Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Friday, May 27, 2011

Demolition Darby and Joan

The Saffron Court home for the elderly in Whitehall is being demolished. It was only built in 1993. Dementia care policies have changed and residential building land is scarce.

The cherry trees went a couple of months ago.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Guerrillas on Corn St.

The broad beans sown in a disused window box on Corn Street are coming along nicely, although perhaps the vomit from weekend revellers is slightly too acidic to be a beneficial nutrient. No blackfly though.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Escape to victory

E.C.C.C. v Stratton on the Fosse C.C.

The Easton Cowboys Saturday XI gathered at a blustery Frenchay for their encounter with Stratton on the Fosse and in so doing completed an alphabetical hat-trick of meetings with opposition sides beginning with an 'S'.

Skipper Joe broke another emerging pattern by winning the toss and elected to bowl on a dry, worn wicket and the fielders, sharing a common border with the adjacent Frenchay match, assumed their positions amongst the randomly scattered rabbit droppings.

Both Joe and Rich produced tight, miserly opening spells as the opposition batsmen barely troubled the scorers, culminating in an attempted stolen run, excellently curtailed by a direct run out from the arm of Ben P - the original BP1?

The next wicket was a while in coming, until, like buses and bailiffs, two turned up at once and the fielders crowded the bat for Ev's hat-trick ball. As it was, he had to wait a while longer for his third wicket, when some uneven bounce and straight bowling saw the ball roll into the base of the stumps.

The score accelerated a bit as SotF tried to push on, aided by a short boundary and lightening fast outfield but despite a few slip ups in the field the Cowboys continued to apply pressure, triggering another run out. Kahlu bowled particularly well under pressure and was unfortunate not to bag any scalps as your correspondent took the long view, scuttling from deep mid-wicket to deep mid-wicket.

Angelo, wearing the gloves, executed an inspired run out by parrying a high return throw directly onto the stumps, earning him a few if not the majority of the Cider Moment nominations and destroying the opposition's base for a late assault.

Good return spells from Joe and Ev and half a dozen shuffling straight overs from the bottom end helped to restrict the score to a slightly below par 161-9 from the 40 overs.

Ev and his hired help provided the tea and an opportunity to play 'what / where's the contents of the roll' topped off with a melon / strawberry melange, while those batting lower down the order took full advantage of the plethora of scones, jam and cream.

With DB absent injured, Angelo and Paul took the brunt of the SotF opening attack which fully exploited the variable bounce and saw the unfortunate Paul back in the hutch early. Incoming batsman Ben, from the outset more correct than a proofreader with a case of Tipp-Ex, helped Angelo to negate the opening venom until the latter was caught on the attack.

Ev played a watchful innings as the sky darkened and the score crept up and was unlucky to be stumped from the rebound off a fumbling keeper, bringing Kahlu to the crease. Earlier, a thunderstorm had been forecast for 7pm and as rainfall radars were consulted there was some mention of needing to be ahead of the run rate. Ever the man for this type of situation, despite claiming to have learned a new word, 'patience', Kahlu soon dispersed the opposition fielders as Ben raised the tempo too and reached his fifty.

However, when Kahlu was dismissed the Cowboys were still seventy runs off their target, reliant on Steve's steadying presence while Ben continued with immaculate drives and pulls, riding his luck when spilt on a couple of occasions. Before long the end was in sight and for a time it looked like it might coincide with a century, but eventually Man of the Match Ben was caught for the Antipodean devil's number, leaving the new blood (surely?) BP2 to join Steve in carrying the Cowboys over the line to the warm fuzzy glow of a five wicket victory.

Currently not quite right Scorecard

Friday, May 13, 2011

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Totnes earworm

Can't get rid of this earworm, a fine pop song and the best thing to come out of Totnes since KLF pop prankster Jimmy Cauty.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spuds progress

Some 'earth up' their spuds more than others and some remove the flowers to concentrate growth below soil level. Water helps more than either.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Nature sown

Gherkin seedlings sprouting where they did so well last year.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Chocolate puns

E.C.C.C v Stanton Drew

Following a long-awaited deluge that left gardening cricketers with a split personality, the wicket at Frys in Keynsham was a bit soggy for the Cowboys' home match against Stanton Drew. Clearly, the only sane option was to bowl first and use the unpredictability of the wicket to get the opposition out, but for the second week running the benevolent Saturday skipper refused to deny the late-arriving opposition captain the chance to toss and when the coin landed in the mud, it was the Cowboys' opening batsmen who padded up.

