Tag Archives: rhubarb

M32 – a longer journey than I intended

I’ve just added some extra information to the Bolton post, as Derrick Knight provided some insight into his Bolton Marathon experiences. I knew, from reading his posts, that he’d done a lot of running, but hadn’t realised it took him so far north.

I’m now moving on to M32, KT18, BR6 and ME8. I’m going to have to get a move on as we’ve had a busy few days and am accumulating postcodes faster than I’m finding facts.

M32 is part of the Manchester postcode area, one of the few that have a single letter.

A lazy search for M32 brings up Messier 32, also known as M32 or NGC 221. It is a dwarf “early-type” galaxy and is around 2.65 million light-years from Earth. It’s in the constellation Andromeda and was discovered in 1749 by Guillaume Le Gentil.

He has an amazing life story and, to be honest, knew more about astronomy than I will ever know, despite me having 269 extra years to learn it.

However, as he didn’t do any of this in Manchester, it isn’t relevant.

The next reference is to a motorway near Bristol – 4.4 miles long, and one of our shortest. It’s also a catamaran and some sort of audio equipment.

M32 Manchester works better as a search. It’s Stretford, a town that has many things to recommend it – a record-breaking art exhibition, a successful football team, a Jacobite skirmish and the first planned industrial estate in the world. My favourite fact isn’t even that it was nicknamed “Porkhampton” in the 19th Century due to it’s production of pork (up to a thousand pigs a week) and black pudding. I’m fond of pork…

Actually, that probably is my favourite fact, though it is run close by the fact that it used to be such a centre of rhubarb production that rhubarb was known locally as “Stretford Beef”. I like rhubarb too.

KT18 is easier. It’s Epsom in the Kingston on Thames postcode area. If you aren’t into horse racing there’s not much of interest round here. We stayed at a hotel on the racecourse a couple of years back. The breakfast was excellent and we saw parakeets over Leatherhead Crematorium.

BR6 is Bromley postcode, and just a couple of areas east of KT. BR6 covers Orpington, which is famous as the town where the Buff Orpington chicken was bred, along with the lesser known Black Orpington and Buff Orpington Ducks. Despite strong opposition from the poultry I’m going to have to nominate the Orpington Car as the interesting fact.

It was built between 1920 and 1925 and nobody has seen one since a, possibly unreliable, sighting in Crossroads during the 1970s. Somewhere in a dusty barn the last of the line may be lurking.

ME8 will be dealt with in due course…

Yesterday, I forgot the Title

Number One Son cooked tonight, so there are no photos of the food. By the time I got back from picking Julia up from work (tonight being her late night) he had it ready and it seemed rude not to eat it right away.

It was, for those of you who like detail, a steak and shallot pie from Keelham Farm Shop, Skipton. The pastry was good and crispy and there were good chunks of meat in it. For my taste it was a bit over-salted (which seemed to come from the pastry) and shallots are always a bit too sweet. It was still good though.

We’re having the samphire tomorrow.

We had the orange and chilli marmalade this morning. Julia likes it. I’m dubious. I’m not sure there’s a gap in the market for a marmalade that slips down nicely but leaves a burning sensation in your throat.

Did I mention the rhubarb flavored chocolate yesterday? It was quite nice, and very Yorkshire, but it didn’t make it through the night. In fact, when I check, I notice it didn’t even make it into the blog.

The day started with a trip to work, with traffic jams and many thoughts (mainly homicidal). It progressed (if that is the word) to more traffic jams, a trip to the sorting office to pick up a parcel, and a blood test. It only took two attempts this week. I’m hoping I pass as they have currently reduced the interval to a week and weekly blood tests are a bit limiting.

It all turned out to be a bit of an anti-climactic day in the end. Even the threatening clouds didn’t turn into the threatened storm.

At least, when I got home, I had parcels from ebay to open.

I really must start getting things organised.

I went to Leeds today. It rained. And to make things more depressing I trusted the satnav, which never ends well. If I ever enter Mastermind my specialist subject could well be “Being lost on the Ring Road in Leeds”.

I’m home now and watching The Apprentice. It gives me no hope for the future. If I was the producer I would rewrite it as a horror movie and  kill one every week in a horrible, ironic manner. The one selected from tonight’s show, to make and sell burgers, would be in serious trouble if I had access to an industrial-sized mincer.

To be honest, if I was in charge I’d feed the lot of them through it, including Lord Sugar and Baroness Brady. I give them their full titles because I know, from reading his book, that he considers it important, even if most of us find the current honours system a bit of an embarrassment.

Fair play to him though, if you excel in your field you deserve an honour. Not quite sure what field the Amstrad email phone was a leader in, but the principle is sound.

