26 September 2007

chez clodhoppers

tonight is sweetcorn, runners, spuds and tomatoes.

The spuds (sante main) were grown in a rubble sack. You just pop the tubers in and pack up with more soil as they grow. I'm not sure it's worth repeating it on an allotment really, but if you're short of space it's not a bad technique.
The corn cobs are just amazingly sweet and delicious though some of them are only 50% formed. These are better at about 90%. We grew a larger stand of them this year and if I had my way I'd give over half a plot to sweetcorn I love it so much.

The tomatoes look so vibrant in the fall sunshine, it's hard to resist just gobbling them up.

19 September 2007

conference season

"As elected spokesperson for the National Union of Chickens (NUC), I must let it be known that our members have voted on composite 419 placed before conference and having passed said resolution am obliged to inform employers that upon the ambient temperature falling below ten celcius between the hours of 5pm and 8am, that all members shall receive not less than 800 extra calories in their rations during the proceeding 24hrs pecking period and that should the employer fail to provide such rations then sisters may lay to rule and ballot members for the consideration of an escalation to full scale industrial action."


Blimey! Tagliatelli........ that will do nicely.

14 September 2007

opportunity box

Ben made this nesting box which I tied up in the tree at the bottom of our garden in early spring this year. I wondered why no little family of blue tits had snapped up this des res.

Should I put it higher up the tree or have strong words with the cat, or both?

11 September 2007

for madeline

I love Portugal lots. We go and play music there fairly often and always have a great time and enjoy being there. At the festival we play at up near Sao Pedro do Sul, we lost Ben once when he was about 3 or 4 I think. He'd just wandered off and in a matter of seconds was lost. Within five minutes I was frantic and went to artists reception and told the young girl what the problem was. She didn't seem to understand; maybe I wasn't making much sense to her, so I went to find one of the festival organisers who spoke good English and explained the situation. Being a mum herself, she immediately understood and contacted all the festival workers by radio with a description and to keep an eye out for him. We're fifteen minutes into lostness by now. Serious, stomach churning, sweaty, anxious panic is not far away and I am desperately struggling to remain calm and logical. We wait. I'd already done the 100yd dash between the office and festival site twice, the craft and food stalls a blur of meaningless colour when all I wanted was to see one fair head and one pair of blue eyes, eyes like Madeline's really tho hers aren't blue, innocent, unworried, trusting. 30 or 40 minutes into lostness a lovely Portugeuse mama from the village comes walking into the festival site with Ben walking happily by her side holding her hand. He'd just wandered into her house and explained that he was lost and she didn't understand a single word he said; but she knew he'd be one of the gringo's children from the festival and walked him back up. The relief was indescribable. I'd hoped against hope that something like this would happen for the McCanns but I knew it wasn't going to. If Ben had stayed lost I swear I would've torn that country apart looking for him.

I've been trying to remember if we ever left Ben alone ever at a similar sort of age. I can only think of once when we'd gone for a family get together dinner at a hotel somewhere and gone downstairs for a meal with everyone, leaving Ben asleep in the room. He was a baby then really and we'd put a monitor in the room and had the other one with us. We've never left him alone as a toddler, not anywhere, not without a sitter anyway. You just don't, do you? Not if you're not in the same building anyway.

I've seen it in other countries amongst continental officialdom. You push and you push and eventually they lose patience with you and snap. Specially if you're making them lose face and look incompetent or worse. It's a tough line to walk. I don't really believe they had anything to do with it; it just doesn't add up. I don't know though, how can any of us know? I don't know how they can bear what they're going through. I just hope against hope that that beautiful little girl is still alive somewhere and can one day be reunited with her family.

07 September 2007


I've always admired Shikuyo's plot a few up from ours. She works her oriental magic in a quiet indomitable way and the results are always stunning. I've seen blokes 3 times her size take on a plot and attack it with manic energy only to give it all up defeated 3 months later. She does it all on her own, apparantly effortlessly though I'm sure that's just a cunning illusion.

She does a nice line in onions and pop bottles too.

06 September 2007


The small patch at the front of the greenhouse used to be a mess of metal poles, tin sheeting, carpet and seemed to have been used to dump just about anything that wasn't wanted and all covered by a dense layer of nettle and weed. It's much better now having been cleared and levelled and planted out with a few courgette plants and a bit of french lavender. The spare bit to the left of the path has been planted up with a few rocks, heathers and primrose. It would be nice to go up today but I have to go to work boo hoo.

05 September 2007

the muck in my garden is now this high

I have no idea how we are going to get rid of this lot. The only clauses in the agreement between the council and the allotment association relating to garbage disposal refer to unlet plots, where it is clearly the responsibility of the committee to clear the site. When it comes to a let plot, it is the responsibility of the plot holder to clear it. But how does this cover taking on a derelict plot and turning it into a little piece of eden but in the process turning up this half a ton of shite? Gnn!

As for the asbestos, the council cleansing dept helpfully suggest that they will collect it at a cost of £58.95 for the first bag and £12.60 for each bag thereafter. They can offer no suggestions for the disposal of the rest. I am not willing to pay costs like this for clearing garbage I did not create.

This is the only interesting thing I found in a months worth of work. Its pretty rusted up allright but it can be yours for.....er £150?......ono

03 September 2007


Strange weekend. Some years ago, the guy who produced my first solo album, came round to my house and offloaded some software on me and asked me to sing a few songs from the album for him and next day committed suicide. Bloody cheek if you ask me. The songs weren't that bad!

Then on my doorstep appears this guy who says he is dave's son that nobody knew he even had. One look into the eyes is enough to know that he is who he says he is and thereafter we get on like a house on fire and I tell him as much as I can about his dad and we go out and get drunk together and hug each other. It feels like the hug I would've given his dad if he'd only bloody well asked me to and he could've offloaded whatever shit was going on inside his head that weekend and not some bloody useless software. That guy is gonna get thumped if there turns out to be life after death which there won't. Anyway R.....if you get to read this....you're welcome back anytime, there's a place here for you and by all the Harry's.....isn't english beer just tops?