raspberryfool: (Gardening)
After the successes of previous years, I decided that my tomato shelter—which is intended to keep my plants dry—should be a little more ambitious this year. I'd love a permanent greenhouse or polytunnel, but there's a downside to its permanence. I rotate my crops between the garden beds, hoping to avoid (or at least minimise) disease and pest problems, so a fixed structure didn't seem appropriate for me. My tightwad personality also won't easily allow me to spend upwards of £100 on something that won't make me a penny in cash and only a modest saving in produce. So I decided to build my own! Cut for length, images and boringness! )

It may look like a dog's breakfast but it seems to work well. This morning the temperature inside was 25c; outside it was 17c. My plan is to put tomato plants directly into the soil, where they'll hopefully stay dry and blight-free all summer. My friend Alan named it the Wendy House; I think that's rather fitting so the WendyHaus it is! I'm still waiting for a force ten to rip it all up and wrap it around my neighbour's satellite dish!
raspberryfool: (Gardening)
Hey LJ, this year's growing season is well underway. I've planted out four rows of about 25 to 30 mangetout pea plants (you do the maths!)—two each of two heritage varieties. The plants I started in February are now climbing their canes, and last weekend I planted another row of each, germinated a month later. This should stagger the season and avoid a glut; I'll start another row of each around May for planting out in June.

This year I chose Désirée for my maincrop potatoes again. I don't want to let last year's disappointing results sully my view of this fine variety. This time tey're in Midusmmer plot, which has some of the best soil in my garden. The garlic in West seems to be doing ok, but I don't think it likes being in heavy clay. West is always a difficult plot to work; it's full of clay which I suspect the housing developers backfilled after stealing the good stuff to sell. If I get another disappointing crop from there I'm going to turf it over. Life's too short!

My major project this year, the tomato tent, is now under construction using some 4' poles, long garden canes and some old hosepipe (sorry Dad!) to build a temporary, polytunnel-like structure. I'd love to have a proper polytunnel, but the cost and the permanency are major obstacles and the temporary nature of my structures makes crop rotation much easier to achieve.

It's really gratifying to see plenty of bumblebees, and some honey bees, visiting my garden. The flowering currant bushes, forsythia and primroses seem to be popular nectar plants. I noticed a bumblebee pollinating the gooseberry flowers today; they have such insignificant-looking flowers that I've never really paid much attention to before! I've seen several butterflies around too; it makes my neighbours' gardens seem like green deserts in comparison!

Talking of bees, the other day in a local park I saw some tiny mounds of earth looking rather like ants' nests, but with a single, large hole at the summit. I've noticed these in previous springs, but it was only this week that I was privileged enough to watch one of the nests' inhabitants, a solitary bee emerging to investigate some daisies. I wonder how many other visitors to this busy, popular recreation ground notice these wonders of nature beneath their feet. How wonderful!
raspberryfool: (Gardening)
Well that's another winter over and done with; this one was very stormy and wet, but surprisingly mild. Luckily there hasn't been any flooding or wind damage here; though i suppose I shouldn't count my chickens just yet!cut for boring stuff )
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raspberryfool: (The wind changed...)
Well hello, Livejournal, here we are again. New year, new something-or-other. I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday season.

The local arts group I'm kind-of involved with are currently showing their biannual Open Exhibition. I'm proud to say that three of my photographs are on show there. The brief was to supply up to three pieces of recently-made art in any medium, so i decided to enter three images from my ongoing project, "Ghosts and Remnants". I've been photographing some buildings and structures in Northampton that have been, or soon will be, demolished to make way for something else. These buildings and structures include two Victorian gas holders, the Fishmarket, Northampton Power Station—which has only its facade intact, the Greyfriars Bus Station (infamous for being called "the entrance to Hell" on a television programme called ''Demolition''), and the former workhouse (which I haven't started photographing yet!).

Of course there are plenty of extant images of these places, but I wanted to photograph them differently. I'm working in black and white (as usual!), using film in my medium format camera. That alone lends a different look from a bog-standard DSLR, and I've used unusual viewpoints, long exposures and some night photography to exploit different lighting effects etc. The series stems from a short series I photographed around a now-demolished business park, including some old railway infrastructure. I photographed those in colour but I wanted to differentiate the later work.

