Saturday, December 03, 2005

Cricket, chickens, cakes, chocolate, crops a real mixture

Eggs - Total to date: 52 - Day 25

KoKKo 17 (86grms)
Adelaide 18(72grms)
Ginger 17 (76grms)

It is 4.30pm and I just do not know where the day has gone. I haven't locked the chickens up yet!

Yesterday Pat went to Essex Cricket Club for the annual Christmas Lunch and met up with one of his brothers, a nephew, and some other friends. It is a regular thing now, and often clashes with my birthday, but this year we decided not to spend the weekend away so it was not a problem. (Nor has it been come to think of it - except one year when they changed the date so he had to miss it).

Ronnie Irani (hope I have spelt his name right - Pat is out bowling today so I will have to edit it later when he gets back) was an excellent after dinner speaker and was so funny. Pat keeps remembering a lot of his jokes and anecdotes and they were hilarious. He had to dash off, he said, as a BBC car was collecting him and Graham Napier a fellow Essex cricketer, both of whom were appearing live last night on Celebrity Come Dancing on BB2, and being taught how to do the Cha Cha Cha, to surprise Darren Gough. Pat just got home in time to switch the T.V. on to see it.

The young cricketer Will Jefferson the tallest at 6ft 10ins took over and he was very good too.

I really should pay more attention and memorise their names, but as Pat is into all sports, golf, football, rugby, athletics (big time), tennis, snooker, pool, darts, bowls, in fact the only thing I think that he doesn't watch in syncronised swimming - but he might if nothing else was on. LOL.

I am pretty brainwashed now, and if I am snuggled up on the sofa with him whilst he happens to be watching rugby or football and come out with a players name or comment he seems quite amazed - I can't think why! Wish he was as knowledgeable with gardening terms, wild birds, and plants as I am with all the sportsmen. But perhaps that is my fault for not going on about them all day.

Imagine if I were watching Gardeners World and shouted out at Monty Don, 'Don't just stand there talking, plant the Allium triquetrum' or if I shouted 'Yes! the Mahonia Aquifolium has just started to flower' - he would think that I was mad! But if I said it often enough he might get brainwashed in the same way!

Pat arrived home last night just as I was taking out of the oven a loaf of bread and some rolls that I had baked - I think that I should bottle the smell of freshly baked bread and cakes, as it gets more of a reaction than my Chanel No.5 does!

I am glad that I got up early today as I saw some sunshine for half an hour. By the time Pat got up it was dull and miserable and we have had rain all day.

The triplets didn't mind in the least, they were having too much fun scratching around in the woodchips. Adelaide has taught the others a new trick, and now all three of them stand on the roof of the communal dust bath stretching themselves to their full height and surveying the garden. Every time I went out the door they called out to me, but as soon as I walked towards them to take a photo, they jumped down ran to the gate and ran around like lunatics jumping up and down around me to see what treats I might have - then if I had none, they went off in a sulk!

They did lay 2 eggs today, it was KoKKo's day off, she deserves one now and again as she lays the largest eggs.

I am getting a tad bit stressed about this retirement cake that I have to have done by Thursday. I made a Madeira sponge but can't think of how to decorate it. I spent all day finishing off the birthay cake. I decided at 4pm when I had finished it, and thrown away several aborted sugarcraft designs for the other cake, that I would just bake a big chocolate cake and cover it with lots of chocolate and put Happy Retirement on it. Everyone likes chocolate. The other one is a traditional boozy fruit cake that has been maturing for a few months.

We always have lots of plain chocolate in the fridge - we buy 10 slabs at least as I use quite a lot.

It just so happened today that there was only one packet left, and that had been opened as we had some last night. So to console myself I ate four squares so we have even less now. (I needed two blocks for the cake so eating some didn't make any difference to the situation).

I shall just have to wait until Monday and take a trip into Norwich to the Sugarcraft Shop. When I phoned them earlier they didn't have any ideas either!

I have subscribed to a monthly grow your own vegetable magazine, mainly because I wanted the free gift that was worth half the annual subscription fee! The magazine arrived yesterday, and it makes interesting reading, and I have decided to order some unusual potato varieties. Organic of course, like the ones I ordered last year, but I have never heard of any of those in the article I have just read.

I try to get ones that are blight resistant, as the other plot holders seem to get blight most years, but the two years that I have had mine, I have been lucky and not suffered from it - yet.

In an earlier blog I mentioned that I had given one of the chaps a lot of each of my varieties to save for seed potatoes, so he should be alright next year and not get blight. As I am rotating my crops, I thought I might grow some of last years too, just this once, but I know that it is not a good idea to do it each year.

I found somewhere on the internet that had garlic bulbs in stock but the minimum postage costs makes them double the price, so I might have to give them a miss. We don't eat tons of them anyway - at least we won't if I don't grow them!

The chickens like garlic, they also like red and green tomatoes, raw carrots, raw parsnip peelings, as well as pumpkin. I put out a container of the above chopped up together with some apple and pear cores, and they ate the lot! I must say that I was surprised that they ate the chopped up green tomatoes - nice to know for next years late surplus that won't ripen!

I am off to lock up the chooks and to relax for half an hour before Pat comes back for feeding.

I might not get to post anything tomorrow - I am being taken out for Sunday lunch - a special occassion, which I am really looking forward too. We have some nice pubs around here that serve wonderful food, so I can't wait. I shall definitely be having a wicked pudding, as the pub that we are going to have won 'Pudding of the Year' awards in the past, and they are totally irresistable. - A bit like me really - Joke!


  1. Hi A.L. - is the magazine "Grow your Own"? If then I agree, it is a good read and I subbed when the gift was a book (it's a blueberry bush now, I think)

    I also pick up Kitchen Garden which is very good - it has a new editor and there are changes coming that I think are more about fighting back against the new mag, GYO.

    As a birthday present, a friend subbed me to Practical Poultry and that can be a useful read for chook keepers, although it can be a bit dry in places.

  2. Yes it is Grow Your Own and it was a present to me from me! The reason I chose it was because a friends' mother had a blueberry bush she didn't want and passed it on to me via our friends. They forgot it and left it in a black plastic sack - they live 100 miles away so a trip to get it was not practical. The mother phoned so I had to pretend that I loved it, then haven't been able to buy one. (She said at the time that she thought her daughter and son in law would have forgotten it - I didn't have the heart to tell them she was right!).

    I read the PP web page and go on the forum, which is good for chicken stuff - you get lots of responses to questions.

    Haven't received my free gift yet.

  3. I will have a look at Kitchen Garden to see what that is like


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