Wednesday, June 24, 2020

In My Small Vegetable Plot. A Review of Vegetable Seed Tapes

A solitary beetroot from my first seed tape planting!
I grow a selection of vegetable and salad crops intensively in two small beds in my cottage-style garden. The results that I had from spring onion (escallion) and beetroot seed tapes have so far been very disappointing.

 I made succession plantings of sections of tape from late April onwards. So far, only two beetroot plants have appeared and the spring onions are taking a very long time to germinate, despite some lovely warm sunny days here in Robin Hood land. I suspect that, as with the beetroot, most of the spring onion seeds will not germinate.  I have packets of conventional seeds in hand and am about to wander into the garden and sow these alongside the remaining unplanted tapes so that I can make comparisons in a few weeks time.

You can find out more about cottage garden plantings from my article on

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Why Drink Decaf?

What, you may ask, is the point of denuded, decaffeinated coffee? Well, there isn't one. If you don't mind the prospect of a future of addiction, shot nerves, insomnia, high blood pressure and headaches. Ever wondered why some European nations are so excitable? It's the ritual of the early morning espresso, so thick that it may be possible to stand a spoon in it, and so strong that it has to be washed down with a glass of water by the unaccustomed and unwary.
OK, I exaggerate. But I do have difficult-to-control high blood pressure; and caffeine doesn't do anything to abate my insomnia. So I have been drinking  decaf for a long time - possibly longer than you have been alive.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Fast and Easy Recipe an Indulgent After-Dinner Treat -Lemon Posset

Lemon Posset is a deliciously and indulgent end to a meal and it's both quick and cheap to prepare. It’s high in fat and sugar  so best eaten only as an occasional treat. The three ingredients for three portions are -

  • A 300 ml tub of double cream
  • One lemon - unwaxed
  • 70 g caster sugar
Make sure that the lemon is unwaxed, as you will need to grate the rind.

Here's what to do:

Monday, July 15, 2019

A New Biography of Jane Austen

 Top of my list of favourite recent reading is a biography of Jane Austen by the historian Lucy Worsley who, if you live in the UK, you may have seen presenting a variety of history-related documentaries.

Godmersham Hall, home of Jane Austen's brother, Edward Knight. Mansfield Park is thought to be based on this property

 I was totally engrossed by Jane Austen at Home, which was a Sunday Times Bestseller. I borrowed it from the library but enjoyed it so much that I am about to buy a copy for reference purposes when reading Jane Austen's novels. Yes, I was so intrigued by Jane Austen's life and how it influenced what she wrote about that I am now re-reading her novels - in a totally different light from that in which I first read them.  My current bedtime reading is Mansfield Park. Well, I say bedtime, reading but I am so absorbed in it that I am spending as much time as possible racing through it. The garden has been sadly neglected and the ironing piles up!

If you are interested in Georgian history/Jane Austen's background and how it influenced her writing, then I thoroughly recommend Jane Austen at Home. If you appreciate impeccable characterization, primary historical evidence about the Georgian era and literary irony in a page-turner about the considerations faced anyone contemplating marriage - then and now - try Mansfield Park.