Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Where did the year go?

Nearly Christmas and 2010 has gone in a flash - how did that happen then??

Things dropped off at the plot a bit after my onion harvest in August, due to a combination of work, going to France to see my parents, ferrying assorted kids to assorted social/sporting/dancing events oh and moving house. Now settled into a nice bungalow - I never ever thought I'd have a bungalow - they are for old people!!! With Beccy & her girls, 3 dogds, 2 cats, 5 chickens and my two boys on regular basis - it can all get a bit hectic. Anyhow things are settling down, which means I've no excuses for not knucklig down and making a real good go of the plot next year.
I've not been completely idle - I'm part way through redoing the garden here - which was mainly paving slabs, have lifted what seems like gazzilions and free cycled them, reshaped the front lawn so it's not just square and started planting up the borders - but the snow and ice has stopped play for the minute - and also made it imposible for me to get my parsnips out of the ground for Xmas dinner - we've had to buy some which is a bit of a bugger.
Happy Christmas everyone

Friday, 13 August 2010

Know My Onions?

I have the most fantastic onion harvest!!! The soil at Somerby must be really suited to them, not just onions but other alliums too (that's garlic, shallots and leeks to the uneducated). With a bit of luck I should be self sufficient in them until next year. Now I know that to most of you that's completely uninteresting but to me it's at least a step forward in my lifetime plan of being like Tom (and less like Babara) in the Good Life.
Also had French beans by the bucketful, brocolli, potatoes and how could I forget the carrots - never ever managed to get carrots to grow before. Well I could, but they always ended up in those rude shaped three legged varieties which made the boys snigger instead of eat them. But this year I'll actually have surplus so am freezing them.
The next step was to get Beccy chickens for her 40th birthday present - I know I'm such a romantic - so her garden now has Kentucky, Flash and Nugget wandering around it clucking, scratching and not as yet laying any eggs!! Tank found them very interesting and has already caught one - he got a good talking to and is being enrolled on an obedience course. One of the problems he has though is that it appears OK to chase rabbits, magpies and pigeons but not cats or hens. Very confusing for a dog no doubt. I fear segregation will be the only way.
I've decided that I really like Barton, so will be staying. Am part way through buying a house here. I was part way through buying a cottage nearer the boys - it was a dream, loads of land and orchard, vegetable plot and a garden but I was gazumped - the bungalow was a bit of a backstop - not the dreamhouse, but immensely practical and very handy. I'm sure once I've put my stamp on it I'll love it.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Barton, Beer & Brassicas

Well I promised it wouldn't be two years between posts this time, not that I think anybody is
(a) reading this or (b) cares !!
Life in Barton is good - I like it here. And this weekend is the Barton beer festival so I might just get to like it even more. Not done a lot since my last post except had a week of lates followed by a week of nights, so now I'm not really too sure what day it is today.
Found out this week that my car was a write off in a previous life, which is what happens when you buy in haste, anyway I've traded it in for a very sensible and practical Peugeot diesel estate which is supposed to do about 700 miles to a gallon, well maybe not quite that many but it's a few. Didn't really want one, was going to buy a Jeep for the same amount of money but which does about 700 yards to a gallon - common sense prevailed so the Peugeot it was.
I've not really had too much chance to get over to the plot at Somerby the last couple of weeks which is a shame as the weather has been OK, I'm expecting it to be a riot of weeds when I get there, but hopefully those pesky pigeons have been kept off my brassicas by a combination of shiny spinning CD's, netting and Victoria's daft dogs!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Big changes or what

I can't believe that it is two years since I made that last post about coshing myself repeatedly on the head with a sailing boom. You may not be surprised to know - sailing isn't something that I took to, but at least I tried !!
Things have changed somewhat since that last post - so much so that it's almost impossible to know where to begin.
Frankie the dog never left, he changed his name to Buster, on account of his unfeasibly large testicles (Viz readers will understand), I carried on diving reaching BSAC Dive leader and PADI rescue diver level - trips to Malta and the Red Sea as well as plenty of diving in and around Cyprus helped.
At the end of my Cyprus tour I got a job at Immingham docks - a huge culture shock, but I've been there six months or so now and have settled in I think. Obviously this meant a move back to the UK and this is where things all went a bit pear shaped. Unfortunately me and Jo went our seperate ways, she now lives about 10 minutes away with the boys. I see the boys whenever I'm not working and things between me and Jo remain pretty amicable. It was all very sad but hey upwards and onwards.
I now live in a lovely little town on the banks of the Humber, Barton - it has an astonishing number of restaurants and takeaways, the Humber Bridge, is big enough to have a Tesco but small enough for everybody to say hello when I'm out walking my dog. After the break up, Charlie and Buster stayed with Jo and the boys, so being soft as heart I brought home a rescued Cypriot dog. He's not known as Tank for nothing (he already had this name before I got him), he's a huge - a proper hound !! That's him in the top left hand corner. He enjoys it here - chasing deer in the nearby fields being his most favourite occupation !
I've got one or two friends here, Lynda (or Looby) and Nigel and Beccy and her girls have helped hugely in getting me established here.
As far as growing stuff is concerned, through Hugh Fearnely Whittenstall's landshare campaign, I've managed to get use of some land in a place called Somerby. The setting is just fabulous, a piece of land by a lake, next to the "big house" in rural Lincolnshire. I can't really thank Victoria (the land owner enough), I share it and an allotment in Scunthorpe with Beccy. Somerby has most of the veg, Scunthorpe the fruit and flowers. I'll post some pictures of both when I get some.
I'm not sure how much I'll blog, given my past history not very often would seem likely but you never know. Hopefully it won't be two years though!

