is making us punchy, I think we may need rescuing... eventually.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Snow Cat

As I took this picture of Molly this morning it was hard to believe that just a few minutes before, she was scared of the flakes falling from the sky with no reason she could fathom. She begged to go out to see for real so I put my coat on and went with her. Oh what fun I had with her as she skidded and chased snow flakes and snowballs in turn. I am now having a job to keep her in the warm and with the forecast of more to come I am just hoping it won't be so deep she will disappear as she is still so tiny but obviously fearless!! I love the snow too so the next few days promise lots of fun together. Bri can watch - not a snow purr-son.! OOhhh I just looked out of the window and it has started to snow again, where's Molly?....

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Simplification... the name of the game. Over the last three years,Plum and I have tried all manner of things down on the lottie, a lot of which haven't quite worked out. For instance, we tried growing beans and sweet peas on a wigwam and found that they became too tangled together to be able to pick them. We have grown tomato plants in pots outdoors only to have them taken by the dreaded blight. We have tried growing brassicas under netting but, as soon as the plants reached the top, the butterflies laid eggs all over them. The' mini' pumkins we grew were, indeed, mini, however, the foliage certainly wasn't and ran amok all over the plot. The list seems to be endless, however, it is all part of the learning curve when you take on anything that you aren't familiar with.
This year, come Spring again, it's all going to be different! I have a plan. A simple plan in that we are going to grow less of everything. One of the problems with allottmenteering is that, you always plant more than you need 'just in case' and then when everything grows, you have a glut. We will have to hold our nerve this year, plant less and hope that it all germinates. Fingers crossed! Also there will be no elaborate constructions involving canes, netting, fleece, wood etc. All the veg will be put straight into the ground rather than pots etc.This makes for much lower maintenance as we have found that using the mini greenhouses and pots has meant that, whether or not we had the time to go to the plot,we had to to make sure that nothing dried out. The other thing is that we will start planting later in the year than we have been doing and only grow the veg that we know we like to eat rather than experimenting and then finding we don't like the taste of the results. There you have it then. What could be more straightforward than this? Watch this space and see how we get on this year, you never know, it might just work!!!