My images made the exhibition, but instead of my proposed 12" framed photographs, the selection panel wanted to display three small sample prints I'd enclosed with my submission. That kind-of threw me off-balance and I couldn't decide whether there was an issue around space, or whether it was because I hadn't yet produced the work. It turned out that they'd enjoyed the tactility and intimacy of the small prints, ad compromised with me by accepting the larger prints for sale. I'm planning to take part in a short talk about the works, so I need to spend some hours in the darkroom to print some of the images I haven't yet printed. There are rather a lot of negatives to choose from (a good thing I think)! Anyway here's a scary picture of me with my images; enjoy at your peril!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/fishmarketnorthampton/11708727015/
raspberryfool: (Default)
With the dry, sunny summer this year I expected at least as good a crop from my potato plants as last year's 28 lbs. Boy was I in for a shock; although I managed to produce a crop of sorts, this year's efforts were way below my expectations.

I planted the 30-odd Desireé tubers in 'West' on the 17th of March—St. Patrick's Day—which is supposed to be the traditional planting date. Although there were a few flakes of snow in the air when I planted them, little did I know that we were about to endure the longest spring cold spell since the dinosaurs ran out of Weetabix. Consequently, most of my plants didn't emerge from the frigid soil until May and some didn't bother to emerge at all. I filled in the missing plant's spots with emergency tubers from Poundland; I think they were Maris Piper. In April I also planted a dozen or so Charlotte tubers from a bag of Tesco (yes I know!) and some left-over Estima from last year's crop that had chitted in the kitchen in 'Strawberry 2'. These all germinated nicely and were up and away before the ones in 'West' had even had their breakfast and put the kettle on!

Over the course of the summer, the Desireé put on a good display of flowers and even produced a few topfruits which might be good to play with next year. Removing the flowers is supposed to concentrate the plant's energy in tuber development; of course I know that now... The plants were mercifully blight-free this year so my hopes were seemingly to be met.

Potato plants in 'West' patch; notice the gaps in the rows of emerged plants

spuds1 small



So what did I get when the haulms eventually died back? Many of the tubers are small and a fair few had been hollowed out by wireworms and nasty, little black slugs that bored into my spuds and no doubt had a party inside for their friends. Several had decayed in the soil and turned into a disgusting, black mush. The whites in 'Strawberry 2' were worst affected, but these were intended as a 'cleaning crop' for that patch so I didn't expect miracles.

My total haul was around 23 lbs of mostly low-quality potatoes you wouldn't want to find on sale at Tesco; I did get around 18 lbs of good ones for storage though. So what went wrong? I suspect my eagerness to get the crop underway was partly to blame for the poor showing. The cold spring, late emergence and perhaps lack of watering on my part can't have helped matters. I think the slugs probably remained underground for most of the year; instead of scoffing my other crops they were having a potato party! Perhaps I left them in the ground too long; I didn't harvest until September, and left some plants until early October. Or perhaps 'West' with its damp clay soil isn't best suited to pommes de terre. Next year's potatoes will be going into 'Midsummer'.
raspberryfool: (Gardening)
As the gardening year draws to a close, let's have a quick resume of what's been occurring. I've been harvesting various crops and have been pleased with the results, which thanks to a dry, sunny and warm summer, have been pretty darn good. The tent has done it's job nicely but it's now tattered, torn and falling apart.This year's tomatoes have been a marked improvement over last year's blighted washout. I picked my first few 'Sunstream' in late July and they've been cropping well since. The 'blocky plum' shape seems to be well-established in my grow-out line now, with only one plant giving me smooth, ovoid fruits. The rest look like little peppers, decorative and very tasty. I've saved my F5 seeds for next year and by the F7 generation the line should be stable. I haven't really been taking notes this year because the plants are fairly consistent. Perhaps I should designate a new name to my line; perhaps 'Stream of Sunshine' would be a good one.

