Friday 31 May 2019

Pool opening.

Tomorrow it will be June; so, time we opened the pool.

Meanwhile, there was a Boot Sale at our neighbouring village yesterday morning, and I just couldn't resist buying the above.

My collection of poolside kitsch grows greater and greater.

All went according to plan. The pump didn't start when I first turned on, but a sharp kick to the motor did the trick. 

Guess who was the first to have a swim (accidentally)? Of course, it was Billy; well at least we now know he can swim! 

Summer (chez Cro) has officially begun. Water temperature 17 C. No thanks!

Thursday 30 May 2019

The first harvests.

The Cherries have been a bit dodgy so far this year. Many of the early ones have split and lack sweetness, but we're hoping that the later varieties will fare somewhat better.

And here are our very first yellow Courgettes. It seems like just yesterday when I planted them out at Haddock's, and already we have a harvest. I know they're tiny, but the first ones never grow much bigger. It's a question of picking and eating them, or losing them. There are more already.

Next crops, Tayberries and Broad Beans.

Wednesday 29 May 2019

Zedbed? No, Bedzed.

I've heard of Bedford vans, and I've heard of Bedlington dogs; but I had never heard of Bedzed.

Bedzed, stands for Beddington Zero Energy Development; a decidedly catchy monica.

Not only had I not heard of Bedzed, I hadn't heard of the London Borough of Beddington either.

But back to Bedzed. There was I, thumbing through an old Marie Claire Maison magazine (above) when I came across this picture of a large, 100 home, Eco building development. On reading the article I discovered that it was to be found in my own native county of Surrey (part of which is now Greater London). I could hardly believe that such an interesting development had previously escaped my attention.

Eco homes are becoming increasingly popular; no doubt one day they'll be obligatory. The idea of living with no heating bills, and an almost pollution-free foot-print, is flavour of the year; and should be encouraged. But I would find life very uncomfortable inside a modern box-shaped triple-glazed glasshouse; such as Bedzed.

If there were ways of improving the heat saving qualities of my own non-Eco cottage, I would do it; but such houses were not designed for insulated walls etc.

Bedzed looks an interesting project, and I love those chimney cowls, but I fear it's not for me! If you wish to discover more; details are (of course) to be found on Wiki.

Well done architect Bill Dunster. Nice job.

Tuesday 28 May 2019

1960's style curry.

My late father was NOT a cook. However, once a year he would 'rustle-up' a curry, which, when I was very small, seemed surprisingly exotic. He had possibly learned the process from his older brother who'd been out in Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

There were usually four main ingredients; Onion, Chicken, Banana, and Sultanas; as well as all the spices.

Quite recently I made a Chicken curry, which we later decided would have benefitted hugely from the addition of some Banana, so last night, when I made the same Chicken curry again, I decided to do just that.

I haven't eaten a Banana enhanced/enriched curry since the 1960's, when such things were still popular, so this was more a 'memory lane' meal than gastronomy. The above is a dreadful photo, but I think you can just about make out the slices of Banana.

I must say, it was really good; we both loved it. My memory was correct.

Monday 27 May 2019

Life at Haddock's.

Haddock's itself contains a huge array of fruit and vegs. Amongst the fruit trees are Figs, Apples, Plums, Peaches, and Cherries.

In the vegetable growing beds there are Courgettes, Tomatoes, Peppers, Aubergines, Peas, Broad Beans, Spinach, Maize, and Beetroot. Later there will be Swiss Chard, Cavolo Nero, and PSB.

There are also Artichokes; both Globe and Jerusalem,

and a couple of rows of Red Onions.

Elsewhere there are Grapes, more Apples, Pears, more Peaches, more Figs, and even Quinces.

It looks like our 2019 harvest will be good. It'll make-up for the past two years when things were a tad hit-n-miss.

Sunday 26 May 2019

Why so hot?

In general, French offices, shops, and supermarkets are far too hot. I constantly find myself wanting to get out of them a.s.a.p.

