Thursday, 21 June 2012

A Tale Of Two Raspberries

Today is the longest day and it's raining - again! Needless to say we've had a rum old time with the weather so far and nowhere is it more obvious than on the allotment.
As you know we have heavy clay soil which holds the water like it's going out of fashion and twice within the space of a few weeks we've been wading across our patch and have learned a few harsh lessons about dealing with claggy soil.
For example, we planted our raspberries in a trench to one side of the plot but didn't turn it into a raised be so the water has just pooled there and our older  plants (donated by my client at the House of Raspberries - left-hand pic) have died under the onslaught.  Our newer (and younger) plants however are surviving for now (as are the strawberries) and look quite green - although there's no sign of any fruit but as they're itty-bitty baby ones we've got our fingers crossed.
The plants at House of Raspberries on the other hand couldn't be more different (left photo).  Sat in a nice bed of warm, loamy soil they're flourishing and the first batch were harvested earlier this week.  Needless to say I have raspberry envy. Hummfff! Thankfully we had the foresight (or some such nonsense) to divide the plants - old and new - between the allotment and home and those at home are looking mighty fine.  However, they're due to ripen just as we leave for a our clamping jolly.  More Hummfff!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Tea On The Towpath

As always when blogging I'm trying to catch up on myself - this time I'm only a week behind so yay!
Last weekend B, who is a volunteer towpath ranger for the Canal & River Trust (still British Waterways until next month), held her first towpath event which involved distributing maps/info of all the towpaths and canal walks within the Trust as well as the Braithwaites van.
Braithwaites,  The English Cream Tea Co. is run by the lovely Paul whose great grandfather originally started the company.  Paul's put a new twist on the theme by making the service mobile and his cream teas (Cornish style with jam first), homemade jams and scrummy scones (made fresh by Paul every morning) are absolutely delicious.

 The weather was a bit hit and miss in the morning but was gloriously sunny come afternoon and it was really lovely to see so many people (pedestrians, cyclists, dog walkers) using the towpath as either an alternative to the streets or as a meeting and lazing spot.  It was also good to see B doing her thing as she's very committed.  It was also a pleasure to see that the home made bunting went down a treat too - I got a hug from a very nice young man who was so chuffed to see it and Paul's been inspired to make his own for the van so keep an eye on his website for it!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Jubilee Fancies

I have to admit that we didn't do much for the Jubilee this weekend unless you count watching the flotilla and gig on the telly. I did, however, attend a street party last weekend and had a little stall getting people to make paper pots and plant a seed to help advertise the Manor Park Community Garden, which was great fun in the sun.  I don't actually live in Manor Park but I work for a couple of people who do and so am involved with the garden in an advisory capacity.
I did one slightly patriotic thing this week though.  At B's request I made cakes with holes in! Well actually the holes weren't technically part of the original request and if I'm totally honest were completely unintentional, but anyone who knows my cooking style (a complete lack of respect when it comes to a recipe and having the right ingredients) will know that I kind of make it all up as I go along.  Sometimes it's good and other times you end up with holes.  The recipe required self-raising flour and half a teaspoon of baking powder but I decided (in my wisdom - please close your ears Mary Berry) to improvise with plain flour and three teaspoons of baking powder.  Et voila - holes - at the bottom of every cake caused presumably by an enormous air bubble from my hellish concoction and resulting in an empty fairy cake with a crunchy red, white and blue roof.
Oh well, you can't win them all. . .