Inside the tomato tent


Elsewhere in the tomato tent, the best-performing variety has been Real Seeds'  'Lettuce Leaf' bush tomato. It was my saviour last year; this year it's produced those small, slicing tomatoes with great consistency and a lovely, deep and complex flavour. But they're still interesting enough to produce conjoined or fasciated fruits and some 'mini-beefsteak' shaped tomatoes all on the same bush.
Also from Real Seeds came 'Jen's Tangerine', a lovely French variety that produces fruits ranging from cherry tomatoes to small slicers. These start out ripening pure yellow and then turn a lovely, golden yellow-orange. These have also been prolific producers and will definitely be a choice for next year. 'Gold Medal' has been a disappointment again; the first fruit has only just started colouring up. i'll save some more seeds but it won't be on my priority list next year, though I suppose I could grow it as alater-ripening crop to see me into the winter months. 'Black Cherry' is delicious as always but I only grew a few plants and I must remember to save some seeds from those too. Here we see Jen's Tangerine at the front and Sunstream behind:

Jen's Tangerine (front) and Sunstream (rear)


I'll post a few more pictures taken this summer sometime this week if I remember. Meanwhilst, what happened to the wascally wabbit? Well dear reader, just after my last post its owner returned from holiday and managed to recapture it. I haven't seen it since. I'd like to say I miss it but I don't, well not really. Oh okay, I miss it just a tiny bit but the thought of my plants going unmolested gives me comfort.

wabbit
raspberryfool: (Default)
Just a quick note to inform anyone with weblinks to my B7 convention reports at http://www.afterglow.fsnet.co.uk that I'll be removing the website within the next week.
After six or more years online, I think it's due for retirement, and I don't want to lose control of it should Orange remove access to the old Freeserve webspace server(s).
Since there's a Robots.txt file in my webspace, it isn't availaible on the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, so if anyone really wants/needs to keep a copy of the site, save it to your hard drive pronto!

Of course, I have the website archived to CD-ROM, so if you really want/need a copy of the reports, photos etc, please e-mail me at kevs90000 (AT) yahoo (DOT) com (DOT) au.
raspberryfool: (The wind changed...)
On July 1st, the wascally wabbit was caught and returned by my southern neighbour; he managed to trap it using a plastic laundry basket. Order was thus restored to my garden and I removed a few of the plastic bottles I'd placed over some of my more vulnerable plants to stop them being munched. Then I returned from a week in Devon to find that the wabbit had returned, evidenced by the piles of poop in its usual pooping place!

So I went down the street to the owner's house and knocked on her door. Her bright yellow car was absent and so was she. So I wrote a polite-but-firm note to its owner and shoved it through her door to inform her of the whereabouts of her wandering wodent. The next day (last Thursday) her friend and housesitter rang my doorbell. She'd read my note and wondered what to do, but she didn't bear any wabbit trapping or transporting devices. But I led her into my den of iniquity garden and we tried to catch it using a plastic net. Whilst the wabbit was distracted with pea leaves and trimmings Ms. Housesitter threw the net and almost managed to capture it. But the wabbit wiggled away and was gone!

Ms. Housesitter told me she'd once been Ms. Wabbit's neghbour and that Ms. Wabbit had been irresponsible with her pets. She also said there was an open-ended pen for the wabbit, and she said she'd been told the wabbit was "a bit of a wanderer". Ahem—it's a wild animal! What did she expect it do do? Sit in a deck-chair and read the bleeding newspaper?

Anyway the current situation is that my southern neighbour's dog chased the wabbit on Friday, so I haven't seen it since then. Maybe it's hiding out somewhere in one of the unkempt and unoccupied gardens it has access to, or maybe it's wriggled its way through the fence into the allotments. Meanwhilst, Ms. Wabbit weturns on Monday so stay tuned for more wascally wabbit updates!
raspberryfool: (Gardening)
I never thought I'd get excitied about peas. I rarely buy them, except dried ones in boxes which make great mushy peas. But I love crisp, fresh mangetouts and sugarsnaps. Despite the cold spring, the lacklustre summer and the predations of a certain wascally wabbit, the pea plants I planted out in February are doing very nicely. The younger plants are also coming along well, and I've been busily tying them into the canes for support, and to prevent them from growing crookedly along the ground.