I have no idea where this desire to be HOT comes from. It obviously costs a lot of money, it can't be good for you, and one presumes that environmentally it is slowly killing our lovely planet, via the back door.

Personally I prefer to be slightly cool, with a constant supply of refreshingly clean air. I don't particularly like the idea of breathing warm air that has already been exhaled by countless others (of unknown health).

You may find my attitude slightly obsessive, although I myself see it far removed from anything related to OCD. It's just that when one is used to natural temperatures, and breathing pure, 1st hand, air, anything that doesn't meet those strict standards is just not good enough.

Saturday 25 May 2019

Cottage Life.

What makes living in a 'cottage' so different to living elsewhere?

Well, a cottage is usually quite small and cramped; like ours.

It's also usually quite old; like ours (250-300 years?).

It usually has a few old fruit trees dotted around, and a small area where vegetables are grown; like ours.

It probably has a few Hens scratching about; like ours (used to have).

A cottage will be dusty on account of its open fires; like ours.

It will have dog footprints and hairs everywhere; like ours.

It will be cluttered on account of the lack of space; like ours.

The cottage itself will probably have lumps, bumps, and cracks; like ours.

There's bound to be a Cat or two wandering around; ours once did.

It will have ancient low beams holding up the floor and roof; like ours.

The flagstone floors, or quarry tiles, will be freezing cold; like ours.

And if you are lucky enough to live in a cottage which is anything like the above, it will have been offering a wonderfully cosy place for families to live for centuries; just like ours.

Friday 24 May 2019

Child Poverty in Britain.

With all the child poverty we hear about, I find this Chelsea Flower Show garden, with child's house, rather worrying.

With 4 Million children 'apparently' living in abject poverty, how on earth could they afford this charming wee 'Wendy House'.

For just £30,000 this playhouse could belong to little Piers or Penelope. It is loosely based on a weekend holiday house one might own in Hampshire. It has a roof made from 300 year old reclaimed tiles (very eco), a mini-Aga inside, floral wallpaper, brass fittings on the doors, a mini Fortnum's hamper, and lead-lighted windows. All perfectly normal; I hear you say.

Well yes, but had it been priced at a more realistic £28,500, we would now be seeing them popping up in gardens from Glasgow to Glastonbury, but they are overpriced; and unless the little dears go without their gold-leafed designer trainers or ski trips to Klosters, they'll have to wait another month (or even more) in order to afford one! I know; that might be asking too much.

In these difficult times of 'Austerity', maybe a government grant could be offered to those families who cannot quite afford this simple garden addition for their offspring. In today's world; every child should have one (the Beehive is extra).

In comparison, this small house (above) can be yours for £12,500. It's in Peterlee, Co Durham.

Thursday 23 May 2019

Venice Biennale 2019.

Here's a small selection of what's on offer in Venice this year, much of it rather pretentious.

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Luxury Hotel and Spa.

Many of us dream of spending the occasional weekend being pampered in a luxury hotel and spa (not me). My own mother used to unwind at Champneys on occasions, in the days when such things were still quite a novelty.

33 year old Luke Jewitt (above) is one such dreamer. He often spends his weekends, along with his mother, at a hotel and spa in Birmingham, where for a mere £140 a day, it allows them the luxury they both hanker for. Nothing particularly special in that, but HIS time there IS rather special.

In fact Mr Jewitt is currently in prison for his part in importing 3.6 tons of Cocaine and Cannabis into the UK.

He was jailed in 2016, and is just 3 years into his 10 year sentence, but the caring (and very considerate) UK prison authorities have given him permission to stay at the hotel, and use its spa, at the weekends providing that he promises to return to the slammer afterwards.

Well I do think that's very nice of them. No doubt if he asked for a couple of weeks away in Marbella, they would grant permission for that too!

It's a great life for criminals in the UK. If you don't get caught you can make a fortune, but if you do get caught, you usually keep the loot and spend some time in a reasonably pleasant secure 'hotel style' prison, where almost everything is available (including regular visits to a spa). 

