Thursday, 27 August 2015

A wet day in Northampton


Travelling up from London I got 'detrained' at Northampton due to a shortage of crew. It was the day that Northants were playing Australia but due to the downpour the game was off for the day.

I asked around about the where abouts of the statue of the town's Radical MP Charles Bradlaugh. I was mostly met with blank looks and offered to the directions to the pub named after him

Finally, at the tourist information office-and after some research, I was directed to a small traffic island close to the cricket ground where the yellow statue stands.

Bradlaugh's battles rumbled on through Gladstone's second government and apart from boots and shoes he remains the most remarkable thing about Northampton. There is a portrait of him in the town museum

Saturday, 8 August 2015

The Allotment and stress reduction

 The bright morning sun woke me unreasonably early this morning, so rather than lie-in complaining about the pain in my shoulder I decided to pay an early visit to the allotment.

Nobody else was about when I arrived but during the next couple of hours -before most people's breakfast- two more plot holders cycled by.

Having lifted the potatoes already ( salad variety Nicola and a poor crop of Shetland Black) the second two beds are empty except for some leeks that the sharp eyed observers will have noted. The front bed with the fine meshed insect barrier around it contains a fine crop of carrots and parsnips. The great danger to carrots comes from the carrot fly. It is not a very athletic bug and cannot get more than 18 inches off the ground-hence the open top barrier arrangement. Mind you it is reputed to have a magnificent sense of smell and will home in on a carrot patch from great distance.

The first bed with the blue hoops which supporting netting is strawberries -variety Maris de Bois. They have been excellent this year and really do live up to their billing.

The next bed -again with blue hoops is for winter brassicas-cabbage (Durham early) kale, cauliflowers and sprouting broccoli. Beyond that the onions and garlic have been lifted. On the right hand side are the runner beans and borlotti beans  followed by a gooseberry bush and then dwarf purple beans . And beyond that are my three Ben Sarek Blackcurrant buses. Alongside them are the pumpkins-Crown Prince(the best culinary squash/pumpkin) and Sumo. Mollie and I won first prize in the Ainsdale Show with s Sumo pumpkin one year. At the back are the Raspberry canes Joan J and at the very front right is my red currant bush bought from Wilkos in an end of season sale-the variety is unknown.

It is amazing how a couple of hours on the plot can revive my spirits and take my mind of the pain in my shoulder-mind you I have no doubt that my aches and pains will return to trouble my sleep tonight