I'm growing a heritage variety called "Golden Sweet", whose first pods are almost ready to pick. These are a mangetout type pea with beautiful, yellow pods and bi-colour purple flowers that never fully open. I'm going to have to discipline myself though, since I'll want some to mature for seeds.

yellow mangetout


The other pea variety I'm growing is "Bijou", which is a sugarsnap type which I'm promised has 7-inch long pods. In fact, everything about this variety is large – even the leaves! These also have beautiful, bicolour, purple flowers.

bijou1


bijou2



Peas and French beans are self-pollinating, so there's no need for bees to visit them and there's very little chance of accidental cross-pollination occuring since the anther and stamen are inaccessible. As an experiment I've taken pollen from each variety and used it to (hopefully) polintate the other in the hope of procuring a large-podded, yellow sugarspap variety. Rebsie Fairholm's website Daughter of the Soil has loads of information about breeding vegetables and is a wonderful (but alas no longer updated) resource.
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raspberryfool: (Gardening)
The garden looks particularly lovely this time of the year, especially since the weather decided to edge the thermometers back above the ten-degree mark. On Thursday, I looked out from my bedroom to see the lilac in its full glory. You can also see that I've been busy with building stuff, more of which later.

lilac1


My garden has lots of bluebells, which my father planted to brighten up the drab spaces. There are both Spanish and English types, and even some pink and white ones scattered around in odd corners. They look particularly good in the morning, with contre-jour lighting:

bluebells1

bluebells2



Inside, the tomato and bean plants have been growing quite tall, and were clearly longing to get their roots into some good, warm soil. Here are the windowsill crew looking wistfully out of the windows:

sill1

sill2


So I decided to get busy and plant them out, but not before building the tomato shelter. I've been a little more adventurous than the usual sheets of polythene tied to poles. I bought nine bent cane supports from a pound shop, about a mile of string and I used the sheeting from last year to construct a mini-greenhouse. The point is to keep off the rain, which can lead to late blight infection if the plants remain wet for long periods. I planted out the plants today after their week's hardening off period; hopefully we won't now get a series of hard frosts that will send me scurrying out to protect my babies:

shelter1


Remember the rascally rabbit I wrote about last time? To stop it munching its way through my entire stock of pea plants I built a fence around 'Midsummer' plot:

peacage1


The rabbit actually disappeared for a few days; I hardly saw it last week but it appeared again today as healthy as ever. It's acting much more like a wild rabbit now and it's more wary of my presence. Perhaps the local cats have been chasing it around! I think it's a doe anyway, it has that cute, 'butter-wouldn't-melt' look that only females can muster! The final picture shows some of the damage it did; the plants in the centre and lower right are the youngest and obviously the most tender. Luckilly they've just started to recover, putting out new leaves.

peacage2


Tomorrow, I'll plant out the rest of my French beans inside the 'Midsummer' cage, then I'll sit back and watch my bountious harvest develop...
raspberryfool: (Gardening)
On Saturday last, whilst looking through my kitchen window, I saw a rabbit sitting in the garden. I went out to look closer; it didn't run off as soon as it saw me, but waited until I was about 4 feet away, which told me it was somebody's pet. It couldn't get past my southern neighbour's fence and it couldn't get out into the allotments. Hoping it would find its own way home, I went about my business until late afternoon.

But it was still there, munching away happily on my grass, so I knocked on a few doors. A woman seven doors down turned out to be the owner; she'd bought it in November as a "house rabbit", but it wrecked her house so she built it a run in the garden – obviously not very successfully. She came up to my garden but neither of us could catch the bloody thing; apparently it's called "Binky" – I'd run away if somebody called me that! That night I was chatting over the fence to an allotment holder who has killed thousands of rabbits; he saw it and said it was a wild rabbit. However it probably wouldn't survive for very long in the wild.