He even has time to pose for photos; you would hardly believe that he was actually a jailbird.

Welcome to 21st Century Britain. Eee, it's a grand life!

Tuesday 21 May 2019

Promises, promises.

I'm sure I'm not alone in enjoying a good noisy storm.

Imagine, then, that we were promised a belter on two successive days, and nothing happened (as was the case this last weekend). I almost felt like suing the French Met' office.

I would rather they said nothing than get my hopes up, and, anyway, the Western sky will always tell me if a storm is imminent. It didn't.

Noise and water do little damage, unless on a gargantuan scale, but large hailstones at this time of year can wreak havoc. I remember experiencing a serious hailstorm in mid-May a few years back. The ground was thick with golf ball size ice cubes, and I feared for my young plants at Haddock's. In fact nothing was touched; not even one hole in a courgette leaf. St Fiacre had done his work.

The anticipation of a good storm is always exciting; its failure to arrive is dire.

p.s. Meanwhile in the USA, I hear it's tornado season in certain states. HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS!

Monday 20 May 2019

An everyday story of country folk.

People tend to think that nothing happens out in the countryside. They imagine people sit about on walls, chewing on sprigs of hay, discussing manure and mangel wurzels; nothing could be further than the truth.

Firstly it is surprising how many extremely talented, interesting, and intelligent people one encounters, the idea that country dwellers are all six fingered yokels is a myth (except for a few). Country people are no different to town people, they simply choose to live a quieter, and healthier, life.

However, life is never really as quiet as one imagines. Just recently we have encountered two upside-down cars in roadside ditches, a row of PINK hay bales, and a suspiciously broken wall. All far more interesting than stabbings, political elections, or preparations for war, that commands the attention of most town folk.

I didn't photograph the two unfortunate young ladies who'd obviously been driving much too fast, but I did stop to offer assistance.

I was half expecting to see Katie Price driving her silly 'Essex Girl' pink car when I saw these bales (above), but in fact I believe they have something to do with Breast Cancer awareness.

The broken wall we found much more baffling, but it seems that the two events are tenuously linked.

A local man was driving up the hill towards the church, with a large round bale of hay (not pink) in the back of his pick-up. It managed to come loose, and rolled down the road and ended-up hitting our cemetery wall and part-demolishing it. It must have given it a helluva smack; that was one very solid stone wall!

It's nothing but excitement out in The Styx.

Sunday 19 May 2019

Making an Entrance.

An entrance can make all the difference to a garden, one's home, or even a Football ground. No matter where it's found, it gives you advance warning of what is to come.

At age 13 I saw the above 'entrance' (The Porta) for the first time, and frankly it filled me with serious foreboding. I can remember that moment even today.

I was making that great leap from Prep' school to Senior school, and had been summoned to meet my new prospective headmaster prior to sitting the dreaded 'Common Entrance' exams, but seeing that austere building made me wonder if I'd chosen the right place. Even Dartmoor (below) had a more friendly appearance; not that I've visited it.

At my current school I'd been a senior boy, partly in charge of my juniors; but here, once inside this great arch I suddenly became a mere quivering junior again, with the senior boys looking more like grown men or angry prison warders than fellow pupils. It was a shock for which I wasn't prepared.

Luckily I passed my exams and was offered a place; surprisingly complete with a very small Latin Scholarship bursary. The ancient buildings all soon became familiar, and I quickly forgot the feelings of doom that had originally beset me.

The Porta is actually a much younger building that the others that surround it. Built between 1396 and 1417 it was originally the entrance to the monastery where fellow 'old boy' Edward the Confessor had learned his ABC. Later it became the location of a 'Bishop's Court', and even contained a small prison. Personally I remember it mostly as a venue for theatre and music events; it's where my thespian talents were discovered and honed! My interpretation of 'Mortimer' in Arsenic and old Lace was legendary..... legendary darling!

Saturday 18 May 2019

Where to live?

Someone asked me recently where else in the world I would liked to have lived.

