Fit for purpose?

It’s come to my attention that I’m a fat bastard.

I’ve been ignoring the evidence for some time, but it’s no longer possible. When I hauled my flubbery arse on to the scales just before Christmas, they broke. Warnings don’t come much clearer.

So: The new year diet (check) and the exercise regime (oh shit).

I hate exercise. Or rather, I hate the formal, trainers-and-gym-kit kind. Not just because it’s intensely boring and painful (although it is), but because it’s such a waste of time. And so fucking undignified.

There is always something more profitable, useful, helpful or intellectually worthwhile to be done than bobbing up and down on a cross-trainer blowing buckets of sweat and snot over passers-by.

Sadly, though, something has to give; otherwise I’ll be the Michelin man. Here, then, are the options.

The gym

Pros: It’s convenient(-ish). I can do an hour after work most days without buggering up my life too much.

Cons: See above. Plus I fucking hate it.


Pros: Nice scenery, less agonising than running/cross-training etc, less spiritually nihilistic.

Cons: Time-consuming. Requires serious timetable alteration and sacrifice to accommodate.


Pros: Like gym, fairly easy to fit into my timetable.

Cons: I loathe it. And I mean, really loathe it. Leaves me sweaty, dry-skinned and chlorinated. Plus you know you’ve effectively been wallowing in child’s piss (in British public pools, anyway). Just the thought makes me want to heave.


… by which I mean taking up something physical that’s also an entertainment. Dancing, for instance, which I used to be reasonably good at… and quite enjoyed.

Pros: Can be fun. Usually better with a partner or friend, though. Which is hard to arrange.

Cons: It’s difficult (and pricey) to do this sort of thing more than one night a week, which lowers its calorie-burning/exercise potential.

Conclusion: Haven’t reached one. The more I think about it, the longer I’m not doing anything – so it’s tempting to ponder longer.

Any suggestions?

Posted on 15th January 2010
Under: Winter | 24 Comments »

Snow update: No update

So where’s the snow post? The one moaning about the weather? Surely the blog wouldn’t be complete without it?

Sorry. Refuse to do it. Harsh and unforgiving views etc.

“Cold Weather In Winter Shocker”… it’s not a headline, and it’s not a national emergency. Recommend the Norman Tebbit response to such crises: Get over it and get on yer bike. It won’t kill us.

And to those who’ve been panic buying in supermarkets, I can only sigh and say this: You’re a bunch of spineless, dimwitted tossers. I hope you choke on your stocks of unnecessary food.

Shit. I did the snow post after all.

Posted on 11th January 2010
Under: Rants, Winter | 10 Comments »

Celeriac update

Celeriac foliage Celeriac root

Well, I survived it. Thank Heaven. Actually, this year was quite a good one… and I don’t say that too often about Christmas.

Here’s the celeriac update I promised. My high hopes at the start of the year resulted in a row of shite. Well, at least this year they weren’t stolen (what kind of brain-dead thief would swipe these?).

As you can see, the foliage looks promising… but there’s no bulb underneath. Reason: the driest summer I can ever remember. Celeriac is a swampy plant that demands damp soil. And this year, I simply couldn’t provide.

Posted on 26th December 2009
Under: Roots | 13 Comments »

Clearing up this year’s corn

Old sweetcorn stalksI was digging like a Terminator on Sunday. Managed to get most of this year’s sweetcorn on the compost and even spread a bit more horse shit.

Grim job, though. Back hurts, arse hurts, arms hurt, legs hurt. Had blisters the size of Flying Saucers (remember them?!) when I’d finished.

More of the same come the weekend. It’s so important to have something nice to look forward to, don’t you find?

Posted on 17th November 2009
Under: Sweetcorn, Winter | 2 Comments »

Muck spreading

Allotment with manureDoesn’t look much, does it?


As predicted, I didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped. Surprise. Even so this represents three hard hours of work; had to pull out mountains of weeds before I could dig it over and spread manure.

Only another 10 or so days like that, and I’ll be done.

Marvellous. Can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to it.

Posted on 7th November 2009
Under: Winter | 12 Comments »

Video: Heavy snow in England

I know you Canadians and north Americans will laugh, but a foot of snow in the southern UK is a very big deal. Really. We’ve not seen snow like it in the London area for almost 20 years.

In fact, I remember that last heavy snow. I was a student, living in Chelsea (south west London), and 200 of us were snowed in at our digs. The gates froze solid. So we had a day off college because they were too high to climb.

Er, honest.

Snow in England from Soilman on Vimeo.

Posted on 2nd February 2009
Under: Winter | 9 Comments »

Soilman’s self-help principles

asparagus_bedI have to face two cruel facts:

  1. I’m lazy
  2. I’m fat

Proof of the first: Since Christmas, I have completed but one task at the allotment – manuring the asparagus. That’s it. Sod all else. This is a dismal performance, even by my low winter standards.

Proof of the second: None of my trousers fit. Some don’t even come close.

So I have a plan. To counter the laziness issue, I plan to do… nothing. And my response to being a porker will be… nothing. Because the main thing, when you’re in the shit, is to Face Up To The Truth. Action can come later, if ever.

I feel so much better for tackling the problem head-on. See how some simple, home-spun philosophising can change your whole outlook? I tell you, I should bottle this stuff.

Posted on 24th January 2009
Under: Asparagus, Rants, Winter | 6 Comments »

Early signs of Spring

Snowdrops growing in my garden

At long bloody last; a few signs of winter thaw. I’ve been desperate to see these for weeks.

The appearance of snowdrops is my cue for sowing celeriac, the slowest growing vegetable of all. The earlier you get cracking, the bigger the bulbs you get in autumn.

So the season begins here.

Posted on 17th January 2009
Under: Flowers, Winter | 6 Comments »

Free, but at a cost

Last carrotsLooking pretty shabby now, but I’m still eating them. Just enough carrots left for Christmas day, with a bit of luck.

I also have BUCKETS of Jerusalem artichokes. Managed to shift some on to another unsuspecting relative, but I’m running out of outlets. The word is out: death by flatulence isn’t attractive, even when I’m giving them away.

Guess even the free things in life can sometimes be too expensive.

Posted on 22nd December 2008
Under: Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Plot in progress

Work in progress on the allotment

Finally got out on the allotment today. So at last I have something to blog about.

I aim to have all the manuring, clearing and digging finished by Christmas. That’s what a target is for; you know you’ll miss it, but it helps you point in the right direction.

So I’ll probably be roughly on schedule next season. In other words, doing the last frantic digging in early March.

Posted on 1st December 2008
Under: Winter | 3 Comments »