By Sunday, it had found my growing pea plants and was munching away on them. There's not much I can do about this apart from shooing it off. The allotment holder said he'd lend me a live trap but hasn't, so I erected a barrier around part of the "Midsummer" plot from glass and boards which seems to work. I was hoping that without access to the peas it would get bored or hungry and go elsewhere but it got to work on my strawberry plants. I can't keep it off the strawberries because the plot is too large and I don't have anything to surround it with. So I took to shooing it off – where's Elmer Fudd when you need him?

Yesterday it was still around. Clearly frustrated by the lack of pea access it had somehow got through the southern neighbour's fence and was busy exploring their garden. I couldn't block up the access to my garden because they have a dog, which is usually let out each evening. As it happens I was cutting the lawn when their French door opened. A few minutes later, the rabbit came shooting through a tiny gap in the fence, straight across my garden and under the hedge! I'd never seen it move so quickly, even when I shooed it off. I didn't see it today so hopefully it's found its way home and learnt that it's better off there! However I'm not taking any chances; the pea fence will remain for a while at least. Now if only it could be taught to eat dandelions, slugs and snails...
raspberryfool: (Gardening)
I promised I'd finally post some images of my garden - and here they are! I took these with my rubbish mobile phone camera since it's the only decent-ish digital camera of mine that works. But since I don't want to break your page or make you wait 3 hours for the pictures, you can click the thumbnails for larger images. It's not painful, really...

So this is the view from my bedroom window looking almost due east. First we can see the beautifully-manicured lawns tended each and every night by 300 elves from Fairyland. Would I lie to you?

garden1


From about the 9 o'clock position above the path is "Lawn", the first imaginitively-named veggie patch. At 10 o'clock we see the eucalyptus tree , and just beyond that is the grapevine.

gumtree


At 11 o'clock, just right of the yellow forsythia and my compost bin is "Strawberry" with the garlic growing amongst the primroses and (gasp) strawberry plants! Just beyond the compost bin is the rhubarb. All along the back fence are the raspberry canes, and in the little dip is "Raspberry" patch.

strawberry


At about 1 o'clock behind the plum tree are "Bonfire" and "Midsummer" patches. Behind these glass panes I'm growing mangetout peas; the glass has done an excellent job of sheltering the plants from the wind, frost and snow.

peas1

peas2


Between the plum and the lilac trees lies "West of the Plum Tree" patch. Somewhere under that Northamptonshire clay lies a bevvy of spuds waiting to sprout forth. On the left is the blackcurrant bush where I was found as a wee sprog. I know it's usually a gooseberry bush but I wanted to be different!
house2


Then, more lawn, the lovely flowering currant and not-so-lovely holly tree.

house


So if you've ever lain awake at 3 am wondering what my garden looks like—now you know! See I told you it wasn't painful!
raspberryfool: (Gardening)
I'm sorry about the negative tone of my previous post; I think Im was letting certain negative things get to me. Don't worry though, I'm not on an angst trip or about to jump off a bridge. Anyway time to step outside into the garden. What a strange, cold spring it's been. It still seems like March with the forsythia, daffodils and flowering currants only just coming into bloom, and the rhubarb is pushing forth at least a fornight later than usual. Oh yes, the cold has certainly taken its toll!

But what's this? The mercury has risen above ten degrees in the past few days and it's time to take account of garden activites so far this year. In a burst of activity in mid-march I planted potatoes in West of the Plum Tree. This year's main variety is Desiree, a red-skinned spud which is described as "good all-rounder". I had some small Estima and Maris Piper tubers left over from last year's crop and I've planted those too.

The mangetuout and sugar snap peas I planted out in Midsummer patch* during late February's hopeful warmth have mostly survived the arctic blast, though some were bent and broken by the snow, even though the panes of glass I placed around them for protection kept most of the snow away from them. I'll be planting more to replace them, and to provide a successional crop. The garlic bulbs in Strawberry have grown nicely despite the cold, firmly dispelling the myth that 'you can't grow garlic in England'.

Cutting the grass for the first time didn't go quite as well as I'd hoped. The old push mower is great for smoothing out the awkward clumps, and the blades don't break like those in the Flymo. Bout it takes a long time and the rain has delayed things for a few days. I suppose I can use the time to clean and oil the thing!