Well, I'm not as adventurous as two of my children, and would always opt for Europe; I feel safer here.

Anywhere I'd call home would need certain qualities. The natives would need to be warm-hearted, fun-loving, and friendly towards foreigners. The girls and women would need to be olive skinned and beautiful. The climate would need to be such that outdoor living was normal for at least 90% of the year. Frost and snow must be unheard of. Lemons Oranges and Bougainvillea must grow in my garden. And finally, the houses would need to be built of stone, be very beautiful, and offer a rustic simplicity of lifestyle.

I don't think either Spain or Portugal would suit me; too many criminals, and no prestige.  Northern Europe holds little appeal, and most of the countries that end in -ia seem unstable.

So, I've made a list of possible contenders. I rather like Italy (preferably the Adriatic side), Corsica Sicily and Sardinia all have island appeal, and the countries on the eastern side of the Adriatic from Croatia down to Greece all look very inviting.

The next thing to study is (of course) the gastronomy of each country. The wine and food of a nation says more about its lifestyle than anything else, and a tour of simple female run eateries (no poncey male chefs please) would be essential before any final choice was made.

I only speak English and French, so I'm leaning towards Corsica; although the Amalfi coast is also a strong contender.

The photo above is of Corsica; you can probably see why it appeals.

Friday 17 May 2019

EU Elections.

On May 23rd, the UK will be holding its MEP elections, only this time it's in name only. The election, which is estimated to cost the UK over £150 Million, is to elect MEP's who will more than likely not take their seats in Brussels.


Well done chaps. Yet another example of a giant fat-burg in the Westminster pipes.

And, thank you to the Lower IVth Recorder Band for their rendition of our National Anthem; an hour's detention for the lot of you!

Thursday 16 May 2019

Making provision.

We have a lot of guests arriving this summer, so, as we won't be providing meals for all of them, I decided to do the next best thing, and supply their Tomatoes.

I've not grown Tomatoes in pots before, so it's very much an experiment.

The two pots on the left contain the wonderful 'Portuguese' variety, and the one on the right is a basic round red Cherry Tomato. All very productive varieties (hopefully).

Of course they will still have access to all that grows at Haddock's, but a few edibles right outside the barn's front door (they're all staying up at the barn) can't be bad. I just hope the plants survive, thrive, and are bounteous.

Wednesday 15 May 2019

Thai adventures.

My youngest has now found both a plot of land, and a builder, on his small Thai dream island, and will soon be building something similar to the above. Thai houses tend to be mostly roofs, with lots of open spaces, a pool, and a few shady Palm trees.

His own house will be bigger, he's opted for a second floor (for extra bedrooms etc), and instead of looking out onto a beach, he has decided that he prefers a view of the mountains. The pool will cope with any desire to cool-off.

It all looks like a lot of fun, and I'm sure Boo Boo and Mischa will absolutely love it. I might even visit myself!

Tuesday 14 May 2019


How beautiful it is to see the trees once again swathed in green. I'm sure it's those naked woods that contribute to my Winter depression.

The month of May is always predictably unpredictable. Mist, hot sun, rain, hail, even frost can all arrive in the same 12 hour period; but it's exactly what's needed.

Now that the risk of frost is 99% gone, we all attack our veg' patches, and Haddock's is no exception.

My Tomatoes, Aubergines, Peppers, Courgettes, Onions, Beetroot, Mangetout Peas, and Broad Beans, are all doing well, and I have also sown some Perpetual Spinach and Maize. Back at the house I have sown Cavolo Nero and PSB in pots. Later I shall sow some Chard directly into the soil. All is in order.

Provided that there are no disasters, it looks as if 2019 will be a year of plenty. Everything is awash with fruit, and all the young, recently planted, trees are doing well. One of my Fig trees (that began life as a scrumped sucker) already has Ping Pong ball sized fruits; but I'm not quite sure why.

Cherries won't be long, and Tayberries and Strawberries will soon be on the table. 

