Thursday, 30 July 2009

Recharging my batteries

Spent five days with my family at my in-laws. Very relaxing no cooking, cleaning just relaxing. Have been back home for a few days and have managed not to run around like a headless chicken. Son seems to have warmed greatly to the allotment and is happy to spend hours digging one great big hole. Though he wasn't quite so happy today when his sister started trying to fill it. I'm glad I understand now that the role of the little sister is to irritate. Harvested loads of french beans today. I will blanche them for two minutes,drain, put cold water on them,drain again and spread them on baking trays to put in freezer. Once they are frozen I will bag them. I spread them on trays first as otherwise they end up all stuck together and difficult to use. We have loads of courgettes too so they are finding their way into all sorts of dishes. Neighbour at allotment let our kids harvest their blackberries. They had great fun getting their fingers all red and sticky and they got a fair amount of fruit too! I made a apple and blackberry crumble - yum. Harvested some more onions and garlic and have more potatoes to dig up. The potatoes - called Charlotte are delicious yellow waxy ones. The cucumbers have done well and the kids love them we have long ones and round yellow ones. I must take some photos. We've had a few tomatoes but most of them are still green though some are bright yellow. I didn't buy any yellow ones but it must have the wrong label as they don't look like they'll ever go red. Lettuce is good too as is my lone kale plant. It's a busy and happy time at the allotment.

Thursday, 23 July 2009


I had a fantastic time at the Latitude festival. We put a tent up for the first time in sixteen years with no mishaps-. It was very middle class - the acts far more diverse than the audience. I loved the poetry. Simon Armitage was very good. Jackie Kay was brilliant such a bubbly person and really funny. Kate Tempest rapped her poems and actually got the audience on their feet. Great to see the poetry tent so energized. She's going to be big. Grace Jones was brilliant - hula hooping through slave to the rhythm. Her costumes were amazing -magnificent ridged head-dress. She changed between each song. Lisa Hannigan who I'd never heard of before was very good. What was great about the festival was the variety of stuff to do - theatre, film, comedy, poetry, literature and ballet by the lake. The site itself was lovely. The lake cut the site in two and had giant delicate fabric lilys floating on it. The lake set off the ballet on its bank beautifully. Later in the day a cube was floated on the lake with a quartet playing inside. In the evening jets of water acted as a projector screen for giant cupcakes rising and falling in the sky. It was a really chilled out festival. A tent tucked away in the woods held the mellow tunes of The Boy trapped by the Sun - very good. I love Nick Cave but the sound wasn't very good - the music was too loud and kind of buzzing. I don't mind loud music - in fact that's the only way to do justice to most songs but it just didn't sound right. Oh and the compost toilets in the woods were the best festival toilets I've ever been too.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

sunshine and rain

It's so exciting going to the allotment this time of year as things grow so quickly. Spring you spend time waiting for seeds to germinate then protecting the seedlings- everything seems slow then bam in the summer it all takes off. The courgettes are growing on the tails of their flowers, coming quicker than you can eat them. I have lovely cucumbers -variety Passandra that my friend recommended - they never go bitter. I picked some of the beetroot as they are growing too close together. I will boil them in their skins for an hour or two till soft and then eat them. Dug up some more potatoes and garlic too. I need to sow some more carrot as half a row did not germinate. The other row of carrots looks great but not big enough to harvest yet. I started to dig up my broad beans as between the black fly and the squirrels there's nothing left. I am going to put in some more dwarf french beans instead as I love them and that means I'll be able to harvest some later. There's loads of black fly this year (dry weather) but on the plus side less slugs. The ladybird larvae are starting to eat their way through the flies. So nice to see so many ladybirds. The rain held out while I was at the allotment then drenched me completely on the way home. Me and the plants were well watered. (I like the rain)
My friend T came over on Monday and let me take some photos on her camera and emailed them to me. What a treat! After she's gone I realised I'd taken pics of the plants but none of my child but she'd taken some.
Chilean potato climber still flowering months later along with second flush of roses.

Tomatoes yipee!!!


Clematis has turned into wonderful fluffy seed heads

White lavender.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Chatting with like minds

I had such a lovely day today. Saw some people I hadn't seen for years. We talked about how it's taken us decades to realise that mistakes are necessary and how much you lose when you avoid doing things for fear you'll do them wrong. One of the people is the person who started me writing poetry in a determined way. I spent six years churning out fetuses of poems and till this year could not bear to go back to them to see if they could be fully fledged poems. I now have four poems I am pretty happy with. One of the poems was born from some prose I showed to that person years ago to which she replied that it was poetic and had I tried poetry. So today I got the chance to thank her. Tina one of the other people has helped me by reading the poems and encouraging me. Her mum gave me amazing feedback too. Oh and Tina has offered to lend me a camera till the insurance gets sorted. I can't believe how much I've missed taking photos. My garden has white lavender coming into flower. I really love white flowers and I know it probably sounds really weird to not just have purple lavender but there's something so delicate about the tiny white flakes of petals. The broom has gone to seed and they rattle in their pods like a kid's toy. Baby tomatoes growing -yipee.