Inside the house, my windowsills are filled with hopeful tomato seedlings, mostly about four inches high and having their second leaves. I've transplanted some to their own pots but I ran out of compost so I'll be doing the remainder today. Some seeds have refused to germinate; my stock of seeds must be getting old and I'll have to replace them one way or another. Leeks are germinating in a seed tray and French beans are planted in another. The new season's plants are a hopeful sign of a busy and interesting garden year.

*I name my vegetable patches for the purposes of this journal: Lawn, Strawberry, West of the Plum Tree, Midsummer, Bonfire and Raspberry. There used to be one called Mint but I've grassed that over. One day i'll get around to posting a diagram!
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raspberryfool: (Gardening)
The snow has gone - for now at least, and we've been blessed with a few very mild days. Yesterday when I was out-and-about the air felt almost like spring! Well it's only a few days til Imbolc, and what better time to think about the coming year's garden plans?

I've just received my seed order from The Real Seed Catalogue, which sells all sorts of weird and wonderful vegetable varieties, including some unique things like giant-podded sugarsnap peas. Nothing they sell is hybrid or GM, so gardeners can save their own seeds for future years, thus preserving the rarities for future generations. I think their work is really important for food security - one day we won't be able to import beans from Guatamala or spinach from South Africa. Anyone interested in gardening owes themselves a visit to Real Seeds' website.

But I digress. I've ordered a few new things to experiment with in my garden. I've never grown peas before, and I love mangetout so I've ordered 'Golden Sweet', an old0fashioned yellow-podded mangetout pea. I've also gone for 'Bijou', the above-mentioned giant sugarsnap pea. According to Real Seeds, it's an old variety from the 1880s that they have rescued from a few seeds found in a jar in a cellar, so it's exceedingly rare. It also bears gigantic 7" edible pods, which I'm really looking forward to showing off with. I can just imagine my friends' faces when I present them with a few of those!

Also new in my seed box from Real Seeds is 'Jen's Tangerine', an orange cherry tomato bred in France, which I'll be growing alongside their own 'Lettuce Leaf' and 'Gold Medal' tomatoes. I'm not planning to grow my stalwart cherries 'Gardener's Delight' and 'Black Cherry' this year; although they both do well in my garden I want to try something different. the tomato plot won't be the same without them.. oh well I might just grow a few 'Black Cherry', since it has a lovely, nutty flavour and looks so unique...

Other things I'll be growing: potatoes - I haven't yet decided which variety I'll grow this year, but 'Estima' has done well for me the last two years. 'Cherokee Trail of Tears' French beans are another Real Seeds rarity favourite with an intersting story. Their 'Bleu de Solaise' blue winter leek will be back, and I might try growing caulifowers again, but not on the same scale as last year when I planted a whole plot with them, only for the local slug population to devour!
raspberryfool: (Gardening)
After a month or so of garden inactivity, in which I've really missed it, I finally got outside and did something. It wasn't much, just lighting the bonfire - which promtly went out - and taking a few cuttings from the flowering currant bushes with their fresh green spikes of bud getting ready to burst open. I plan to complete a hedge along the south side of my garden.

My old neighbour - Mrs. Edwards - planted it when my sisiter and I were children. I remember sliding undernerath the hedge into her garden on my belly - and subsequently being yelled at! She planted privet near the house, then flowering currant, winter jasmine, frostythia and dog rose, but she didn't plant all the way to the fence at the bottom, probably because of the two beautiful old Bramley apple trees. Those trees are long gone now - except from my memories - and the hedge line peters out about 20 feet clear of the eastern boundary fence. But the years and the neglect too their toll and a few winters ago I decided to sort it all out. I pruned everything hard back and cleared out all the dead wood. I also tied some of the young, flexible stems into horizontal positions to resemble a traditional hedge, which seems to have worked quite well.

alt
Flowering currant and forsythia in my garden


I think its about time to dig out the feral strawberry plants and complete this rather lovely flowering hedge - which looks especially good around March to April when the flowers are all out together. Even now in the depths of winter, the winter jasmine brings a welcome splash of colour to the garden. I took about seven new shoots from last year's growth and snipped them just above a pair of buds, potted then into general purpose compost and placed them on my windowsill. Hopefully in a few months time they'll have started putting out new growth, and I can get this hedge line sorted out!

