Saturday, October 21, 2006


A cycle along the muddy towpath up the river Avon towards Keynsham. Past the boathouse and shortly after, three rowing eights. On through puddles with no edges, spattered and speckled, to Hanham weir. Glad I got my sloes a couple of weeks ago, as the bushes in the field opposite the chocolate factory were almost bare. A whiff of coal smoke at the boatyard, anglers by the river bends, canoes upstream.
"What do you do with those?" enquires a woman by the wooden bridge over the inlet, where I pick rosehips. Emboldened by Hugh Fearnley-Wotsit's recipes in a weekend magazine, I spout off.

Caked and hot, nine miles from home, I've chanced my luck against a puncture from a blackthorn, hawthorn, thistle or flint.
I make my way up to the cyclepath, where it crosses the Avon and return home.

Make a few small bottles of rosehip syrup from 500 gms rosehips, 500 gms caster sugar and a litre of water. It really does taste like mango, as HF-W wrote.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Harvested 300 grams of sunflower seeds from the first giant head to be guillotined last week. Spread half of them out on a baking tray and popped them in the oven for a few minutes to roast, before shelling them. Managed to get about half a dozen plants to grow over 10 ft this year, having started them off at home in pots, away from the slugs and snails. In Poland, kids used to wander the streets with them, nibbling away at the fibonacci pattern.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Pumpkin Crimewatch

The digital camera has gone back, after a two year loan. I was not just starting to think it was mine, I was somewhere near the middle. In the meantime, here's some old echinacea.

Chilling to Boards of Canada, who, to the uninitiated, neither have boards, nor are they from Canada : Sublime instrumental, ambient, electronica...hip hop...luscious cloud pads floating on throbbing low frequency tectonic beats.

There's a pumpkin thief, or thieves, up the allotment, so I've harvested half of mine and brought them back home : That wasn't easy, seeing as I appear to have grown my body weight in pumpkin this year, and don't have a car. I managed to get two in a rucksack, and took a couple of trips....Hmm ; )

One guy told me that someone else thought he knew who the thief was. A woman I met by the water trough said she thought she knew who it was, though she was mainly distressed that her path to the trough had been blocked off by some women who she'd previously, politely, asked not to.

When she came up behind me, I thought she was going to have a go at me for harvesting late raspberries from an unattended plot. I'd been crouching down, with the cat sitting around my shoulders (it's what she does) when I heard a voice saying, "You just can't trust some people can you !" Later, she gave me some - lots - of plum tomatoes, bless. What with everything else, I hardly had room.

Loads of runner beans, still. Tatties too.
A resurgence of sweet peas. Which is nice.

It's not been a good week for technology - my second Epson printer died ; (
I spent about 8 hours trying to clean the print heads - they get clogged if you don't use it every week, and I'd probably not needed it for a month. A website I found, recommended setting a timer to make it come on every day, if you go away on holiday. That's ridiculous. Anyway - I can get the same one again - to use with my old Macs - second-hand from EBay, for around £25 inc p&p, or troll off to Maplins, Tesco, wherever - or online - for a new USB inkjet/b&w laser, for the PC, for around £40.

I had to email a friend some things I urgently needed printing - which involved having to finally use Microsoft Word on the PC, which was a pain, after effortlessly gliding around with Quark on the Macs for years.

For no reason, here's a photo I took of a Baltic swan.
(And then mashed up in Photoshop)

Getting my own back on my neighbours now - who spent the day, from dawn til dusk, knocking things about. Boards Of Canada give way to Deaf Center : We're talking piano, orchestra, tea cups, disturbing creaks, bass frequencies and a hint of electronica. It does get a bit dark at times...this being one of them :-(

Sh1t! Am I being burgled?
Where did I put those pumpkins?

