Showing posts from July, 2018

A Poison Spree

 It shows how up to date I am in the garden (thanks to all the wonderful summer weather over the last couple of months) when I finally get around to clearing shelves in the garage. However, and retaining a gardening theme, I attacked all those historic containers of pesticides and weedkillers that have been sitting there for years (in one instance over a decade and a half) with a vengeance. Having resolved to adopt organic methods several years ago, it was a long overdue clearout. Imagine my surprise when a check of the labels revealed a host of containers with chemicals now banned within the E.U., although luckily some, if not most, I've never actually used. Whatever were farmers and gardeners thinking of throwing volumes of bifenthrin, malathion, permethrin (even their names are frightening) onto plants in the hope of discouraging insects, not to mention copper sulphate to treat fungus and sodium chlorate and simazine onto weeds. All poisons of one degree or another tha

Fame, Fortune and Retirement in Bristol

 To be honest the title of this blogpost is, shall we say, misleading although I would certainly count myself as fortunate to have spent two nights in Bristol this week. It is a most attractive city and I say that despite the fact that every patch of grass we saw was totally scorched and for the most part attempts to keep flower borders watered and blooming had been abandoned. Tourists, however, flock to the harbour with its converted sheds now hosting eating, drinking, exhibitions, a cinema and museums including Brunel's SS Great Britain restored to its original Victorian splendour.  There's also a wonderful old town area with a market and pedestrianised streets.  As for Temple Meads Station with its crenellations - wow! The purpose of my visit was not to seek fame, although I had been invited to speak at an inaugural event organised by Linkage Network to promote a retirement project in Bristol. Despite the searing heat, attendance at The Wate

It's Not a Bus Pass but..

Mister E and I had a day trip to London on Saturday, catching up with the youngest who has recently graduated from University College and now started her first "real" job. It meant an early start but 2 hours and 15 minutes by train passes quickly with a good book to read, and a return journey ensures its completion too. Previously we have made similar visits using a Two Together Railcard, £30 per year and so long as both named people (identified by their photographs) travel together there's a reduction of one third off the cost of the tickets but no discount for travelling alone. It seems, however, that I have now attained the magic age where I qualify (as has Mister E for several years already) for a senior rail card. One each means the same reduction at double the cost,  but with the wonderful flexibility for solo travel. The world or rather the UK's rail network is now my oyster! Of course coming from the bracing North, we were astounded by just

Going Grey

We've had no rain at all following the sudden and unexpected thunderstorm on 16th June which I subsequently discovered killed 3 sheep and destroyed numerous electrical items in various homes in our village as a result of the lightning and power surge that occured. Since then conditions have continued benign, warm and sunny. The problem of course is that plant and vegetable species in my garden are all of varieties grown to cope with the vagaries of a typical English summer and need moisture on a regular basis. Since the water butts dried out I have had to resort to the hosepipe and mains supply. It doesn't seem right, however, to spray high quality drinking water on a garden. In the absence of water in the butts, neither the carefully installed micro irrigation system in the greenhouse or leaky hose around the vegetable beds, can function without connecting to a mains water tap. Accordingly, in the interests of sustainability, not to mention living within n