Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Last Half Dozen

"What? You're closing down for good?" I asked the young guy at the grocer's shop today. I'd assumed that they were just closing a bit early for Easter and as usual before going on holiday were selling the stock at reduced prices. His boss had married a Lithuanian woman a year or two back - a photo of them in wedding garb at the Clifton Suspension Bridge had appeared in the local paper - and they'd told me a bit about their honeymoon in Egypt.

Mainly we just talked about eggs and egg boxes. Every so often I'd return a dozen empty boxes and depending on who was serving, I'd get a small discount. The boxes cost him 8p each so he was more than happy to knock 35p off each time I recycled a little stack of them, reducing the cost of half a dozen of the city's finest and largest free range eggs to £1. As it was, I'd gone along today for a 20 litre bag of compost that I could just about stagger home with over my shoulder.

"Oh I'm gutted for you" I told the young guy when he said that it all had to go by the end of the day. The hastily scrawled sign glimpsed out of the corner of the eye didn't bear looking at, but it instantly brought to mind the Manic Street Preachers' 'Everything Must Go.'

I easily quashed any feelings of schadenfreude at the fact that my compost was now going to be half price but I did peer towards the egg shelf and see the very last box and wonder what the feck I was going to do for eggs from now on. I made some small talk about the eggs coming from Bridgewater, but the young guy didn't know. Where was his boss? I desperately wanted to see him. "You sort me out and I'll sort you out" he'd said. I liked talk like that. And where was the beautiful Lithuanian woman, whose hair turned from blonde to black at some point?

All gone. End of a chapter. Well done all you numpties who bought all your eggs and veg and fruit from Tesco 50 metres away. Old Market and Lawrence Hill can support half a dozen massage parlours and sex shops but Church Road can't support one fruit and veg shop.

Backwards evolution?


Email to Bristol City Council :

Dear xxxx,

When I wrote to you three weeks ago, you complained of being overstretched as your colleague was on sick leave.

I hope the situation is better now.

I've just been attempting to clear dog faeces from the pavement directly outside my elderly neighbour's front gate and it feels timely to point out that you would be even more overstretched if members of the public like myself didn't clear away such mess and flytipped rubbish from the neighbourhood themselves.

Each time I pass the alleyway behind Saffron House in Whitehall it is strewn with flytipped rubbish but I have delayed informing you so as to give you a quiet life. I have not complained about the piles of dog faeces around the neighbourhood lately for the same reason.

However, feeling somewhat overstretched myself, disgusted at the state of the streets and with my own employment to occupy me, I thought it time to communicate with you.

If you'd like to give me the contact details of a superior officer at the council, I'll gladly write to them and plead the case for you to be given more support and resources to carry out the difficult job that you have to do.


(I'm doing you all a favour by not including photos of dog turds)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Harry Carpenter

Harry Carpenter the iconic BBC sports commentator who died this week aged 84 was a fellow South Londoner, born in South Norwood, who gave up some of his time back in the 1980s to give a talk to a packed classroom at my school. Most of those present either wanted to see a legend or to be sports commentators. Or both.

He was much parodied on TV at the time and I remember that we had to constrain ourselves from doing his trademark grin at each other. He sat with a box of his index cards on the table in front of him and taught us the importance of preparation.

He wouldn't have needed a computer because over the years he'd digested so many of the index cards that he'd developed the RAM and processing power of a computer anyway. And the glitches just made it more interesting.

An ITV crew tried to interview Frank Bruno once and he said, "You're not Harry. I want Harry. Where's Harry?"

Thanks Harry, so long.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chris Hutt

Shocking and sad news to hear that Chris Hutt has died.

Chris was author of the green bristol blog and although I never met him we both shared views and disagreed about a range of local issues relating to trees, cycling and the cyclepath. He last got in touch in January about the newly planted trees on the site of the proposed / forthcoming developement on the verge of the cyclepath by the old chocolate factory.

More information and tributes here.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


What better way to spend the sunset hours after a busy day outside than listening to Richard James aka Aphex Twin as the featured artist on Stuart Maconie's BBC6 Music show. I've always particularly liked 'Acrid avid jam shred'.

Anyhow, back to the land.

Sowed :

Butternut Squash

Sweet Peas
Night Scented Stock

Planted Out :


Harvested :




Kale (spent twenty minutes rearranging the nets on all the surviving brassicas)

Garlic's looking good

Daphne (not mine) is smelling divine - you can get the waft of the sweet citrus smell 20 metres away.

Opening at last this week.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Early Springers

Despite the coldest winter for thirty years there's frogspawn in the allotment pond, possibly even a little earlier than in previous years. I took a little home to put in a big jar and try to repeat the success of a couple of years ago. (Click the Label links below to see previous photos)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Keynsham Loop

The Avon towards Cleeve Wood

Phoenix boatyard at Keynsham

Monday, March 08, 2010


Go on - park on that in yer 4x4.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Take Care In The Community

The allotment featured in a documentary on BBC2 last night about the tragic murder in 2007 of Philip Hendy our site rep, who gave me my key to the gate in 2005 and was a thoroughly nice bloke.

The programme 'Why Did You Kill My Dad?' was made by Phil's son Julian and examined the failings of mental health trusts in protecting the public from people with psychotic illnesses, such as Stephen Newton, who stabbed Phil outside the newsagents in Greenbank.

"... the court had heard Newton believed there were tunnels under his house from a neighbouring chocolate factory which allowed people to get into his home and abuse his mother." - BBC News Oct 2008

Julian is understandably upset that often the relatives and perpetrators of psychotic attacks are given more support and sympathy than the victims and that patient confidentiality prevents the extent of an illness from being known by those likely to be at risk of harm.

In a very moving documentary, for me the moment came when Julian was seen collecting his father's personal effects from Trinity Road police station which included his glasses, a penknife he'd promised his grandson and an allotment key exactly like mine.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Choked Up

A major incident room has been set up following the theft of a globe artichoke plant from the gated alleyway. I'm sharpening my shears. W@nkers.