Tag Archives: photo

Slow progress

486 We managed an hour at the allotment today before getting rained off – this (rubbish!) photo shows that we’ve finished what will be the first bed, and have marked out where the next one starts. We thought it would make life a bit easier to have some narrow paths at intervals throughout so that we can get through to water and (hopefully!) harvest without walking over everything.

We were away last weekend at a wedding down south so haven’t done anything here for a couple of weeks. Everyone else has been digging away so we are playing catch-up! We realised that, even just digging one spade’s length down, we were bringing up subsoil, so now we are probably only digging down half a spade’s length, which will hopefully mean that it gets done a bit quicker!

Tomorrow, if the weather isn’t too wet (forecast isn’t great, morning is a bit better though) we’ll do another couple of hours. I must remember this time to take a tub down so that we can confine the growing broken glass collection, and a bin bag for the random bits and bobs of crap we dig up. We haven’t found any treasure yet – so far it’s mainly broken glass (apparently last year a greenhouse had a bit of a rough time at the hands of the wind) and bits of old china mugs, plus odd nails, random unidentifiable metal objects, and quite a few plastic markers. At least the old carpet is all up now (I hope!).

We also dug up a few potatoes that hadn’t been harvested, so at least we know not to plant spuds in the bottom left hand corner (along with not planting onions on the right hand side a bit further towards the middle of the plot – I dug up a couple of those a few weeks ago!). The spuds we bought a couple of weeks ago are happily chitting away – well 3 out of the 4 varieties are anyway, and the other one (pink fir apple – a salad variety) apparently doesn’t chit that well but still works when in the ground, so I’m not worried about that and will plant it with all the others.

I also want to set a few seeds this weekend to start off indoors. The only ones that I need to do this early are quinoa (which I’m expecting not to work, but fancy having a try) and brussels. I forgot to include in the last update that a few weeks back someone from the allotments donated some rooted blackcurrant bush cuttings, so I nabbed one of those and it is now potted up by the back door till we’re ready to plant it on the plot.

I also managed a bit of planting in the front garden today (whilst getting wet). I bought another spade at the garden centre this morning (finally using the garden centre vouchers I got as a leaving present from my last job, in February last year!) and some seed compost, and had really good intentions about not getting distracted and buying anything else. However, knowing where good intentions lead (!) I also came out with a pyracanthus and a couple of alpines (a sedum and another one I can’t remember the name of). So they’re now all planted up, along with a stray bit of forget-me-not which was growing in the gap between a couple of paving slabs but I’ve now transplanted to next to the rose bush.

Celtic Connections 2013 (2)

414We went to two more concerts this week – on Thursday we went to the Old Fruitmarket (way past my bedtime I might add!) and saw Irish band Hothouse Flowers. They were well-known over here in the late 80s/early 90s I’d say, and it has to be said that (with just a couple of exceptions) the audience was pretty much all ‘of a certain age’ (ie our age and older!). I loved their show, the lead singer Liam O Maonlai has incredible stage presence and the whole band were just brilliant. They played probably their best known song (at least over here) “Don’t Go” towards the end of the set, it was actually probably the song I liked least in the set (they did it in a style that reminded me of Paul Simon’s “Gracelands” album), but I was just so happy that they did a song from “Songs from the Rain”, which is my favourite album of theirs and one of my favourite CDs for driving. It was a cracking concert, well worth the late night, although I am very aware that going to bed at 2am on a work night isn’t something I should be doing too often at my age!

Yesterday we went to the Concert Hall and saw the wonderful Shetland band Fiddlers’ Bid (if you click on the link make sure your volume is turned up and you’ll get a taste of their music). We saw them several years ago, I think in 2007, and so I knew we were in for a good night and they did not disappoint. The support act, Emily Smith, was also very good I thought. They also had the brilliant King Creosote playing with them for a couple of tracks, along with a presenter from BBC Radio Shetland who read some poetry in the Shetland dialect which was just beautiful to hear (it’s one of those accents you really have to tune into, if you’re not paying attention it can sound like a different language!). It was a brilliant night and I really enjoyed it (I want to go back to Shetland now).

Celtic Connections 2013 (1)

Well it’s that time of year again, time again for the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow. We always go to several gigs during the festival, I think this year we’re being quite restrained and only have/had tickets for 4 events! We’ve been to two already, with two coming up next week.

392First up, last weekend we went to the O2 ABC and saw Dublin band Kila, who are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. They were a new band to us though, they play a kind of fusion of Irish trad and world music, and were excellent (although to be honest by the end I did find them a bit trippy). The guy who plays the bodhran was like Animal from the Muppets, prowling all over the stage (at least when he wasn’t singing). I did think that they would go down an absolute storm at a festival like Womad. The support act was Scottish band Manran who I really liked (HD wasn’t so keen) – I hadn’t seen them before but had heard of them and heard good things so that’s why I took the risk in deciding on this being a gig to go to. They play traditional Scottish tunes, with a drum and bass added to give it a bit of extra oomph, I thought they were excellent. They didn’t have their singer/guitarist as he had norovirus, and at one point they were thinking they would have to cancel, but despite that I thought they did really well, including finding a guitarist with 2 hours’ notice!

