Sunday, 28 April 2013

Allotment geekery

Yesterday the weather was luuush so of course we had to get on the allotment, at this time of year there is so much to get done.  Not only that we have been so starved of sun this winter it's nice to have the sun on your face, even if it wasn't very warm just being able to get out there was enough.

In the last week the seedlings have really gone for it...

Courgettes at last!  These pesky things weren't germinating at all (or so I thought) so I kept planting more thinking I would have a summer of no courgettes *shudder* but I now have about 10 or 11 plants.  Anyone who has grown courgettes will know four plants are more than enough for two people so the folks at work are going to have to brace themselves for the onslaught of veg I'm going to force upon them.

I reacted in much the same way to beetroot as I did to courgettes, I now have 51 plants growing (oops).  Luckily we love beetroot, if you haven't tried beetroot thinly sliced on pizza you are seriously missing out it is mega tasty, try it.

I have never grown broad beans before so I'm happy with the way these bad boys are turning out.  Other people in the polytunnel have been growing broad beans and their plants have pods on them already, I'm not too concerned, from the looks of these flowers we are going to have plenty to keep us busy (so close to trying out broad bean pesto, I just need to find where I have 'safely stored' the recipe).

Well this is a selection of what we have on the go.  Bottom right we have peas that are ready to go out, on the left many, many beetroots, in the modular tray are the butternut squashes I'm hoping will make an appearance soon, borlotti beans which will be hardened off soon, broccoli, turnips, french beans (purple and yellow) and aubergine.

What we did on the plot: 
  • Station sewed our first row of radish
  • Got the first batch of carrot seed in
  • Dug out the dandelions creeping over from our neighbours plot
  • Hand weeded the onions

Saturday, 27 April 2013

A little post about Mewster

Well firstly I have to apologise to those of you who follow me on Instagram (@mozzymrs) because you will have seen these photos already, BUT in my defence I wanted to write a post about Mewster the wonder cat and she doesn't like cameras but seems not to realise I can take photos with my phone.  She is such an awesome cat, she is so gentle, affectionate, funny, sweet natured and daft.  She is a joy to live with and everyone who meets her seems to think she's pretty awesome too (she won MoMa over by spending a good minute or two licking her hand) so please excuse this somewhat indulgent post about my cat Mewster (who MozzyMr still insists on calling Supertube).

This cat just loves the bath, and water, and "hiding"

Blue steel


Guilty look



Cat with a tasche!

The morning after the night before (catnip comedown)

Sunday, 21 April 2013

A (couple of) month(s) of reading

It has been a while since my last 'A month of reading' post what with work being busy, things at the allotment needing to be done, cars breaking down and the general day-to-day getting on with life lark there hasn't been an awful lot of time for reading but here is a summary of what I have managed to get through:

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Ooo I do love a bit of whimsy!  The Night Circus is packed with that magic lark and Morgenstern's writing is so engaging.  Some of the characters inevitably have a floaty, wispy edge to them which isn't always my favourite but that didn't massively detract from this excellent story.  The Night Circus appears without warning in a field on the edge of a town or city, open for several nights visitors flock to see the mind boggling array of attractions and concealed magic, but (a ha ha!) the circus is merely a forum for a more sinister game of chess being played without regard for the people involved or the inevitable consequences.

2. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

This isn't my favourite book of this month's list, but it is neither-the-less lovely and sad, and hopeful.  You may have guessed that the tale follows Harold Fry, a retired man living in Kingsbridge (which is a whole other layer of awesome for me because I know Kingsbridge well and loved reading about it) whose life of retirement has taken a rather mundane turn of pottering and routine.  One day Harold goes to post a letter, but instead of posting it at the post box on the corner he decides to walk into town, but it's a nice day and he continues his walk until it turns into his pilgrimage.  Taking in towns of my childhood and present (which blew my mind a little bit) the story unpicks the events leading to Harold's need to make amends.  It's a very gentle, beautiful story which I would definitely recommend.

3. Dominion by C.J. Sansom

Dominion is a fab book, very much along the same lines as Robert Harris' 'Fatherland' in that it tells of an alternative history of Britain.  A Britain where we didn't win the Second World War and Nazi influence over everyday British life is gripping ever tighter.  The lead character seems an unlikely spy whose life has already been filled with grief and the burden of keeping secrets, I have always loved Sansom's books (especially the Shardlake series) and of course I love a bit of Second World War historical fiction!  Perhaps it's not the sort of book you would enjoy as much if you didn't have a vague interest in historical fiction, I'm not sure, but certainly you rattle through the pages at a pace.  I didn't read this book on a long journey but would imagine it would be the perfect travelling companion.

4. Uglies by Scot Westerfield

*Utter bobbins alert!* The Kindle store kept recommending this one to me (clearly my own fault for reading too much young adult fiction) so I thought why not.  Ugh, this book is packed with self indulgent teenage, over the top angst nonsense with a moral message that dangles itself in your face screaming 'Look at me! Look at me!  Why is no one paying attention to meeeeee!'.  If you are buying a book for a teenager go for John Green whose writing has a moral message without being all, you know, 'morally'.  I would rather bathe in a vat of rat urine whilst being forced to listen to the Sound of Music soundtrack on repeat than read any more of this series.

5. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Moving swiftly on... The Snow Child, nice, but a bit dull.  Ivey is being very indulgent, very writery, and overly descriptive for my tastes with tale.  I managed to skip several pages of rose tinted, gooey talk of snowy forests and the wonder of supportive neighbour folk whose spidery senses tingle at a single  flicker of distress, they race round with pots of jam and heart warming words of support and love and still the story hadn't moved on!  The thing is, it is a nice book, just not to my tastes.

6. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Right, back to a little bit of historical Second World War fiction *glee*.  Female pilots and spies trotting about in France being tortured by the Nazi's, being rescued by and working with the Resistance and having a jolly spiffing time of it.  After The Snow Child I wanted a tale with a bit more pep and this did the job!  The story is told via two main characters and takes the general form of diary writing (ish) the first half of the story is told by a British spy being held in France by the Nazi's and is supposed to be a retelling of her training, and a confession of codes etc I can't really go into much more detail without ruining things if you decide to read it.  It is an engaging story and I liked Wein's writing (despite it taking a little bit of getting used to) which wasn't too rose tinted and nostalgic.

Well hopefully I won't leave it too long next time, as always if you have any recommendations I would love to hear them!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Allotment geekery

It has been a busy, busy week at work so I haven't been able to get to the allotment during the week, we'll be heading off to plant more seeds and dig things over today.  To get my allotment fix I've been monitoring the progress of the following:

Borlotti beans, I cannot wait to get these out when it's warm enough I dug compost trenches back in the autumn and have been filling them with kitchen scraps and newspaper etc  because apparently beans love compost rich soil.  I  dug compost trenches last year and it seemed to work quite well, fingers crossed the beans like it!

Tomatoes and chillies, I really can't take credit for these, tomatoes and chillies are MozzyMr's pet project, we're still using the chillies he grew last year which we dried.  Plus the amount of passata we're still getting through is astonishing!  Great on homemade pizza though so no complaints here.

Pfft mushrooms.  These were supposed to be butternut squashes but nothing has happened with them so I'm going to have to buy more seeds because the butternut squashes we had last year were the best.  The compost we bought from Makro was riddled with fungus, green and blue mushrooms have been popping up all over the place.  The umbrella looking ones here only stay looking like that for a day and then they shrivel up to virtually nothing.  Whilst I haven't got the butternut squashes I really wanted it has been nice to see these develop, they're really delicate and beautiful (photographs them and unceremoniously chucks them in the compost bin).

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Escape to the museum

We had to go into town today for various bits and bobs, sadly town was packed.  Absolutely packed.  Now I'm going to sound like a bit of an arse now but I walk everywhere, to work, to town, to the supermarket, everywhere and there is a pavement etiquette!  (I jest not.)

  • Don't walk two or three in a row and expect me to step into the road because you can't bear not to be walking alongside one another for three steps.  
  • Like when driving if there is an obstruction on my side I'll wait for you to pass, if it's on your side, you wait until I pass it's just polite!  
  • Don't carry a massive umbrella, if you must carry one at least lift it up above eye poking level.  
  • If the path is so narrow it is difficult for two people to pass one another then it's not a shared cycle path, ringing your little bell at me won't make me step into the road to let you pass, get a helmet, get something high-vis and learn the highway code.  

My rant does have a point, town was full of people dawdling about, we watched one couple walking in the road with a bus following them less than half a foot behind them AND THEY DIDN'T NOTICE!  We had to escape for an hour and regain a sense of equilibrium so we went to the museum.  We took another look at the National Portrait exhibition, the insect and taxidermy rooms (of course) but what really caught our eye this time were the postcards visitors had written about their visit.  The best ones were from kids who had drawn pictures about their visit, here are some of our favourites:

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Allotment geekery

If you follow me on Instagram you will have endured borlotti watch for the last week!  These little beauties have been living on our bathroom windowsill but it was time to repot them and house them in the polytunnel.

Peas!  I'm going to experiment this year, I've started these seeds off in the polytunnel and will harden them off and plant them out in May, but I'm also going to plant directly in the ground at the end of April and see how each gets on.  I definitely didn't plant enough peas last year.

Golden beetroot, an ABSOLUTE favourite of ours last year, cut thinly and put on a homemade pizza (using homemade tomato sauce of course!) was a revelation, so delicious!

Turnips, I have really over planted turnips but I'm too soft to just throw away the little runt seeds so will give them a try, I might be asking for your turnip recipes soon :/

Ahh my broad beans (ignore the weeds) I have never grown these before but I'm happy with how they are turning out.  I can't wait to give broad bean pesto a try (if only my basil would hurry up and grow!)

Tuesday, 2 April 2013


I bought a really beautiful planter at the car boot sale ages ago, the person I bought it from put it in a carrier bag, as he handed it to me the handles broke and it smashed.  I was gutted, it was minty green, opaque and JUST what I was looking for!  I spent months looking in charity shops and car boot sales to find something similar and then we went to the Vintage Store in Exeter and I found this planter.  It is not quite as nice as the previous one but it will certainly do for now, finding it also meant I got to visit Trago Mills (the weirdest shop, literally) to buy some succulents for it (that's the done thing for blogs these days isn't it?  Vintage planters and succulents?  I couldn't let that tend pass me by).

Monday, 1 April 2013

Life lately (and American Splendor)

You might have noticed that 30 Days of Lists tailed off last week on this little blog.  There are a number of reasons for that including illness and general life irritants but mostly because they felt forced and I was bored of doing them.  So I stopped.  I'm taking the time to recover from this five day stomach bug (seriously I just want some food!) before I have to return to work later in the week.

Moving on... yesterday at the car boot sale MozzyMr bought American Splendor on DVD.  Based on the comics of Harvey Pekar it is the best film I have seen in SO long, as ever Paul Giamatti is awesome.  Not everyone will find it inspiring but I really did, and funny and has rocketed into my top 5 films ever.

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