Saturday, 12 January 2013

Happy New Year!

Impressive church. Drunken loutishness not pictured.
Belated good tidings; hope you had a great festive period and that the near year has kicked off in a style not too dissimilar to that which you would have chosen for it. We had excellent Christmasses. Plural? Why yes; you see Kasia's folks are Polish, and so for the them Christmas Eve is the big thing, and so she was at home celebrating that while I headed off home to Scotland to imbibe outlandish quantities of various comestibles and accompanying libations with my clan. Just when I had started to feel healthy-ish again, it was down to Lincoln for a stag do. Lincoln is a lovely city and it was good to have a chance to wander round and see the Cathedral and old town before the staggish unpleasantness kicked off, booze and matching shirts to the fore...

Did you get anything good? I scored the usual bounty of excellent and idiosyncratic gifts that come from having a family (well, a Dad mostly) so keen on finding "diamonds in the rough" from second hand and junk shops. An American paraffin lamp, a game where you bet on the outcome of a tug-o-war between an orangutan and a sumo wrestler, and a book about Maru, the internet-sensation cat were some of the best-received offerings. Also brilliant, and very useful, was a tagine that I got from my sister. I've always been a bit dubious about what exactly it is a tagine offers that a big cast-iron pan doesn't, but the couple of things we've cooked in it so far have been brilliant, the sauces produced from long simmered meat being light but improbably well-flavoured. Plus, it looks really nice.

The good ship tagine's maiden lamb-based voyage

We haven't actually been to the allotment at all in 2013, about which I am feeling growingly guilty. That guilt will be finally assuaged tomorrow when, despite a particularly baltic forecast, I'll head down for a bit of a weed and a tidy-up.

We did have a quick look in on the plot on New Year's Eve as we got a call from the fantastic Tom who had put the finishing touches to our new fence.

We've even got a really sensible bit on it that will lift completely off to make it super-easy to get a tractor load of manure in. Barrowing in four tonnes of shit through a daft little gate last year was no fun at all. This new set-up will be a vast improvement.

Poo will come in here
Kasia wasted no time in putting one of her Christmas presents from me to good use. Hurrah for the compost aerator! We recently figured out that Kasia's love of composting may have something to do with the Mr Fusion Home Energy Reactor from Back to the Future pt II; an early childhood lesson in the possibilities of creating something useful from kitchen scraps.

All because the lady loves to aerate compost
Of the onions, garlic and broad beans we planted in the autumn, only the garlic looks like it will come to anything. Presumably the cloves' papery jackets have protected them from the appallingly wet autumn and early winter. We've got three varieties planted, plus elephant garlic, so it will be fun to see what comes of them, and at least our autumn plantings haven't been a complete wash out.

Good to see you sir.
Apart from that, the plot at the moment is pretty much a blank slate. We've still got some leeks and chard ready to pick and eat, but that's about it. Time to hit the seed catalogues and get planning...

Tabula Rasa


  1. I like that aerator thingy, I might have to get one of them. Happy New Year!

    1. I know it seems a bit daft not to just use a spade, but if you've got one of those tardis-like black composter things then it's great for really turning the heap without the need to take the bin off and doing it with a spade/fork. Recommend!

  2. I need one of those compost aerators. And the tagine. Happy new year!

  3. I love the compost aerator! Best xmas present for years!

    There are a few designs out there but i think this is definitely the best design! Very simple - one piece of metal with turning handle at the top and corkscrew bottom does a fab job of reaching right to the bottom of the heap to bring up as much 'stuff' as possible to get the air in! Not sure who i managed without it now!!


All comments gratefully received. Sorry about the word verification thing, but I've started getting bombed by spam.

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