It really is a wonderful time of year; if only the wretched grass wouldn't grow so quickly! As I write, my neighbour Jean-Claude is driving up and down in his big yellow Renault tractor, hay making; cutting that grass at the foot of the top picture. At least someone's happy with the grass's growth rate.

Monday 13 May 2019

Heath Robinson Cro?

When my knees see the light of day, the sun shines for more than four hours continuously, and the temperature rises to 20 C and above; it's time to start thinking about swimming.

Usually we leave opening the pool until June 1st, but we begin to think about it in mid-May (i.e. now), and the very first thing to do is empty most of the water from atop the hibernation sheet of black plastic.

A few years ago I bought a special pump to deal with the water, but it has always proved to be a problem. You don't just chuck it in the water, and flick a switch. It has to be carefully positioned with its ridiculous 'floater' up in the air.

To achieve all this requires the combined brains of Heath Robinson, Grandpa Bungie Potts, and Jules Verne.

In winter 2019/20 I shall work on a floating island, into which the pump will sit. It will float around the pool, keeping its depth constant, and pumping away like a trooper. I'm already working on a prototype.

For the moment I do the above.

Sunday 12 May 2019

Mr D Baker.


There are some complete idiots around, and, as we all know, many of them are in positions of either power or influence.

I know nothing about Danny Baker, other than (I presume) he used to play records on BBC Radio 1 (he's now been sacked).

Just in case you are unaware, on the day that Meghan Markle gave birth to little Master Archie, he posted a photograph on 'twitter' of an elegantly dressed middle aged couple leaving an impressive building, holding the hands of a Chimpanzee dressed in equally elegant human clothing. He entitled the photo 'Royal baby leaves hospital'. I refuse to re-post the photo itself, simply because it would perpetuate the nastiness. If you wish to see it, you'll find it everywhere.

During his subsequent squirming interview with Sky TV, Baker attempted to distance himself from any form of racism, claiming that he was unaware that both The Duchess of Sussex was of 'mixed race', and even that she'd been pregnant. If he truly expects anyone to believe that; he must take us for totally gullible mugs.

No; this was pure and utter racism of the worst sort. He might have thought it amusing for a very short while, but harsh criticism soon came thick and fast; and he removed it. Luckily for us, not before the evidence had been recorded. His bosses at the BBC fired him almost at once.

There is no doubt that in the privacy of their own homes, people might have doubts about the union of a 'Royal' with Ms Markle, but they would normally keep it to themselves. None of us is naive enough to think that these opinions don't exist; but, surely, we live in an age of tolerance, acceptance, and understanding, and people such as Baker should be taught a harsh lesson. Maybe he should even be taken to meet Harry, Meghan, and Archie, and made to apologise. They do seem like genuinely pleasant people.

I quite understand that Mr Baker comes from a very deprived background, and that his pro-Corbyn Socialist credentials insist that he hates all 'toffs' and Royalty; but when you combine such puerile class hatred with overt racism, you end up with an extremely nasty type of human being; of which Baker is a classic example.

I hope he's proud of himself.

Saturday 11 May 2019

Peter Saul. Funk Artist.

I have a particular liking for this type of disjointed, stream of consciousness, painting. Rather than looking at a subject and recreating it in 2D, the subject is invented, images amassed, and the resulting combination brought together to create a whole.

                                Résultat de recherche d'images pour "peter saul"

85 year old American painter Peter Saul was the first artist I encountered who took this to extremes, and, as a student, I found it very exciting. I later discovered Ron Kitaj (also American), who did much the same thing, combined with philosophy and exquisite draughtsmanship.

                                Résultat de recherche d'images pour "peter saul"

Saul's work later became highly coloured, political, and cartoon-like, and (for me) it lost much of its cutting edge.

His work is socially aware, insolent, and punchy. Another painter whose work I'd very much like to see hanging on my walls.

Friday 10 May 2019

Where the hell do I put my X?

                             Résultat de recherche d'images pour "uk polling station"

Ever since the age of 18 I have only ever voted for one political party. I have worked for a couple of MP's, and have even acted as an agent for a prospective County Councilor. As a 'middle of the road' voter, there has only ever been one possible box for my X.