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Yumm...made some more redcurrant jelly today.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Allotment I

Up the allotment early today, as there was rain forecast for the afternoon. Seem to have about eight little pumpkins on three plants. I've heard about taking off the excess flowers, once you've got some pumpkins set, as this encourages them to grow bigger, but, I've also heard it suggested that it's better to have lots of little ones, as it's more practical for the kitchen. Still, I'll have to try to grow at least one biggun, for the Halloween lamp ; )

The plums are literally falling off the trees at the moment : I've already had about 3 kgs and there are plenty more. Met my neighbour the other day, on whose plot two of the trees are rooted, who encouraged me to help myself. I gave her some rocket in return. Glad to have permission, as I'd already been taking the ones which are overhanging my shed. Now I reckon I can take a few more, especially as I had a chat with another neighbour today, on the way out, who said it was a pity that so many were going to waste.
Already got some plum brandy on the go and a couple of batches of jam. Going to stew some more today and stick them in the freezer.

The gladioli have lasted well, thanks to all the watering and weeding we've done. At times, the bindweed has threatened to strangle them and during the hot weather, the ground around them was dry and cracked.
I suppose they've helped to attract the bees and other winged insects, which have pollenated the pumpkins nearby.

The word gladioli is related to gladiator and the Latin for sword. Didn't Morrissey dance about with some on Top Of The Pops ?

The runner bean plants which survived the slugs and snails have grown very tall and I've been harvesting for several weeks. I should have put a crossbeam in, to give them more support and stop them growing out of reach ; )
I've been chopping most of them for the freezer, but today I'm having a load of them with butter, potatoes and mint, topped with cranberry jelly.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Teatar Panike

I've recently completed 'Controlling Mastema', a second collaborative project with Canadian poet, Patrick Woodcock. Our first collaboration in 1999, entitled 'Athelia & other stories', came about as a result of meeting whilst both living in Koszalin, Poland.

Four tracks are currently posted at the Teatar Panike MySpace site :

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Bristol to London to Athens to Paros : Train to Reading, change train to Woking, lift to Heathrow, flight to Milan, change plane to Athens, coach & walk to Hotel Aristoteles. Metro to Piraeus, ferry to Paros - via 4 hr detour to Nafplio, due to 'a medical emergency', although we never saw the body, or an ambulance...

There was little to eat on the ferry, apart from overpriced crisps and muffins. The five hour trip turned into an eight hour cruise. I knew I'd had enough, when I heard an American ask an Albanian, "So, do you like being free?" It was dark and chilly as we docked at Parakia. The local meltemi wind had come for the night

As we disembarked from the delayed ferry at 1.30 a.m., we were met by an expectant crowd, one of whom, Timos, offered us a room nearby, with a balcony and en-suite bathroom, for 25 Euros a night. It seemed like a good deal and I was in no position - though the mood - to argue. At first, I was suspicious when he took our bags and put them into a minibus. If it was just down the road, why the wheels ? Once I'd dropped my urban British paranoia and we'd been taken down the road to the hotel, I started to relax.

Took a bus to Naoussa in the north, then hitched to Santa Maria, where we'd heard there was a good surfing beach and the possibility of water skiing. Loaded up with bread, cakes and juice from a bakery, then bought tomatoes from a man by his van, as we walked out of town. Much as I hate intruding into peoples' lives with a camera, I had to snap a woman with a barrow full of garlic.
Stopped off at a beach on the way and had a dip and some lunch. Afterwards, the walk to Santa Maria was further than we'd been led to believe, so we started hitching. Before long, we got a lift from a man who told us that a factory by the shore, was a power station, with an undersea cable linked to the rest of The Cyclades. When we got there, beautiful though it was, it wasn't a surfing beach, but a windsurfing beach and we were too early in the season for waterskiing. Amongst a group of half a dozen windsurfers, a labrador dog was enjoying rides out and back, though liked to be lifted back onto the shore to avoid getting wet paws.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Coastguard !

Walking down Watery Lane to the beach at Studland, we were investigating badger sets up on the bank, when the coastguard flew over.

The appearance of the beach has changed over the 35 years I've been visiting. You don't always get such a great view of The Isle Of Wight.