It was still sunny, muggy and hot enough to melt a factory full of Crunchie bars (had production of the aforementioned honeycombed chocolate not ceased at the Somerdale site last autumn and moved to Poland) but more importantly, make the ball swing. Dave and Paul battled watchfully as the opening bowlers produced bananas, until Paul was bowled by a peach.

The score trickled along while Simon found his feet, until last week's centurion fell early, bringing Ev to the wicket. As Simon stroked the ball around at one end, Ev cautiously blocked at the other, producing a nice symmetry of dots against his name in the scorebook until eventually being caught at the wicket. Steve then provided a similar supporting foil for Simon, who by now had found the boundary a few times and was helping the score along. When he too was bowled, for a Man of the Match winning innings of 34 and Steve had found the keeper's gloves, Kahlu and Gretch came to the wicket to try a different approach, the former smacking the ball into the trees and provoking an extra flurry of blossom.

Such a direct approach was fraught with danger and sure enough, Kahlu soon departed to a good tumbling catch near the boundary, bringing the owner of a 'messy' ankle to join Gretch at the wicket. Defying probability, the ankle was further battered by a mistimed drive a few balls later but held up for a few twenty-two yard scampers. A couple of welcome pies were gratefully gobbled and sent to the boundary until greedily grabbing at one out of the crease, the keeper removed the bails.

Joe came in and looked stylish with the bat for a while, befitting of his orange cap, Gretch departed having arrived at double figures and Rich succumbed after a promising boundary. Not out batsman Rob, seeing the ball well, helped give some respectability to an otherwise rather crumbly and flaky batting performance as the Cowboys went to tea to contemplate defending 127 runs.

The overlap of sporting seasons brought cricketers and footballers into close proximity in the clubhouse as polystyrene plates were impatiently shuffled and doughnuts eagerly anticipated, but as players returned to the top field afterwards, the sky was past overcast and at an ominous dark grey.

The first spots of rain came as the Cowboys gathered towels and prepared to take to the field, but it was the opposition batsmen who declared the earliest interest in not wanting to get wet, retreating to the cover of chestnut trees. For the next hour, depending on your vision and outlook, the weather was improving / worsening and there was every / no chance of further play. There were those in both camps who at one time or another wandered towards and loitered around the wicket looking for a denouement, but in the end, there wasn't even a Wispa.

The match was abandoned just after six o'clock for a cider Cider Moment in the skittle alley.


Friday, May 06, 2011


"Immortal amarant, a flower which once
In paradise, fast by the tree of life,
Began to bloom; but soon for man's offence
To heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows,
And flowers aloft, shading the fount of life,
And where the river of bliss through midst of heaven
Rolls o'er elysian flowers her amber stream:
With these that never fade the spirits elect
Bind their resplendent locks.
"- John Milton, Paradise Lost

"Don't you have any West Indian people living near you?" she asked, when I looked blank at the word callaloo.
"Yes," I replied, a little confused. She's Jamaican and lives a hundred yards away. I'd gone round to give her a tomato plant and she'd invited me to dig up a few pumpkin seedlings in a corner of her garden. Something unfamiliar caught my eye and the answer to my enquiry was callaloo, which I'd thought was the name of a recipe, not a plant. Indeed, it turns out that the plant is amaranth, of which there are about sixty different species, used culinarily for centuries and scribbled about by Milton and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, amongst others.

I had even less luck when I asked her the name of a red, ball-like flower, which I recognise from my youth and is usually crawling with ants: "It's a plant," she said.

Thursday, May 05, 2011


Take a good handful of comfrey leaves, aka knitbone, scrunch up and stuff down sock. Hopefully, the bruised ankle will have recovered sufficiently by the weekend.

Apparently, it's all down to the 5-ureidohydantoin, aka allantoin, a chemical compound present in the urine of most mammals, which is presumably what gives the comfrey brew in the water butt, used for feeding plants, such a strong pong. Allantoin is used in a lot of skin preparations and helps tissue repair.


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Thymus vulgaris

Thymol, present in the essential oil, is the main active ingredient in Listerine mouthwash.


Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Connecticut King

Anagrams on a postcard, if you must.