Now things have changed, and I am at a total loss who I would vote for. Maybe it's a good thing that I no longer have a postal vote, or I would be turning greyer and balder than I already am.

Maybe if my old party chose a new leader who had real guts, I might vote for them again; but I fear this may not be the case. I have made various suggestions for a successor to May on these pages, including 'Tory Rory' Stewart and Andrea Leadsom, but none of them has the gutsy qualities needed; although Leadsom does come close. The next PM will not only need to be very bright, but he/she will also have to be extremely tough.

The main problem is apathy. Without someone who inspires, the country could easily fall into Marxist hands, and all the recent repair work after 'Labour's' last disastrous reign could quickly be undone (yet again); only this time it could be far worse.

These are troubling times. The N Americans think they have problems with Trump, but that's nothing in comparison to what our own dear Corbyn & Co could do to the UK. We are at a pivotal stage in the UK's history, and it needs to be handled very cautiously.

If a combination of Corbyn, Watson, Abbott, and The Trade Unions, were running the shop, it could all go VERY wrong, VERY quickly.

Thursday 9 May 2019

Now you see it; now you don't.

                                          Image associée

It's not as if I have a shortage of pocket knives, even mushrooming knives; but I couldn't resist buying this brass inlaid Laguiole knife at our local 8th May market yesterday (the day the French won WW2).

As soon as I'd bought it, Lady Magnon thrust it's purchase price into my palm and took it away; she claims it will reappear (if she can find it again) in July as my birthday present.

What very good taste she has!

Now I have to forget all about it until my birthday.

Wednesday 8 May 2019

Colour Coordination.

He's now beginning to look like a dog, rather than a puppy. 

I've just checked, and see that he'll be fully grown at between 12 and 16 months. He's still only a bit over 4 months old.

re The ball; his friend Marley visited yesterday, and walked off with it. We're still looking!

Tuesday 7 May 2019

Betting pays!


How do you fancy an annual salary of £265 Million? That's was what Denise Coates (above) earned last year. So, what's so strange about that; you might ask.

Well, Ms Coates earned her huge salary off the backs of gamblers who bet and lost their wages (or benefit payments) in such amounts that Coates is able to live a life of unimaginable luxury.

Of course it's up to individuals if they wish to gamble (I choose not to), but shouldn't there also be a moral duty on behalf of the bookies to ensure that their clients don't lose money they can't afford?

I'm not against anyone earning large salaries, but I do find Ms Coates's staggering 2018 salary of £265 Million a tad excessive; especially knowing how it was 'earned'.

There's only ever one winner in the betting business, and that's the person taking the bets. Denise Coates is a fine example!

p.s. I should add that Ms Coates does give quite large amounts to charity; but I suppose she can afford to.

Monday 6 May 2019

Product Appraisal.

I bought this chainsaw back in mid-January. My previously trusty Husqvarna had become untrustworthy, and I needed a back-up.

When I bought it, the salesman assured me that in a few years time, it will become the one by which all other saws are compared. Not only was it reasonably priced, but the factory in China that makes them (for a German Co) is geared up to open the floodgates, and conquer the world..

It's a SCHEPPACH CSH46, and cost me a staggering €89.90 (£76.51p).

So what do you think of it Cro?

Well, for the money it's quite an amazing bit of kit. Starting it is a tad stiffer than the Husqvarna, but it fires-up after just three pulls. It really needs to be started whilst on the ground; secured by your foot.

Otherwise it does leak a tiny bit of chain oil, but I think this can be regulated from somewhere within.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely. For the price of some shrapnel you'd find down the back of your sofa, you have what seems to be a very reliable machine. I might even buy another one to keep up at the barn. It sounds good too!

Cheap doesn't always equate with 'rubbish'.... Score: 9½/10

Sunday 5 May 2019

ESCAPE to a large kitchen/diner, with three receptions rooms, four bedrooms (all with en suites), a manageable garden, an annexe for holiday lets, somewhere for Chickens, a vegetable garden, fruit trees, and a paddock for several Alpacas. Preferably on the edge of a village, within walking distance of a pub'.