And so, as thje snow falls I'm reminded that there's only a few weeks til Imbolc. I want this year to be a positive one with lots of goings-on in the garden, and in other areas of my life. I know it's easier said than done, but really I need to mentally kick myself up the arse, blow off the cobwebs and get some stuff happening, so here's to an inspiring, energetic and wonderful gardenining year for all!

What are your garden plans for this year?
raspberryfool: (Default)
So here we are at the saliva soaked, chewed up, spat out fag-end of the year. So it's New Year Resolutions time, natch.

In 2013 I pledge to:

a) start smoking;
2) drink more beer;
iii) eat more cake;
d) take less exercise;
h) take fewer photographs and;
8) spend more money.

In no particular order. Shall we see how long I last..?
raspberryfool: (The wind changed...)
I won't be at the Redemption convention next year, having decided I've kinda grown out of my B7 fandom. I've also found that Redemption is too broad in its scope these days and there's not enough B7 content to interest me, I don't watch television any more and I'm not a reader of literary SF. I've enjoyed the previous cons I've attended and I have some happy memories, but I think it's time to put that stuff behind me and move on. That said, I don't rule out attending the 2015 con depending on my circumstances etc.
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raspberryfool: (Decorating)
In March, I wrote about the impending loss of our beloved Fishmarket. I have many happy memories of it and shall be sad to see it ripped down - another piece of Northampton's heritage will be lost and although it wasn't listed, English Heritage recommended that it be spared the bulldozers.The building is still there, though it's due to be demolished very soon. I've been photographing the building from an unusual perspective; by poking my camera between the bars of the shutters I can see reflections of the building's environs - Cromwell's Cafe, the bookies across the road etc - the shutters themselves and the contents of the building, especially the huge, old, three-faced clock that hangs from the roof girders. So we see three layers of detail, which I find quite interesting. It's part of an ongoing series about the changes in Northampton; the buildings and structures we've lost to so-called progress.

Anyway I digress. I've been helping NAC to smarten up their new home at No. 9 Guildhall Road; since August I've been part of a group of volunteers who've been removing old fixtures and fittings, and painting the walls and woodwork of this former Victorian hotel. It was most recently used by the County Council for their offices and vacated in 2009, and it's a beautiful old building. They're planning to house artisits' studios, a performane space and workshop spaces. I've really missed the huge, open and airy art space of the Fishmarket, but things are looking more positive for out local arts scene now.

I've also been painting my bathroom. it was previously lemon yellow, which was quite nice but a little gloomy and was starting to flake off in places. I've painted the walls pure white and it now looks much better; the woodwork will be poppy red and the door panels white. It's part of my plan to smarten up the house for potential buyers; I'm not planning to move next year, but maybe soon... Anyway the hallway, landing and small bedroom all need decorating, so I think I'll be busy next year!
raspberryfool: (Raspberryfool)
First frost (this morning - confirmed) has come early this year.
raspberryfool: (Gardening)
Now we're into October and the weather is a huge contrast to last year's Mediterranean interlude, and we cannot be far from the first frost. I've picked the last of the French beans for drying and removed the canes, dug out the pumpkin, courgette and melon vines, taken down the tomato tents and sent their residents to Camp Bonfire. I picked 3 - 4 lbs of green tomatoes, most of which will probably end up in chutney. Here's a picture of last year's crop - happy days!

Here's some tomatoes I ate last year!


cut for waffle )

What's left in the ground? The leeks in 'Bonfire' have done well, but the cauliflowers in 'West' have been rather pathetic and have only provided tiny curds with well-spaced out florets. Perhaps they don't like heavy clay soils - oh well, I'll chalk that one up to experience! I had some decent plums this year, though these were a month late - and the meagre grape harvest will probably be left for the birds to enjoy. There's some autumn raspberries too; a real treat on a gloomy old day!

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August 2017

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