You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Nothing to do with Gardening’ category.
A day off today as it’s half term and I thought I’d get some jobs in the garden done whilst supervising the children. But it’s far too cold – bitter – and it’s just started snowing again.
On the veg front there’s chillies (Joe’s Long) and aubergines (moneymaker) in the propagator, garlic on the plot and broad beans and shallots in the greenhouse. The only harvestable veg left are parsnips and artichokes. I am yet to get really motivated for the season ahead, a spell of mild weather would help.
To change topic – as there’s not much veg growing happening – one thing I have been concentrating on is losing a few pounds – which had crept on in the run-up to Christmas (and recent years!). This has developed into a challenge to get somewhere near the weight I was when I came back from travelling, thirteen or so years ago now. Turning 40 and a recent MOT at the doctors has helped spur me on as well.
But the real catalyst was watching the Hairy Bikers – “Hairy Dieters” – series. They like and eat the same food as I do, not diet food, but hearty meals – pies and curries etc – so I thought if they can do it and lose 3 stone a piece so can I. Now I’ve never been skinny (well maybe when I was 8 years old) but according to google I should be 15 stone for my height of 6’5″. I’ve set myself a target of 16 stone – like I said I’ve never been skinny and I’m 40 now – which when weighing in on Jan 5th left me with a 3 stone 12 oz weight loss target. Quite a bit to shift but so far so good as I’m 1 stone 10 oz down in 5 weeks. It’s not revolutionary though – it’s not the latest craze, the 5 day 2 day diet thing, just eat less and exercise more. Plan the week’s meals in advance, cook everything from scratch, no processed rubbish – quite timely with the horsemeat scandal – and count the calories. 1200 – 1300 a day which is roughly half or the normal daily allowance for a man. 300 for breakfast, same for lunch, 400 for dinner and 200/300 for fruit, snacks and milk during the day. A 2 lb a week loss will get me to 15 stone by the end of August.
I can recommend buying their book from which I have cooked many of the recipes. For example last Sunday was bacon with poached egg and balsamic tomatoes for breakfast, chicken ceasar salad for lunch and chicken jalfrezi for dinner.
All I need to do is keep at it and I’ll let you know how I get on – and try and do some more gardening as well!!
This is the most unusual wildlife photo I’ve taken on the plot. Whilst watering in the back garden I came across these two slow worms locked in an embrace – or one was trying to eat the other one! I’ve seen quite a few slow worms around the garden but never witnessed this before. They’re living along the edge of one of the raised beds and have now started to be a lot more active in the warm weather.
A busy weekend ahead with our Horticultural Society plant sale this afternoon and loads of plants to get out in their final positions. Hope you all have a lovely weekend.
I’m not much of a geek but I do like a good stat now and again. So I took notice this year when the Annual Report from WordPress came along and here are the facts and figures for the Two Chances Veg Plot Blog.
This blog was viewed about 31,000 times in 2011 (compared to 13,000 in 2010). In 2011, there were 64 new posts (compared to 137 posts in 2010), growing the total archive of this blog to 211 posts. There were 206 pictures uploaded (compared to 561 the year before). So I’ve written less than half the posts I wrote in 2010 and had almost three times the number of visitors, obviously it’s not all about quantity!
The busiest day of the year was March 22nd with 205 views. In 2010 it was 137 views on December 19th.
Thanks to the top referring sites in 2011 who were:
Some visitors came searching, mostly for sweet peas, hunter thompson, two chances veg plot, celery, and snow. In 2010 sweet peas, big flower pots, flower, cauliflower, and gladioli were the most popular search words.
Visitors came from round the world including Trinidad & Tobago, Peru, Sudan and Northern Mariana (I had to look that one up they are a group of islands in Micronesia).
My posts may have longevity as 4 out of the 5 most viewed posts in 2011 were actually posted in 2010 (2 as far back as March 2010).
So there you go, does it mean anything? No of course not, it’s just a few stats.
That was 2011 and roll on 2012! Happy New Year everyone!
My 39th year starts here, the last chance saloon before the big one! Well before I start on all those resolutions I’m going to have to sample some of these great ciders that Rach bought for me. I’m a fairly recent convert to cider and perry and this selection from Henney’s Frome Valley, Henry Weston’s Herefordshire and Aspall’s in Suffolk are among my favourites ranging between 5.4 and 8.2%. I feel a cider farm visit down the road to Somerset coming on!
