17 May 2007

monday plot

T'was a very busy day with mrs blackbird hopping round our ankles as we planted out the sweetcorn, the sunflowers and the courgettes and pulled up as much horsetail as we could.
There is a chance we might be offered another plot further down on which we could keep chooks. It's wild and knee deep in grass at the moment and there are no chicken runs or hutches on it so they would have to be built. Still, we're very tempted. What slightly worries me is finding people willing to look after them while we go off on our musical jaunts from time to time. The time commitment is somewhat daunting as well. As you can imagine, Ben is hopping up and down with excitement at the idea at the moment. I'm not sure how he'll feel though when one of them gets to be the Sunday roast. Should we? Shouldn't we?


The asparagus bed, although not exactly prolific yet, has provided enough for a few meals so far and I must say it tastes heavenly. This is one that got away.

Our broad beans have been a complete disaster and we've given up and planted some more seed that Jack, our lotty neighbour, gave us.


The flowering kale looks very pretty.


We've had the tree peony in our back garden for five years and for the first time it has decided to flower. It was worth the wait.

04 May 2007

Sambo's Grave

I still find it difficult to believe that this beautifully insignificant little city of ours was the fourth biggest slaving port in the UK. It is one (of many) uncomfortable historical facts that we must simply acknowledge and live with.

I don't though, really understand the current vogue for apologising for distantish historical events. Where would that logic take us? We would need a ministry of apologetics and a team of stuffed shirts with university degrees in sincerity working round the clock. Doesn't rattle my chain at all. Reparations though! Now that might actually be of use to someone. Is there anyone seriously offering to do this or is pious apology the order of the day?

A few miles up the coast at Sunderland point, we do have a rather poignant and permanent reminder of Lancaster's less than savoury involvement in the slave trade in the form of Sambo's Grave.

The story behind it (at least the one people like to tell), is a rather romanticised tale of a slave cabin boy, abandoned by his beloved ships master and pining away broken heartedly on the shore to be reunited with his captain. Bollocks. Not, I suppose, that some such couldn't happen, I just think the truth is much more likely to be a brutal and unpalatable one.

It's not a very sensible contribution to the debate just to feel crap about it all is it? Sometimes music helps pull me back a bit though, and I guess if anything remotely positive can be said to have arisen out of slavery then I guess 'the blues' might just come close. Not even sure of my ground there though either.

Anyway for what it's worth, here is my recording of Blind Willie McTell, a Dylan song about slaves, plantation owners, chaingangs, and fine fine blues singers, none of which apply to me; although I do of course work on a plantation of sorts and SWMBO likes to keep me in bondage ;-)

Blind Willie McTell mp3 4mgb

02 May 2007


May already......how did that happen all of a sudden? It's that time of year when everything needs doing at once isn't it? And not just in the garden either. We spent most of Monday up on the plot catching up with the planting out and making another makeshift coldframe so that we could clear the greenhouse and make room for the tomatoes. They look good too, healthy and vigorous. Wonder which will be the tastier variety?

Weekend spent in Derbyshire at GG's 65th state pension party where we all met up at the Old Poets Corner in Ashover and attempted to drink the micro brewery dry. Well, some people did anyway. Tch!