Archive for August, 2011

Britain: Still ‘dirty’

Came across this story about supermarket rooftop hydroponics. What a brilliant idea. I hope it does well for them, and eventually comes to the UK.

I stumble across these initiatives from time to time, but oh so rarely. Given that climate change and ecology are big issues in our time, it’s amazing how little is being done to change our behaviours.

  • Everything I buy at the supermarket is still swathed in plastic packaging – needlessly.
  • The fruit and veg they offer are still gorgeously uniform, flawless and perfectly scrubbed. Which means agri-chemicals, piles of rejects and endless waste, waste, waste.
  • Supermarkets and shops still offer ‘disposable’ plastic bags (Jeez, even Americans – hardly the world’s foremost ecologists – stopped this nonsense YEARS AGO).
  • Home-fit photovoltaics and wind turbines are still wildly expensive to fit and maintain. Subsidies are still derisory.
  • Domestic recycling is a recent introduction to the UK. Recycling and anti-packaging regulations have been normal in Germany – to cite but one example – for many years.

I could go on… but luckily for you, I won’t. The list of things that shouldn’t be happening is endless. You might care to add some examples in the comments, if this bee also inhabits your bonnet.

By the way, I’m not a dreadlocked eco-warrior. I’m actually an anthropogenic climate change doubter.

But here’s the thing: even if human beings aren’t wrecking the climate, we ARE using up our planet’s resources at an unsustainable rate. One day, they WILL run out – if we carry on like this. So for fuck’s sake, let’s stop.

Posted on 27th August 2011
Under: Rants | 9 Comments »

Harvesting in the weeds

mixed allotment produceSo here’s a small selection of vegetables produced on the ‘unacceptably weedy’ Soilman allotment. And there’s a shit load more where they came from.

Weeds there may be, but I’m getting a bumper harvest. In fact, there’s usually a correlation between the amount of weed and the size of my harvest. In a good growing year, you get a lot of weed. Surprise!

I’m over the warning letter now. Have moved from irritation to resignation. If folks insist upon being cunts, there’s not much I can do about it.

huge onionInstead, I’m busy drying my monster onions and preparing for the big potato harvest tomorrow. It’s a month early because we’ve had a major attack of potato blight this year. My maincrop spuds lost the last of their foliage about a fortnight ago – so I’m not expecting a best-ever potato crop.

Still, I’m excited… because a preliminary dig in among the Golden Wonder mounds revealed some monsters. Looks like they’ve done OK, even with blight.

Posted on 20th August 2011
Under: Alliums, Cucurbits, Potatoes, Roots | 11 Comments »

‘Unacceptably weedy’

allotment letterI’m sad tonight. I got this letter today.

I’ve been on this allotment site seven years. I’m not one of the oldest people there, but I’m one of the longest serving. I produce crops every year and often they’re ‘best in class’. In short, folks know I’m serious.

Then I get this.

It’s true that the plot IS weedy and I’ve not been there much in the last month. Readers of this blog will know some of the reasons: in-laws visiting, heavy workload, two weeks of bronchial problems and rain coinciding with my free moments. I certainly don’t deny the plot isn’t looking its best as a result.

But here’s the thing: Anybody who knows anything about my record on this site (and lots do) should have assumed that it was a temporary glitch and not got in touch until much later. Certainly I’m stunned that I’ve got this letter after just a month of inactivity.

I was angry at first. Now I’m just sad – sad that my fellow allotmenteers are so quick to ‘grass me up’ despite my record on site.

I often say that the worst thing about getting older is the growing sense of disappointment with oneself and other people. Today was a big disappointment spike. Disappointed with myself for putting myself in this position. Disappointed by my colleagues’ intolerance.

Of course rules are rules – and you’ve got to draw the line somewhere. So I’ll use this as a wake-up call, and tidy it pronto. If it must be pristine to keep ‘em off my backs, it will be. I’ll sleep even less… but I value my plot and am grateful for it.

I’ll not see my neighbours in the same light again, though. They wouldn’t give an inch, and now I daren’t. Neighbours are apparently to be distrusted. So I’m withdrawing from the smiles and the chats.

Which I guess makes us all the losers.

Posted on 12th August 2011
Under: Uncategorized, Weeds | 29 Comments »

A perfect beetroot amid the insanity

beetrootSo the world financial system is about to crash around our ears, and London is burning.

The perfect time, then, to report that I’ve grown a heart-shaped beetroot.

So that’s nice.

PS (And you just knew I wouldn’t be able to resist, didn’t you?) To my non-UK readers, who are probably aghast and amazed that such things can happen in frightfully ‘nice’ and civilised Britain: Here’s an explanation.

Britain is a rioting nation. Is now, always has been. The cause and the ‘answer’ are the same they’ve always been: the have-nots are fed up with their ‘have-not’ status and the enormous disparity between them and the ‘haves’ (the gap’s been growing for about 25 years).

This will play out the way it always plays out. First, we’ll get on top of it – because of course the law-abiders and taxpayers are the majority, we have the money and we have the material/manpower. Then there will be enquiries and reviews and reports – as usual. They’ll say what they always say: That these luckless, under-privileged people are mistreated and deserve more.

Then we’ll do what we always do: Bribe them with more state handouts and more community support and more locally manufactured ‘jobs’ (in truth, state sinecures paid from taxation) and more ‘stuff’ to enable them to live the way they want. And when we’ve forgotten to do that again, in about 15-20 years, they’ll give up their favourite post-modernist tactic – moral blackmail – and resort, again, to burning down our cities until we re-bribe them.

Naturally, we’d prefer to give them fishing rods, not fish. But a) we’re too mean to spend the money and make the effort required to properly educate and assimilate them, and b) they’re too debased and feral to respond to education and opportunities anyway. They prefer the bribes.

So bribery it is.

This is how Britain works. It is one of our little eccentricities. In less fortunate nations, which can’t afford to bribe their underclass, these people are starved routinely and shot when they get out of hand.

But here in the UK, we don’t like that. It’s messy and well, just not cricket.

Posted on 8th August 2011
Under: Roots | 12 Comments »

All work, no play

onionsSummer time, and the living is shitty.

So much to do: I spent an hour (well, 54 minutes) after work last night harvesting these onions. They’re flawless and huge – one of my best ever crops – but time is always against me.

I love being at my plot on a warm evening. It’s one of my favourite places to be. But the pleasure is always diluted by the paranoid clock-watching.

I should just give up and get my eyeballs glued permanently to the face of my watch. Then if I have another arm grafted on to my torso, I may be better equipped for the modern world.

Posted on 2nd August 2011
Under: Alliums | 4 Comments »