I have to admit that on rainy afternoons (not that we have that many), Lady Magnon (and I) do enjoy this wonderful show, hosted by the fragrant Alistair Appleton, but I would like to suggest that they change its name to the above.

The house-hunters usually have quite substantial amounts of money to spend, are unbelievably 'picky', and generally appear desperate to overtake those illusive 'Joneses'. Their demands always dismiss either thatched roofs or internal beams (a strange thing when you're looking for a country house), and they always refer to stones as 'bricks'. Give me bloody strength!

On a recent show one woman even rejected a fabulous property because the superb, very expensive, and brand new kitchen, had cupboards rather than drawers.

When so many people have difficulty even finding a suitable rental property, these house-hunters demand the most ridiculous facilities, and of course (as they're townies) nothing is ever right for them. Occasionally the show includes a reasonably sensible couple, but the majority are just crazy parvenus with impractical rose-tinted glasses, and whimsical 'country' dreams.

If you want to see how people regard property in the UK; watch it. BBC1 3 pm.

Saturday 4 May 2019

Black Hamburg.

We have plenty of wine/juice grapes, but only one black eating grape; a classic Black Hamburg.

Probably one of the best known eating grape varieties in N Europe, it is easy to grow, produces large crops, and is delicious. It has countless different names, including Black Muscat, and Muscat de Hambourg. 

Developed by a Mr R Snow of Bedfordshire in 1850, it is now extremely widespread throughout glasshouses across the UK.

I planted mine in 2017. Last year it gave me a taster of what's to come, by producing two small bunches. This year it is covered in flowers, and should produce up to 50 bunches.

I shan't let it get any bigger than it already is. If I decide I want more, I'll plant another elsewhere. 

I can hardly wait.

Friday 3 May 2019

May Day in Paris.

Ah, May Day in Gay Paree. It's what dreams are made of!

May Day is celebrated in many different ways around the world, but here in France (and Paris in particular), the left-wing Black Bloc group celebrated by burning cars, throwing pavées at the Police, and smashing as many windows as possible. This young man (above) has actually removed the protective boarding so that he could get-at the glass. Who said 'romance' was dead?

Paris was once again ablaze, and the air thick with acrid smoke and Tear Gas.

Well done chaps; another fine example of Socialist ideals in action; Messrs Marx and Engels would be proud of you.

Thursday 2 May 2019

Veggie Wednesday.


We are still keeping to our Veggie Wednesdays, and yesterday was no exception.

Aubergines, rather like Mushrooms, are a very good alternative to meat when making curries, and we eat a lot of both.

In this case I took a good splash of Rape Seed Oil, fried off some Cumin, Coriander, and Kashmiri Chilli powders, then added bite-sized lumps of Aubergine. I added some chopped baby Tomatoes, Lemon juice, seasoning, and a splosh (technical term) of Yoghurt to serve.

There are certain dishes where the lack of meat is unimportant, and this is one such. What I don't like are veggie dishes where you find yourself saying 'this would be far better with some meat in it'.


My Mushroom curry is even simpler. The halved mushrooms are fried with Tandoori and Garam Masala powders, a splash of Lemon juice, and given some seasoning. A simple dal with Basmati rice completes the dish.

Both the above photos are from previous postings. I'm becoming lazy.

Wednesday 1 May 2019


I used to buy a lot more plates than I do nowadays; I've had my wings clipped!

Many have never been used (by us); the above being one such case.

I have 8 of these soup bowls, and they live amongst many others in a dark cupboard, never seeing the light of day.

They were made by Longwy, in Lorraine; up by the Belgian/Luxembourg borders. I think the factory may now have closed.  

The hand-painted pattern (which is called 'Caprice') is very 1930's, and its simplicity reminds me of Clarice Cliff.

I suppose we ought to use them; at least once.

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