Friday, 23 June 2017

We eat again!

Haddock's is almost filled to capacity. There is just one corner left for a third row of 'Contender' French Beans. 

It's at this stage when everything starts to over produce. With the Beans already starting, I can see that we shall soon have excess. I've tried freezing them in the past, but they don't freeze well. Lady Magnon always asks for plenty of beans; then we become inundated. We can only eat so many!

We're now harvesting Courgettes, Peppers, Beans Onions, Perpetual Spinach, Potatoes, and Salads. We'll also soon be eating Tomatoes, Aubergines, and other Peppers.

There are also Cherries, Tayberries, and Black/Red Currents. It is amazing how much food can be grown on such a small plot.

Some clever person observed that 'Gardens require water; mostly in the form of perspiration'. We'll soon be needing some of the other sort; it's very hot and dry here.

This was our very favourite Cumin flavoured 'Compost fry-up' that was created with yesterday's harvest (above). A vegetarian dream.

The most recent addition to Haddock's is the Brighton Seagull (top left). Yes, it's wings rotate when the wind blows. Kitsch, or what!

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Knife Crime in the UK.

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Last week two London schoolboys died, in separate incidents, as a result of knife crime.

Last year (2016) there were a staggering 32,448 recorded knife crimes in the UK. In certain circles, carrying a knife has now become the norm. It is the preferred weapon of the under 18's.

Many years ago, such offenders were sent off to Borstal, Approved schools, Farm schools, and other 'naughty boy' institutions. Not exactly pukka prison, but the regimes were usually pretty tough.

Nowadays there are Secure children's homes, Secure training centres, and Young offenders institutions. From what I understand these places are no more than 'homes away from home', and they offer very little in the way of correction; I believe attendance is viewed as a 'badge of honour'.

No home is without a knife drawer, in fact a home could hardly operate without knives, so they are within reach of every young person; and a single knife would probably never be missed if 'borrowed'. Many children regularly take a knife with them to school. The situation has now become so serious that police refer to it as an 'epidemic'.

Children are being knifed for 'looking at someone in the wrong way', or 'for coming from the wrong side of the estate', or even 'for talking to the wrong girl'. Anything can be 'wrong', and no excuse is too feeble.

As with the threat of terrorism, knife crime is almost impossible to police. Many do-gooders were against Britain's 'Stop and Search' policy, claiming that it was racist (Theresa May herself was against S-n-S). Why searching someone should be racist I'm not sure, but I suppose they mean it's racist if the person being searched is of 'Afro-Caribbean' descent.

N.B. Having said all that, I must admit to being never without a knife in my pocket. However, mine is there for bucolic purposes; NOT for aggression.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017


If there's one blasted weed that I hate more than all others; it's the common OXALIS.

My neighbour's cleaner once boasted that it was thanks to her that I have them all over Haddock's. She had thrown the tiny bulbs over the wall (before I'd made it into my veg' patch), and boy how they spread!


The wretched plants pop up over night, and are simply everywhere. I try to dig out the tiny pink bulbs, but it's a never-ending task.

When each of my four separate growing sections at Haddock's are cleared of their finished crops, I shall simply let the wretched things grow, then blast them with the most evil Agent Orange Oxalis Killer that Monsanto can make for me.

They're driving me absolutely bloody NUTS!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Booty from the Boot Sale.

Frayssinet le Gelat hosts the first 'boot sale' of the season that we actually attend, and on Sunday it provided this wee haul.

A very nice set of 10 silver plated 'Christofle' desert spoons. I've only cleaned one so far.

A cute little early jug, for which I cannot imagine any use; other than to admire.

And a silver plated ice cube grabber; fun for the boys, and very practical for Lady M's G & T.

Not bad.


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The Bees arrived about three weeks ago, the hives are brought in to pollinate the Chestnut plantations; whilst doing their job, the Bees often stop off en route to drink from our pool.

I have always lifted out bees and other insects by hand when I find them in difficulty on the water, and, until now, I have NEVER been stung.

Yesterday, however, whilst I was busy doing my 100 metres breaststroke, I saved the life of a bastard rogue Bee, and he returned my generosity by stinging me on my finger.

I went directly to the 'net' to look for home remedies, and came across several. Honey, it seems, will do the job, but I wouldn't give the Bee population the pleasure, after such behaviour. Baking Powder can be made into a paste and applied. And the sting can be immersed in Apple Cider Vinegar. I chose a version of the latter.

I soaked the middle bit of a sticking plaster (Band Aid, Elastoplast, etc) in the ACV, and stuck it on my finger. The effect was almost instantaneous, the pain subsided, and I almost forgot about it at once.

In future I will set aside my insect-friendly bravado, and use a skimmer net.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Oh dear, oh dear!

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I suppose it was almost predictable that some idiot would take, what he thinks of as, 'revenge'. But this is NOT the way. This childish tit for tat attitude is not helping what is already a desperate situation. It would have been far more poignant if these criminals (for that is what they are) would have gone to the mosque in Finsbury Park, and shaken the hands of those who were leaving.

Understanding the behaviour of others is sometimes baffling. Just a year ago we ourselves experienced some very bizarre and irrational behaviour from some neighbours. The incident is long over, but we are still perplexed by their motivation even today.

Attitudes can become so fixed in people's minds that all logic is left behind. Hypocrisy can replace otherwise rational thinking. Criminal activity can overpower otherwise law-abiding individuals.

Fanaticism, drugs, and alcohol, can all play a part in such irrational behaviour, but there is no excuse.

How all this will end I have no idea, but end it must or the situation will become dire.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Laurier Rose.

I'm not a proper gardener (just a tidier), but in my humble opinion the Oleander is the most evocative plant/flower of Southern France. 

I never know the names of plants (except for a few), and always refer to them as 'that red thing by the studio door' or 'the one in the big pot by the pool'; etc. But I do know my Oleanders.

I'm sure I remember this Oleander being much redder than it looks this year. I'm sure I can remember buying it because it was blood red, and not the pink colour it seems to have become.

Anyway, it still looks pretty good, and will continue flowering well into autumn.

I dare not mention to the children that it's one of the most poisonous plants around. They'd be bound to test it.

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