Monday, July 27, 2009

Big Green Dispersal

Symptomatic of the times in which we live, The Big Green Gathering, near Cheddar, has been cancelled. It appears that additional conditions were forced upon the organisers at the last minute by the local council and police. It's such a chilled out, peaceful, well-established festival - the first I took my daughter to - that I'm surprised it's been smothered. Until I read suggestions that a degree of politics has come into play, relating to the Climate Camp and Plane Stupid campaigns.

Meanwhile... the cost of public transport continues to increase as the cost of motoring falls, the car scrappage scheme encourages manufacturing and consumerism over servicing and maintenance, wind turbines are regarded with more horror than nuclear power stations and the Bristol Hourbike scheme doesn't look like being a roaring success, or even getting off the ground.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Groundhog Day







A bit like Groundhog Day (which I watched again the other night) up at the allotment, where the season comes around full circle again. It's a year since I've been using a phone camera to record the growth and harvest of things and at this time of year, the last crops have been planted and there's nothing to do but wait for fruition, harvest, store and do it all over again, hopefully learning something along the way.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

No 'R' in July



No 'R' in the month, so rhubarb must be in season. Unless you force it and crop as early as March and get greedy and pick too much in May. This plant's recovered OK and will produce another crop next month.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Hoya



Four years after taking a cutting, a hoya flower emerged today, looking like a cake decoration.

Iris from Holland



Close on the heels of the oxalis bulbs, the Dutch Iris are now in flower.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Borlottis



The riper ones are prettier, like aniseed balls, but it's not immediately apparent from the outside what you'll find on the inside.

Black Gold Of The Sun



First Runners



Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Streets Apart



Bob Hoskins, Tim Spall, Emma Friel and David Bradley - the bloke who plays Stemroach in Ideal - what an acting masterclass in The Street (Mondays BBC1). Oddly, it's made by ITV for the Beeb and despite its success, the production company has already been closed down / sold off, so Jimmy McGovern was telling me on Front Row (BBC R4) the other night.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Old Skool



So, after much pfaffing around with other music software, such as Garage Band and Ableton Live, I've reverted to using old MIDI Cubase software from the last century, versions of which I've been using since 1991, running on a 1997 Powerbook 3400c that had a friend of my daughter's in fits of giggles, as she'd never seen such an antique piece of functioning technology. I didn't introduce her to 25 year old Roland.

It brings the Akai S2000, Novation Supernova and aforementioned Roland out of retirement too, leaving plugins out of the mix until the mastering stage.



Not forgetting the old Joanna too, which sometimes gets forsaken for all the knob twiddling of digital audio.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Rack 'Em Up









Flowery Twats



For those of you who don't know and those who've forgotten, Flowery Twats is an anagram of Fawlty Towers.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Oxalis



The oxalis bulbs that I planted in March have flowered, if only briefly, as they've been battered by high winds and torrential rain.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Celery



Celery likes a lot of water, so what with all the downpours recently, I'm expecting this to grow to about a metre in height.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mesembryanthemum

The Subtle Nonce

Philip Pullman, author of some tedious fantasy fiction, is so far removed from reality that he doesn't see why he should undergo a background CRB check before reading to schoolchildren. The fact that anyone else who comes into contact with children, either as a volunteer or employee, such as sports coaches, music technology tutors, even parents - is required to undergo a check, seems lost on him.

Sure, it's a sad indictment of our society that everyone is treated with suspicion, even if the ultimate objective is child protection, but to start bleating on, as he, Michael Morpurgo and others have done, moaning about a £64 registration fee, shows that he's so out of touch that he's irrelevant and probably shouldn't be invited into schools in the first place.

Badger-Proof Fence



Well, it might slow them down before the guards come running.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Odd



It was one of those scenes you see played out countless times on the telly. I was woken at around 4 a.m. by noises coming from downstairs. At first, I dozed off again, my brain convincing me that it was probably the neighbours. But then I woke again with a jolt. There was definitely something downstairs and something had just been knocked over.

Confused more than frightened, I got out of bed and crept downstairs. At the bottom, there was a picture frame lying on the last step. I put a light on and saw that there was a jar of flowers on the floor of the living room, water spilt over the carpet. A few ornaments had tumbled from a shelf. In the kitchen, there were things on the floor too.