Well that’s another Christmas over, so did you get what you wanted?
On the gardening front Rach gave me a pair of Felco No2 secateurs which are fantastic. I have four pairs of cheap and battered secateurs in the garage which annoy and frustrate me every time I use them. They will now go in the bin and I’ll never need to buy another pair again. I’d recommend these as a must buy for any gardener, they’re in a different league to anything I’ve used before.
The Gardman frost guard will come in handy in spring to get some tender veg underway and I was also given some more seeds, well you can never have enough can you! A leaf salad mix, sunflowers and sweet peas.
Carol Klein’s “Grow Your Own Garden” will teach me some propagation techniques, I must admit I’m a bit lost with cuttings etc so this will be a great help.
I was also given a copy of Jamie’s America which has loads of great recipes to try and Mike Harding’s Walking the Peak and Pennines. Regular readers will know I’m a keen hill walker currently completing the Pennine Way in stages so this book will be well thumbed over the winter months.
I hope you’ve all had a great Christmas and got what you wanted from Santa!!
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Best wishes for 2011.
And a couple of festive photos for you taken on our visit to see Santa this morning. Not quite Lapland but he was an informative Santa; for example we learnt that Harrod’s wooden toys are made by the inmates of Broadmoor Prison. There you go fact for the day!
Sunday mornings remind me of the Lou Reed song and they should always be lazy Sunday mornings in my opinion, well as lazy as they can be with two young children!
Saying that today Rach was busy making bread this morning which was delicious. There’s been a resurgence in home backing over the last few years, we’ve seen bread making on TV series like Hugh FW for example. As I mentioned in a recent post I am now on the Horticultural Society Committee and one of our tasks this week is to decide the 5 categories in the cookery section for next year’s Summer Show. So let me know if you have any ideas!
And isn’t this time of year great for garden birds? I’ve replenished the bird table just outside the kitchen window and spent 10 minutes or so scanning the garden for activity. I couldn’t believe how many birds there were. Blue and Great Tits lay siege to the Mahonia Japonica, they were practically buzzing in and out of it whilst a pair Blackbirds and a Robin picked over the leaf litter. There were lots of visitors to the table as well including a greenfinch and chaffinch and of course the ever-present Woodpigeons were stripping the honeysuckle which is all over the back fence. Last of all a Jackdaw popped on to the veg patch briefly to have a peck at something. It was great to see so many birds and has spurred me on to get more feeders up and a water bath sorted out.
I recently took part in a poll on the nation’s favourite river. Well the results are in and the Wye has been voted the favourite. No wonder it certainly is a picturesque river although I do feel sorry for some of the others such as Thames and Mersey that have to do battle with a more urban landscape and have been cleaned up enormously in the last two decades.
Hope you’re all having a lovely Sunday!
This all happened just before 9 a.m. yesterday. The Wilts & Dorset skipper bus broke down and quickly caught fire. Rachel managed to catch the drama just before she took the girls swimming.
Eventually the firemen were on the scene. Fortunately the 5 children on the bus had been evacuated to safety at the first signs of smoke. With the fire out just the shell of the bus remained…………
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime. . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
Today’s two minute silence always takes me back to English Literature class, the War Poets, and Wilfred Owen in particular. We’ll never forget them and what they sacrificed for us, but we must always remember the cruel reality of war.
The majority of my online reading is gardening related, well it’s my main hobby really. But from time to time I go off piste and here’s some of my favourites that keep me going back for more:
Charting the ever-downward spiral of British society is the Police Inspector Blog. Uncomfortable at times but always thought provoking and downright honest it’s on my weekly list to check out.
On the other side of the spectrum “Shit my Dad says” just makes me laugh out loud. One liners a couple of times a month from Father to Son such as “See, you think I give a shit. Wrong. In fact, while you talk, I’m thinking; How can I give less of shit? That’s why I look interested.” Brilliant.
A few years ago my main hobby was fishing so I am a big fan of Caught by the River. Yes there are posts about rivers and fishing but it’s much more than that, an ecclectic mix of nature, music and beer amongst other things. This article sums it up very well.
And finally one simple truth is we’re all getting older and will inevitably start moaning about the younger generation at some point, if we’re not already! This guy has stolen the march, I particulary enjoyed this post.
So this winter I’ll mostly be reading your gardening and veg growing posts with occassional trips out to see what the rest of the world is talking about!