if we win I’ll eat my hat

It’s Eurovision time :) The song contest designed to bring us all together is happening this week. There are semi finals followed by – you guessed it the final. Before all that there are dress rehearsals of semi finals.  If you have the time and inclination to read the list below and your geographical knowledge is even a little bit good you will notice that we have non-european countries taking part. The country that wins hosts the competition the following year; not great if you are a fairly poor country so quite possibly Greece won’t be desperate to win. If I was going to be taking part next year then a trip to Australia would suit me just fine. And no that’s not a spelling mistake – Australia is taking part – a country that is just about as far away from Europe as you can possibly be.

Anyway – we love the spectacle of the show. It’s a showcase of music plus the weird and the wonderful. You just never know what is going to happen. We don’t take it all that seriously. We most definitely won’t win. We have upset too many of our Europen neighbours and they all vote for their immediate neighbours – we’re an island and the best we can hope for is that Southern Ireland give us max votes and sometimes Malta do too. It’s so predictable that it’s fun.

If you want to watch a dress rehearsal of the semi final then take a look here. The United Kingdom go straight through to the final as our TV broadcaster gives a lot of funding to the whole extravaganza.

Now the eat my hat thing is a reference to Paddy Ashdown – he was so very wrong about the exit poll at the General Election that he should have eaten his hat – he said he would if the exit poll was right – but as with many politicians he didn’t keep his word. I feel that my post title is on perfectly safe ground. We won’t win. :)

Here are the counries taking part

allotment

raspberries

Now down at my allotment there are dark forces at work. Deep beneath the soil an enemy has been lurking. Does that sound dramatic? Well it isn’t much of an exaggeration. The plot is full of bindweed. I was a bit down when i discovered this. Basically all bindweed needs to flourish is about half a centimetre of root left behind in the soil and voila you have a florishing plant come spring. I had no idea these roots were lurking in the soil so when I merrily went along in winter and did lots of digging all I actually did was ditribute this evil plant all over the place. At least I didn’t use a rotavator. My allotment neighbours did that.

So for the past few weeks I’ve been digging out the roots that are near to my plants. For the rest I have been spraying weedkiller. This is a little frowned upon by allotment holders so I have visiting the plot fairly early in the day!

But, it’s not all bad. Things are growing. If we manage to produce some food from our plot then we will have achieved what we set out to do.

The major plus for me has been a health benefit. This time last year I was very depressed. I cried nearly all of the time. I couldn’t really function at all. Now, the allotment hasn’t cured all those things – major life change did. But somehow my allotment has begun to finish the healing process. It’s an escape. It’s hard work and it’s soil between your fingers and fresh air. Somehow digging out the bindweed roots has become a metaphor for something going on inside me. It’s also a lot cheaper than counselling.

Want to see some pictures?

raspberries
raspberries

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not so happy onions - post weeding. bindweed was here!
not so happy onions – post weeding. bindweed was here!

DSCN0950 DSCN0951Can you see all those little bindweed plants? Hopefully they drank up the weedkiller all the way down to their roots. I will be inspecting them on friday and then digging them out. Weather permitting :)

So far we have potatoes – doing well. Onions – doing ok. Snake gourds – were ok. Beans – were ok last time I saw them. Today the weather has thrown hail at them. Of course that won’t damage the bindweed at all!

 

let’s get growing

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from this
from this to this….

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he garden is changing everyday now that the nights have warmed up. Today the first roses were out. I have been wondering what colour they would be. SAM_0618as usual we have an army of green fly – so far today i am winning – and black spot ( i loathe black spot but at least it doesn’t affect the flowers)

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The allotment is a different story. I may post about it later this week. I have been spending most Fridays there but it isn’t really enough.

Anyway back to the garden. it seems to be enjoying May so far.

Iris?
Iris?
azalea
azalea
wallflowers and a plant i don't yet know
wallflowers and a plant i don’t yet know
we've had lots of rain but followed by sun means lots of palnts grow
we’ve had lots of rain but when it’s followed by sun lots of plants grow

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day out – bits and pieces

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Our day out included a walk down The Mall – looking at all the preperations for the London Marathon and a pizza in Covent Garden but I don’t have photos of everything (surprised?). But I have some photos left over from the previous posts and here they are – lovely buildings and streets empty of cars and buses. Chinooks in the sky and the home of T E Lawrence near to Dean’s Yard. I did ask my husband if Dwayne had a yard too but we just weren’t sure! SAM_0463 SAM_0464 SAM_0465 SAM_0476 SAM_0496 SAM_0512 SAM_0516 SAM_0517 SAM_0518 SAM_0519 SAM_0520 SAM_0521 SAM_0524 SAM_0576 SAM_0577 SAM_0578 SAM_0579 SAM_0580 SAM_0528

 

home made croutons

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This is one of the tastiest and easiest things i have ever made. They are an imitation of the croutons that are served with the homemade soup at the cafe at Whinlatter Forest, Keswick  – called Siskins.

If you are ever in Keswick you have to go to Whinlatter. Sadly, we are only ever there once a year so we had to recreate the croutons.

I also made the soup but there is no real recipe for that – just stock from left over roast chicken and veg.

To make the croutons

– cut white or brown bread (or a mixture of the two) into cubes

– toss this in olive oil

– scatter some italian dried herbs over

– either bake in a hot oven or toast under the grill (doen’t take long so keep an eye on it)

And they are yum. At Siskins they serve them in a little ramekin next to your soup so they stay crisp until you want them.

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