As I tried to make sense of things, something scurried in my peripheral vision in the direction of the closed back door. I followed whatever it was, but it didn't want to be found. I reasoned that it was probably a cat, although not one that I knew. It must have come in earlier through an open window and was now trapped. I opened the back door and stepped back. I couldn't hear or see anything.

Still not 100% sure that it wasn't a rat, or something more wild than a cat, I stepped back and waited. Nothing happened. In the end, I left the back door ajar, closed all the others and went back to bed.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Charity Begins At Home

I was helping my daughter with her homework. There was a knock on the door. I leaned out of an upstairs window to see a young guy with a clipboard and badge. He seemed to be collecting for a charity and mentioned kids in local schools. I told him that I was sorry that I couldn't afford to contribute, neither could I spare the time to talk as I was in the middle of something, but if he had a leaflet about it, I'd be interested to read it.

He didn't have a leaflet, but undeterred, he continued, telling me that they found that usually children's education was something that was left to mum. At this point, I stopped him and bade him goodbye, explaining what I'd been doing before he'd interrupted me.

Later, I found no reference online to the charity that he claimed to represent.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Garlic



Not much of a garlic crop this year. A lot of it succumbed to white rot or never really got going.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Red Onions



Harvested half of the red onions. Didn't have any problem with slugs - unlike my friend in Stroud - although some failed to swell to more than twice the size of the original sets. Don't know whether it was patchy soil fertility or dodgy sets.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Flora



Aloe Vera



Dahlia & Hebe



Olive



Sweet pea

Friday, July 10, 2009

Prize Vegetable



Despite appearances, this chap isn't having a dump. But he has just dumped rubbish in the hedgerow of the cyclepath, opposite this house in Clay Bottom. He might be the owner, tenant or gardener and he may or may not be the person who has been dumping household and garden waste here and on the nearby path up to Rajani's warehouse for many months.

Below: Some of the rubbish dumped on the path to Rajani's earlier this year.





Thursday, July 09, 2009

Carpet Moth ?



Looking a bit like a stealth bomber, this carpet moth turned up in the garden. Unless I've jumped to the wrong assumption again ?

Lost In Music



Read the very entertaining musical memoir 'Lost In Music' by Giles Smith, one time member of 80s band Cleaners From Venus now, disappointingly, a motoring correspondent for The Grauniad . I say disappointingly, because now he spends his time and words describing cars as 'sex on wheels' whereas once he was a bit of an anarcho hippie, rode a bicycle and was excited by Trevor Horn and XTC.

Very funny book though. As John Peel wrote in the blurb, "If you have ever watched a band play or bought a pop record, you should read it." I wish I'd read it thirteen years ago when it came out.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Fodder



Very productive time for the allotment. Harvesting lots of new season kale, carrots, broad beans, lettuces, courgettes, new potatoes, artichokes, onions, garlic and beetroot.



Beans, tomatoes and sweet corn just around the corner.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Datura/Brugmansia



aka Angel's Trumpet, Devil's Trumpet, Thornapple, Jimson Weed - a member of the Solanaceae (Nightshade) family and relative of the tomato. Not that you'd confuse it with a tomato, unless you ate some of it, in which case you could believe or do anything.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Sticky Wicket



How would you rate their chances if the Norwegians turned up in Cardiff this week to play cricket against the Aussies ? It would be as absurd as, say, three Brits trying to race the Norwegians to the South Pole. Even if there was time for a few weeks in the indoor nets at Tromso, I suspect some of the Norwegians might still have trouble putting their pads on correctly. Their cause wouldn't be helped if a third of the team pulled out at the last moment for a prior fishing engagement and the remainder discovered that their wives were pregnant.

Still, it might be worth watching, just to see how Norwegian batsmen cope with late swing and whether they burst into tears when given out LBW. A bit like On Thin Ice (BBC2).

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Test for Onions



Graham Onions was called up to the squad to face the Australians at Cardiff this week, which reminded me to visit the allotment and harvest some of my crop.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

New Berries Please



Leaving behind the daily strawberry harvests of June and on to the summer raspberry crop. Picked about half a kilo today.

Courgettes