I like Claude Littner, I’d let him have his own series. Well, with my plan for the rest of the cast you’d have quite a few weeks to fill in.

After leaving Leeds we went to Skipton and visited a farm shop. We bought rhubarb coulis, samphire, marmalade with orange and chilli and a big steak pie. I will try to take pictures tomorrow if I have time after eating. It’s a big pie and will take some shifting.

Today’s photos were snatched during a dry few minutes. Sorry there are no better ones.

Hope and Plums

In all the wedding cake, hope is the sweetest of the plums.

Douglas Jerrold

Despite the temperature and wind, a lone Peacock toughed it out in the garden this morning. I’m sure there would have been more if we’d had more time, but we could only manage a flying visit. Julia was taking a group for someone else at the main building and we had to be there for nine.

While Julia had a word with the school caretaker I took the chance to take some photos. These include the fruit and some of the beds. I took the fruit because it’s a nice thing to photograph (and some of it is just starting to ripen). The beds are quite good too, with some of the grasses now starting to show well.

I’m taking them as reference shots to help Julia with her garden planning. Now the mint has been cleared by one of the volunteers (too soon in my opinion) they are looking a bit bare, and devoid of pollinators. Apart from that I’m doing nothing – Julia can work out what happens next.

It’s going to be very interesting as the seasons come round, as we need to see what bulbs are planted.

In truth nothing much needs doing as it’s a well established garden with plenty of provision for wildlife, but there’s always something needing to be done. They look white and green from the photos but there is lavender in there and a few remaining orange lilies with scattered evening primrose.

Soon we will be picking fruit and collecting manure for the rhubarb beds. The rhubarb has been a bit week this year, a sure sign it needs feeding as it’s always known as a “hungry crop” by ancient gardeners leaning on spades.

When we fed the rhubarb on the farm we ended up with a rhubarb jungle, so watch this space for further news.

 

Things that went right

Well, I did a post a while back on things that didn’t go according to plan. I’m feeling a bit more upbeat at the moment, so here’s a companion piece about a few things that went right.

The agriforestry project is going nicely and we’ve just had a review of the results from the Woodland Trust, with Quercus Community being mentioned (which is unusual as we normally get missed out or referred to as “farm staff”). That’s good because everyone is going to get a copy of the report to take home and show their parents.

We’ve just started planting under the trees as part of the second phase, with rhubarb and wild garlic going in.Some of the rhubarb is Timperley Early from the market and some is Early Red that we grew from seed this year.

You can’t see much rhubarb in the picture, but if it’s ever viewed by the right village it will probably solve the mystery of where their idiot disappeared to all those years ago.

byron rhubarb

Based on this year’s harvest and the pressing we should be on for a bumper year next year. So far we’ve passed the production for last year and the cider is tasting good. There’s a slight disagreement on that subject at the moment – I think it’s shaping up nicely to be a flat, dry cider. The farmer thinks it’s like vinegar, but I suspect that’s because his idea of cider is something sweet and fizzy. So far all we’ve done is put it in a demijohn with an airlock and the natural yeast from the apples. We may add a little sugar to give it some sparkle but I’m hoping that will be all. Quite honestly I’ve been a bit surprised by the number of things some people add to the stuff when you read some of the recipes on the Internet.

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And finally, here is the Sloe Gin. The photo is a bit strange because the flash shows up all the mess on the glass and alters the colour a little. I’ve just had to decant it all into a bigger jar as the seal on one of the smaller ones started to leak (something we only found when someone tipped one up to look at it). Despite that it’s looking (and tasting) good, though I only had a couple of spoonfuls that wouldn’t fit into the new jar. Honest.Drunk in charge of an Ecocentre wouldn’t look good on my record.

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Day off – shouldn’t have bothered

Had  a day off today – should have known better. Sorry to everyone on Twitter – you may have read that already.

Arrived around 5pm to find that the polytunnels hadn’t been opened all day. Most things were actually OK, though my rhubarb plants, now around 2-3 inches high, hadn’t liked the heat.

After that I found myself in demand for a number of jobs and when I finally finished watering (the job I came in to do) I noticed the pigs weren’t happy. They had knocked the trough over again to make themselves a wallow. Then they decided that they wanted  a drink. They are considered to be an intelligent animal, as well as a source of the world’s most perfect food – bacon sandwiches.

There is a lot more to say about intelligent animals and bacon sandwiches – please don’t think I’m treating the subject lightly, I’m just pushed for time.

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Also managed to get two new beds rotavated. It cost me a few quid but I just ran out of time to do it myself. And I’m lazy. Plus I’ve learned it’s better to pay someone and get the job done rather than look at a plot full of weeds and good intentions.

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