Because you Asked…

March 14, 2012

(oh all right, because one person asked) here are my spoils from Potato Day, ready to sprout:

They are:

4 Charlotte (was meant to be 5, never mind!)
15 Pixie
7 Rocket
7 Rale’s Emerald
5 Harmony
5 Golden Wonder

Apart from Pixie and Rocket, which I’ve grown before and Golden Wonder, which I know was purely based on the name, I now have absolutely no recollection why I selected the varieties I did. Oh well. One day grown-up methodical gardening will be in my grasp… Also, counting.

It now feels like the season is properly under way. Which means a three-line whip on eating up the last of the parsnips and leeks (and leeks, and leeks) to make room for this year’s veg …

Unmistakable Signs…

March 13, 2012

… that spring is well underway:

ickle lambs …

… the first blossom …

… a flush of astoundingly badly mended potholes along the road …
… and, in a field gate beside their badly mended potholes, two council workers parked up in their council truck, all tuckered out from the year-end-spend roadmending frenzy, both sleeping like babies

(I considered taking a photo of that too, but as they were probably on their lunch break, I decided it was a little unfair)

Here’s how my Life Works…

March 12, 2012

PEDAL on PARLIAMENT!Just when I’m thinking I might have a bit of time to devote to my garden, or earning some money, or writing, or just getting out on my bike for a nice ride in the beginnings of spring, someone has a bright idea and I foolishly suggest that I could help out. And the next thing I know I’m simultaneously trying to deal with all of the above (except the nice bike rides) while helping set up a website, writing a manifesto and organising a mass bike ride on the Scottish parliament…

Now that the first mad dash to get something launched is over, I’m hoping things will return to something like normal, whatever normal is, and the blog will return to its usual mix of weather, gardening, stray livestock, photos and reports on the level of the ford*.

Meanwhile can I ask those of you anywhere near Scotland to consider signing up for this, following this or just going and having a look at this.

I think that’s all the social media options covered… we’ve even got a hashtag, and everything

* Just three inches this afternoon, and thanks for asking

Slow Down, you Move too Fast

March 9, 2012

Alert readers may have noticed blogging becoming rather thin on the ground recently (some of you may even care) but the truth is I’ve simply been going flat out. Spring always seems to bring an upsurge in activity as everyone comes out of hibernation and things which had been ticking over in a manageable way suddenly explode into life, usually all at once. Which is one way of saying I’ve managed to massively over commit myself. It turns out getting involved in not one, or two but three simultaneous cycling campaigns may just be one cycle campaign too far. And not only have I been barely able to find time to blog, I’ve not really had time to do much bloggable stuff. Well, maybe a couple of things but you’ll have to just wait for those.

Meanwhile spring has been springing away in a way that’s been increasingly difficult to ignore. Oystercatchers returning, daffodils blooming, days lengthening … and the garden just sitting there making me feel guilty. I was so stressed yesterday the other half even went out and did a bit of digging for me, until it started raining. Other than that I’ve been mostly burying my head in the sand about it but today, cycling down for the paper (and it’s been the first time I’ve managed to do that for over a week) I heard the unmistakeable sound of baa-ing lambs and came across a field full of them, with their mums, all at the adorable pipe-cleaner legs and wobbly cuteness stage. If the lambs are here then spring is here, there’s no getting away from it. I’m going to have to get my act together, and soon because my garden isn’t going to wait for me to be ready for it.

Typically, I didn’t have my camera with me – and I didn’t have time to go back for it either, so you’ll just have to hang on for lamby-cuteness for a while, and with any luck I’ll manage to photograph them before they’re practically mutton.

By way of compensation, I leave you with what happens when I leave the other half, the cat, and my camera together unsupervised. Cuteness of a different order.

I don’t think cats even know what ‘busy’ means…

Where Chairs are Nervous

March 7, 2012

As the cold weather dribbles on and the oil prices seek ever greater heights, our quest for a source of seasoned wood that can keep up with the rate at which we burn it continues. Recently, the other half noticed that one of the secondary chopping blocks (which live inside the woodshed for use when chopping wood in the p*ssing rain) was beginning to come apart, so it has been cannibalised for use in the woodburner. While this has been a lovely reminder of how beautifully wood burns when it’s had time to season properly, it also feels as if it’s steering uncomfortably close to chopping up the furniture for firewood.

But then again, how many chairs do two not particularly sociable people really need?

Potato Days are Here Again

March 5, 2012

It’s early March (I know, where did the time go?) which means only one thing: potato day. We opted for the BOG one in Kelso again, only this time, two years on, we were hardened potato-dayers and we had come prepared, although not to the extent of remembering to bring a bag for the potatoes or a book for the other half to read.

mr potato head

Actually, this explains quite a lot about everything...

Potato day, for those who haven’t been on one, resembles a world record attempt to cram the largest number of sensibly shod fleece-clad people into a room but is in fact a a slow motion middle-class riot but with the crucial difference that once the rioters have finished ransacking the place they then queue up patiently at the cash desks to pay for their spoils at 14p a tuber on a more-or-less honesty basis. We arrived shortly after the doors supposedly opened and the place was already rammed but we had at least managed to get there before the pink fir-apple and charlotte seed potatoes had gone. This time the organisers had arranged for a fiddle band to be playing at the entrance which added a certain frantic air to the proceedings throughout so, hyped up on Irish jig music and the fear of missing out on something, I wasn’t entirely sure what, it was just a question of diving into the scrum and scrambling for whatever I fancied (‘Golden Wonder’! I could make crisps!). All thoughts of being a bit more methodical and scientific about it – that whole ‘trying out loads of varieties and working out what does well and tastes best’ thing – would have gone better if I hadn’t lost track of which potatoes I planted where last year and then combined the entire harvest into one lot, and besides they all did reasonably well and they all taste pretty much of potato. I have at least managed to confine myself to three beds’ worth this year, having massively over-catered last season.

Of course, potatoes were pretty much the only thing that really grew well last year, so I may come to regret my abstemiousness. But then again, how often do you ever get to say such a thing in your life?


I do not Like Green Eggs and Ham

March 3, 2012

A friend drops by for coffee bringing eggs from her hens, one of which is an Araucana of some sort, hence the green egg.

It looked extremely disconcerting, I have to say, as if it would be sulphourously vile inside

But they made perfectly delicious gegs*.


*scrambled eggs.

Cancel that Order for Legs of Steel…

March 1, 2012

The other half has adjusted my dynamo, as advised in the comments, and all is now sweetness and (much) light. It got its first test last night, down to choir and back and didn’t even skip out as I went through the perma-puddle that guards our front gate. Instead of grinding along into my own headwind, I practically flew back from the village, the light filling the road; if anything it felt faster than riding during the day. I even had enough breath left to sing – one joy of an empty road is that you can pelt along belting out I’m a Believer (we had been doing a tribute to Davy Jones),  disturbing nobody but the owls.

It’s getting the real final test tonight, though: down to the pub and back. Social life, here I come.


Following extensive field trials on the return from the pub I can report that it didn’t slow me down one bit –  of course, I had made sure I’d prepared with a proper sports drink* this time. I can also report that it may need a bit of adjustment for use in the p*ssing rain. Clearly I shouldn’t advertise my movements to the Weather Gods in advance



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