November 2012

From My Allotment Diary (Thurs. Nov. 1st, 2012)

November 1, 2012 by BigGee   Comments (2)


It's been a dreary old week, weather-wise, very cold & wet at times (nothing new there), but isn't it amazing how many things can be packed into seven days?

I've probably been to the local hospital's A&E department more times in the last week than I have in the previous three years! First we had to take my mother there after she suffered a fall - three hours off my life in the waiting room! We've got to take her back again tomorrow. More time shaved off what's left for me!

Last Thursday night - for no apparent reason - Josie's leg swelled up from her groin down to her ankle & she had pain in it. By Saturday we decided it would be a good idea to have it looked at. Another trip to A&E. The diagnosis? After blood tests showed that she did not have a thrombosis it was decided she may be suffering from what's called lymphedema. She was told to rest it. Six days later she still has problems, so we went to the GP yesterday evening, second diagnosis - it could  be an infection - so she's been prescribed antibiotics. So it's wait & see.

On the lottie, over the last week I've been picking the last of the toms etc. in the polytunnel & I've picked the pods of the purple strain of Polestar runner beans. Back in the summer I had one plant that decided to produce purple pods, so after a taste test of about three pods (they actually had better flavour than their green brothers & sisters) I decided to keep the rest on the plant. The idea is to grow this "foreigner" in isolation next season to see if it will produce true. The time has finally arrived to pick them. Here they are:


Don't they look beautiful? Although there's not that much difference between them and the other "ordinary" Polestar beans, but my hope is that they will come true & produce some purple pods next year - they've certainly passed the size test! If they do come true I might have a new variety on my hands. Woo-Hoo!

I've also picked the rest of the Polestar, so it's bean drying time again! It never ceases to amaze me how many beans you get from the last few pods of the season - I'll share them amongst a few of the other plot-holders so there should be enough around to sow in the spring. The next job will be the Armstrong runners and the French beans.




On Wednesday we went down to see our grandson Cai. His mother & father were taking him to his first Halloween party last night. I promised I'd take him a pumpkin off the plot. So Wednesday afternoon was taken up carving the specimen! Not a bad job if I say so myself. That's the finished article on the left. Home made toys always were the best! When we were children we never had pumpkins, instead we used swedes. A much more delicate and hard job, I remember getting blisters carving out the hard flesh - pumpkins are a much "softer" option. Here's a few more photos of me & Cai with the prize pumpkin that he named "Gordon". Why Gordon I don't know, but as an ignorant Dadcu (Granddad) I also got a run-down of all Thomas the Tank Engine's friends - that came after I asked him why he named the pumpkin Gordon. Apparently Gordon is also the name of one of the other engines - shows how stupid I am!




I don't know who's the happiest, me, Cai or Gordon!

There's one BIG advantage of getting older, you can act like a kid again under the pretence of entertaining the grandchildren. The truth of the matter is, Josie & I were more excited about the pumpkin than the four year old!

The four year old is the one wearing the Angry Birds slop-shirt by the way!

I'm getting good at knowing who's who in the four year old world of fashion. How things have changed! In my day it was a carved swede, NOT made by an adult and the clothes were just, well, clothes. No designer stuff with merchandise prints on their fronts from the latest toy or film craze. Our variations were just size & colour. In fact we were far more original, these days they ALL wear the same, depending on the popularity of the fashion that's in vogue. What a pity.




Anyway here's another photo of the three of us - very aptly, Cai has swapped heads with Gordon for this one! He can be a bit of a monster at times!

Getting him to pose for more than three seconds at a time can be quite an ordeal for the picture taker - his grandmother for this one. She's not exactly a David Bailey at the best of times!

Halloween, which these days is heavily influenced by the American "trick or treat" custom is actually a Celtic pagan festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the "darker half" of the year. Most commonly it is held on 31 October–1 November. In Welsh it's called "Calan Gaeaf" or winter's eve celebrations. The tradition goes back many thousands of years to a time in the distant past, before the arrival of the Romans & that was about seven hundred years before the Anglo Saxons (the English) arrived on our shores relatively recently in the fifth century. Quite amazingly it got adopted by the Romans and incorporated into their "Christian" celebrations. It's roots however are deeply entrenched in the dim pagan past. Little wonder we Celts are viewed as a magic practicing, pagan & mythological bunch of red-heads!

Here's the costume our little "monster" wore for his ghoul party. Don't ask me what the costume is - I've been told, but I've forgotten. I'm still new to these things, and when I can't remember I have the excuse that us ancient of days tend to get a bit forgetful!



So now we all have the prospect of the "dark half" of the year ahead of us! But never a lot for keeping quiet for too long without an excuse for a festival; come the winter solstice, around the 21st of December, we'll be at it again. This time celebrating the re-birth of the sun after the shortest day (with a bit of human sacrifice thrown in for good measure in the old days, performed by the local Druid). The Romans pinched that one as well (having a good eye for a bit of fun). So they mixed it with their Saturnalia celebrations and called it - yes you've guessed haven't you? Christmas!




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