Every one a winner

I’ve fallen a wee bit behind with the blog but here is an update from last week’s allotment show. It was a joy to take part after last year’s was cancelled. It threatened to rain but in the end the sun shone. I arrived in good time in the morning to rush round the plot and harvest my vegetables, piling them up outside the shed so that I could choose and polish any prospective winners. Here was my initial harvest: raspberries, apples, ruby chard, courgettes, potatoes, sweet peas and a huge bucket of runner beans. You can also see my … Continue reading Every one a winner


It’s been a scorchio day here as everywhere else in the country. I went for a wander and passed an in ice cream van, selling, among other things, mint choc chip ice cream: I had been thinking about my Dad, as I often do at this time of year and now six years since we lost him. His childhood was during the Second World War, a time of rationing and few sweet treats. This led to him taking great pleasure in sharing childhood delights like ice cream with us. Ice cream in my rural childhood came in blocks from shops … Continue reading Green

Solstice soup

Today’s the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year but the one where we can start looking again for light and the promise of spring. It’s rained for most of the day but I went into the garden in the rain and hauled out masses of overgrown stuff from round the pond. The frogs like the overgrown weeds but I know that there are spring bulbs underneath it all and so worth hauling some of it out. It felt quite therapeutic.  I was called away from this task by a horde of musicians who have returned to take over … Continue reading Solstice soup

..it’s not just winning, it’s about taking part

..really.  It was the allotment annual show on Saturday.  I thought I’d better enter some of our plentiful produce, although I wasn’t expecting any prizes.  I entered: courgettes and runner beans, apples and rhubarb, raspberries, some not quite ripe yet tomatoes and a big vase of flowers. I knew the rules were all about perfection and submitting identical specimens. I had checked with the organisers whether unripe tomatoes would count – they said ‘no’ but thought I’d try anyway.  We could have entered our monstrous marrow, if only it hadn’t been carved, stuffed and eaten by musicians a few weeks … Continue reading ..it’s not just winning, it’s about taking part


Last night’s rain has caused the cucurbits to grow overnight I think: and we had some more rain this morning: Stotting off the patio is the only way to describe it. The sun’s out again now and we had a garden lunch: Whole cucumbers, along with yesterday’s courgette pickle and pea guacamole.  The pickle was surprisingly successful – recipe here Courgette pickle 1kg courgettes 4 tblsp salt 2 onions 1 ltr vinegar 240g sugar spices – I used a handful of home grown coriander seeds, peppercorns, mustard seeds and radish seed pods Cut the courgettes into cubes or slices  and chop … Continue reading Pickle

Roses and memories

The end of July is time to celebrate wedding anniversaries and to remember those we have lost. I visited my mother earlier in the week and attempted some one-handed pruning of her overgrown wilderness. I’m not sure I made much of an impact.  I also noticed that her ‘Golden Wedding’ Rose had survived a recent pergola catastrophe: My Dad put the pergola up for their Golden wedding nine years ago, but it all collapsed in an early summer storm a month or so ago. I was very pleased to see this bud about to burst open to celebrate their 59th … Continue reading Roses and memories

Rain and poetry

We’ve just had a few days away in the Lake District, celebrating my senior assistant’s birthday.  October in Grasmere was never going to guarantee glorious sunshine, so we went well prepared with boots and waterproofs.  We enjoyed walking along rain soaked paths, some of which were just not passable, even with good boots: and climbed a foggy mountain, enjoying the sun coming back out through the clouds on the way back down At the wettest point, we went in search of poetry at Dove Cottage.  While the senior assistant was immersed in poetry and history, I was thinking about William … Continue reading Rain and poetry

Green Plum Pickle

Following on from my last post, I have become an ardent fan of unripe green plums.  I used the kilo of plums that did not fit in the chutney pan to make some highly experimental green plum pickle.  Since pickle does not keep very well, I tried some for my lunch today. I am converted.Recipe below – warning no guarantee of preserving quality of these. My supply is in the fridge just in case. Green Plum Pickle (experimental) – makes about 5 jars approx 1 kilo unripe plums a handful of garden courgettes 2 onions salt 300ml vinegar 100g sugar … Continue reading Green Plum Pickle

Magic Seedlings

I have never got over the magic of a germinated seed. Even to hardened gardeners, those first little signs of life are the proof that there is magic in the world. Although some of my vegetables are up and growing, some things have just peeked their tiny green heads above the soil. Here, for example, are my first ever germinated parsley seeds. These are notoriously difficult to germinate, but this year they’ve come through: And here are some aubergines: Don’t laugh, I thought they weren’t going to come up at all this year.  Here is some basil, looking rather more sturdy: I’ve … Continue reading Magic Seedlings