Then on Thursday we went over to the Kelvingrove Museum and saw two more great acts. The headline act was Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares, a very famous Bulgarian women’s choir (with a couple of blokes thrown in for good measure) who I thought were extraordinary. The vocal sounds they made as well as the amazing harmonies (including quarter tones I believe) and fiendish rhythms meant that it really was something to behold, and they made it sound so easy! It wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste, and it’s not something I’d listen to day in day out, but as a show it really was sometihng else and I loved it. Supporting them was English folkie Martin Simpson and Pakistani singer and guitarist Arieb Azhar, who have been working on a collaboration supported by the British Council and the Sage, Gateshead (there’s a bit of blurb about the collaboration here). I loved their sound, Arieb Azhar’s voice was beautiful and really suited Martin Simpson’s guitar and banjo playing. Well worth catching if you can.

Oh Christmas tree

Featuring, amongst others, the alpaca on the top of the tree (the finger puppet came with a gift certificate after HD’s parents gifted an alpaca to a Peruvian family via Practical Action as one of our wedding presents), the Christmas kookaburra (a previous wibsite present exchange gift from Miss Lisa), a couple of decorations from birdie (where’s her blog gone?!) who sent them my first Christmas in Scotland after hearing I was going to be on my own and not actually have any presents to open on the day (long not particularly sad story!), and a little wooden snowman from Finland I bought when I went to Helsinki for a conference – I’d had great ideas about buying Christmas presents there till I saw the prices, all I managed in the end was the tiniest little tree decoration and a shot glass for HD which cost a flippin’ fortune! And the tree – we bought it just before we got married, our first Christmas tree. It’s only tiny, but is so full of memories!


I’ve gone on about it everywhere else so I may as well here too! 🙂 We now have the use of a 1/4 allotment, we’ve been on the waiting list since moving here but expected to have to wait for ages. But a couple of neglected plots had the plot-holders evicted, and the allotment association has decided to divide them into four each, so that a number of us on the waiting list could at least make a start on growing something while we wait for a half or full plot to come up. This has the advantage that we can be growing stuff and getting to know what works in this particular space and what isn’t so successful, and they get to see that we are committed and so giving us a bigger plot in the fullness of time isn’t so risky. So it’s pretty much win-win – I’m delighted!

The various people who have been given this chance are getting together over the coming weeks to clear the plots (they need weeding and digging over and various bits of rubbish removing), and then the plots will be divided and we’ll have names drawn out of hats to see who gets what. I really like this community aspect of it – we’ll all help everyone, rather than just doing our own bit and sod everyone else.

I posted this picture up on my blipfoto blog as well, but I’ll stick it here too – look at the view! The allotments are next to the local Rugby Club, but a bit further beyond the rugby field is the Wallace Monument.

I am really pleased that this gives me something else to blog about, I’ve been a bit lacking in inspiration the last little while! And with any luck HD and I will be Tom and Barbara from The Good Life in no time! 😀

And whilst we’re on the subject of signs of hope …. 🙂

[seen last Thursday from the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. We’re certainly in need of some signs of hope with the weather we’ve been having!]

What with one thing and another we’ve not had the best time recently. But this arrived at the end of last week from HD’s sister, a belated housewarming present. I’d like to think it’s a sign 🙂

I’m doing more work-related travelling the next week or so then we have a holiday (argh, note to self, book B&B!!!!). I’m looking forward to some chilled us-time.

When cultural references go haywire

IMG_7829 So there I was in Edinburgh this week, mum and dad were up so we went and had a look round the city centre as they’d never been there before, and I came across this sculpture outside St Giles’ Cathedral. It’s a snippet of a quote from the 3 Witches in Macbeth. As I read it I found myself wanting to carry on the quote further in my head, but in a bizarre mixing of cultural metaphors what came out was:

“Double, double, toil and trouble, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb”.

(there’s one for the 70s kids among us :O)

Weekly weigh-in (3)

This week’s loss: 0.2kg
Total loss so far: 1kg

Not bad, considering we were away for the weekend for a surprise birthday party and so some cake may have been consumed. It was almost a shame to cut this up and eat it, it was such a work of art (birthday party for a train nerd):


I am in so much awe of people who can bake this creatively (or, in fact, at all). The baking gene pretty much passed me by.

Weekly weigh-in

IMG_7604 I lost 0.6kg (just over a pound) from last week, so that’s going in the right direction.

I also had my first old lady afternoon nap since leaving work almost 3 weeks ago (I have been tempted every day since then!).

The flowers are what are left of my leaving bouquet. 3 weeks later, some of them are still going strong.