Saturday, 7 June 2008

I am sailing. I am sailing

Well not right now I'm not, but for the last two weekends I was. I've done a sailing course at the Yacht club and am now qualified to RYA level 2 and can sail a dinghy. It wasn't without it's moments - at the end of the first day, if I'd seen another dinghy it would have been ever it would have been too soon. I was wet - having capsized what seemed like 12 million times (but at least it meant I was the best at capsize drill) - and had lumps on my head where the boom had coshed me on it's way across as I failed to duck soon enough. However I persevered and Sunday went much better and last weekend they moved me up from a "Pico" to a "laser". The instructor then told me that actually the Pico was designed for somebody about half my weight, so it was no surprise it kept capsizing!!!!
Today I've been under the water - it was the dive club try dive day - so having spent a couple of hours making sausage and bacon banjos, a cool off dive was in order and very pleasant it was too. For my sins, as well as being the barman, I'm PR guru and webmaster so I was just glad some people turned up.
I know it's all relative, but it's starting to get hot here now - high 20's, low thirties most days and humid in the evenings and no rain still - so basically none is coming. They are still rationing it in the Republic (well unless you like in Paphos or Agia Napa where they are still sticking two fingers up to the rest of Cyprus and saying "we aren't doing that") - and here on the bases the water police are out checking nobody is watering their gardens or washing the car with a hose, so keeping plants alive is still erm testing. But so far I'm not doing too bad. Some tomatoes are starting to ripen, as well as some chilli's (unfortunately I have lost quite a few chilli's). Al lavatera which was disguised as a hollyhock is flowering it's heart out and the herbs seem to be coping with the watering regime.
This weekend we get the first of our summer visitors - my cousins fly out tomorrow afternoon - so I'm driving over to Paphos to get them. It'll be good to see them.
I have rescued another dog - "Frankie" is still here, but we have a home for him in a few weeks. He was living at the checkpoints for a coupleof weeks before I tempted him in. He was all skin and bones - but is much better now and a lot less timid. He chews though !! He's a hunting dog, who I reckon was crap, so they've just turfed him out.
Well thats about it for now - buit in true "Soap" style - will Frankie go to his new home happily, will Andy ever sail again, will those chilli's ever recover. The answer to these and many other questions will be in the next installment of "Reedos in Cyprus". (Cue music.........)

Friday, 16 May 2008

Going for it

While I'm here, I've decided that I need to do all the stuff I'd never get chance to do while back hime and take every opportunity to do get myself as many certificates as I can. To that end I'm diving as often as I can, 3 times so far this week and heading North to Kyrenia on Sunday here's some fish and stuff
Next weekend and the weekend after I'm doing a course in dinghy sailing and I'm now a helper at Youth Club where I am the Football coach, Turkish lessons are being done on a Thursday. The gardening course is kind of on a back burner at the minute - I'm still doing my plant portfolios but there's only so many hours in a day and they still make me work out here.
In the garden I've had a small harvest of potatoes, some beetroot, some aubergines and some Green Grape tomatoes - the chilli's are really starting to grow now as my cucumbers and the gazillions of tomatoes I have. I've managed to kill my courgettes though - but some emergency seeds came through the post the other day - so I'll be getting them in over the weekend. I seem to be saving enough grey water to keep things going at the moment - not sure if I'll manage it in July mind but I'll keep trying.
Rescued a kitten this week, and have managed to find a home for him - Saw a car in front of me slow down the other night, open the door and next thing I know there's a kitten in the middle of the road in front of me - I drive into a small ditch to avoid it and go back to see if I've hit him, he was about the size of my hand meowwing in the ditch I had parked the car in !!!

Friday, 25 April 2008

What a week

Begins with beating the Mackums - watched the drubbing of the great unwashed with Geordie Tait - a Mackum from Shiney Row, called Geordie cos nobody in the army can tell the difference in accents - and are dead original in their nicknames - anybody from North of Hull is called Geordie, he's embarassed to be called Geordie _ I won't call him it !!!! Well not to his face anyway.
Ends drinking cider with Drum - (Capn Drummond) see told you the military are good at nicknames.
In between times, I plant out cukes, some toms and peppers - suspend two of my staff for gross misconduct and deriliction of duty, acquit two others of similar charges but take minor disciplinary action against them (neither of which was a unilateral decision I must add), take part in a tennis tournament, don't win but do OK, thrash Drum at tennis twice (how did he get to the final ???)and tomorrow man the bar for the Dive Club while they run "try dives" for the new batallion.
Drum has been posted - he goes (probably) to Milan in August - one of the things I've found living with the military is that you make friends, and then they go - the soldiers are used to it, it's kind of how they live, but to a civilian it's strange.

Still no rain - although some is forecast tomorrow - I'm not holding my breathe though and so far using grey water has kept most things in the garden alive. As an aside - if you eat beetroot soup, be prepared for the colour it leaves your toilet !!!!!