Thursday, 18 July 2013

In Praise Of: Water

An action shot of me watering some veg. High drama, I'm sure you'll agree.
Or, rather, in praise of having a decent supply of it. Until last summer, each plot on our allotments at Nunsmoor had it's own water tap. The problem was, they were all in some kind of loop whereby it only needed one or two people in your vicinity to turn theirs on to deprive you of any water at all. In dry periods, this was a serious pain in the arse. Then, after a vote at the AGM, better water pipes were installed, less dependent on others usage, and with much improved pressure. An increase in fees of £10 per year seemed very reasonable for this. Of course, we then had one of the wettest spells on record, rendering the whole thing a bit of a running joke. Until now...

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Factoring in a Fab Weekend

A Police Chopper flies over the plot. Hangover or not, it would've been a crime not to have gotten down there. BOOM!
It has been very much a Factor-50 type of weekend up here in the North East, as it appears to have been pretty much everywhere in these sceptered isles. Sunday in particular was an absolute stonker, with just enough breeze to keep conditions from being unworkably hot. Although at one stage very much regretting the second half of a too-moreish bottle of wine that was imbibed on Saturday eve, I managed to get a fair amount of weeding done this weekend, which was much needed as things were threatening to get pretty untidy. We realised we hadn't any plants to go into the gaps that we're just about to create, so I hastily sowed some lettuces, radishes and kohlrabi in modules and Kasia bought some of the last of the leeks and red cabbages from Wylam Nurseries.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Restaurant Review: Zapatista Burrito Bar, Newcastle

Enough colour for you?!
During the vast majority of the 12 or so years I have lived in Newcastle, it has, where Mexican food is concerned, been a total desert. "When the bloody hell is someone going to open a Mexican place?!", I thought, frequently, shaking a clenched fist skywards to no great effect. There was a place doing "Tex-Mex" near Haymarket that I believe traded in nothing much more interesting than loaded potato skins and the like, so I never went. Latterly, Las Iguanas has brought its brand of vague, South American-filtered-through-chain-restaurant thing to town. So when, quite a while ago now, I learned on Facebook that a Burrito Bar was opening up, an intrigued and hopeful eyebrow was raised in anticipation.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Gardening in fast-forward mode, plus Happy Birthday blog.

Day 1

Some time later...
It seems a tad redundant writing this as the pics here are from almost a week ago, and things are really moving quickly now. Continued decent growing weather has seen things growing noticeably by the day, and has left us struggling manfully to keep up, to the extent that writing about what's happening down at the plot has come second to actually trying to find the time to get down there. Nonetheless, in the interest of posterity, here's what was happening on our allotment last Sunday.

Actually, before I get into that, I noticed that I've been doing this blog thing for just over a year now, so in spite of my reservations about attributing anniversaries to inanimate things like bits of amateurish writing on the internet: Happy Birthday Patchy Growth! To mark this momentous occasion, I thought I'd bung up a pic from our very first day on the plot next to one from Sunday, both taken from the same spot. See if you can tell which is which...

Monday, 1 July 2013

A Bit of The Trip. Restaurant Review: Holbeck Ghyll, Windermere

The name Holbeck Ghyll has been firmly lodged in my memory since it featured in an episode of the brilliant series The Trip featuring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. Kasia and I headed over to the Lake District this weekend gone to meet up with my folks and have a look round Beatrix Potter's Hilltop Farm, something Kasia has wanted to do for ages. Ever-eager to crowbar a posh lunch into an afternoon out, and unable to get a booking for the bargainous-sounding set lunch at The Samling, Holbeck Ghyll it was. I'd read some not-so-great reviews elsewhere (for example here and here), some claiming that the Michelin star held here wasn't perhaps justified, but they were all from a while back, so I was more than happy to find out for myself.
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