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February 2015

January 2015

New year, new shoots...


I was in for a lovely surprise popping to the allotment. The garlic, onions and shallots planted back in October and November are all putting up nice green shoots. The broad beans were happily growing away. I'm so looking forward to the new growing year. 

I learned a huge amount last year, as I did the year before. This year I want to forget about growing the things I don't get a chance to eat. I've done salad leave both years running. But the truth is, the only time this gets eaten is when eating at the plot. What a waste!!!

The other area where I've had issues is brassicas. My broccoli rabb ended up going to seed, as I wasn't harvesting it when it was ready. This was also the case with broccoli and I could have grown less kale, but maybe more varieties. The brassica netting was also a complete disaster, with the new kale leaves on the tops of the plant being gobbled by pigeons, no matter what I did. I need a bigger taller proper cage for next year. But one where it's easy to get in and pick the produce.

I really want to try veggimesh or whatever it's call these days...despite getting small mesh netting, the cabbage whites still managed to get to the brassicas and I lost a lot of the kohl rabi leaves to caterpillers.  20150111_111243

 I've also decided I need balance the growing space out carefully across the two plot and I need to accept the limitations of the growing space on plot 18. The raised bed at the very back of the plot just simply isn't useable. The trees overhang so badly that it gets hardly any light or sunlight and the thick canopy means that no rain water gets through. I tried celery, celeriac, lettuce and beetroot in the bed last year. the celery and celeriac just sat there sulking all year. A lot of the lettuce plants disappeared and beetroot didn't do much either. 

 Anyhow, gardening and allotmenting is a constant learning process and that's half the fun. even when you think you've nailed something, it can just as easily go wrong the following year. 

The Book of You by Claire Kendal

UnknownSo this is my first book read of 2015 and what a start it was!!! I could not put this book down. I started it on a Sunday morning in bed with with a nice cup of tea and even had to take it into the bath with me. Thankfully it was a quick read and I was done by about 2pm. It's been a long time since I literally couldn't stop reading, or have really kicked back and relaxed on a weekend to catch up on a good book. 

And I really really liked this book. It's actually not that nice. It's definitely an interesting and disturbing topic. So perhaps 'liked' isn't the right word for what I think of this book. I guess I just needed to know what happened. 

This is a book about stalking. It's not a true story, but obviously there are enough real life examples out there and I think the author has definitely done a good job of researching them.

I don't know how many women out there have had a taste of an over-enthusiastic ex or just a guy you know, who doesn't like taking 'no' for an answer. I've had a couple of experiences which have been a bit scary and behaviour has been inappropriate. I'm glad to say I've never experienced anything like the woman in this book. But there were moments when I could absolutely relate and it made me resent and dislike individuals who don't realise the impact of their behaviour and who also don't realise they have behaved completely inappropriately. Anyhow, I digress...

One of the interesting aspects of this book is the way the writer has told the story from both the the third person and Clarissa's point of view. There were many times when I wanted to shout at Clarissa and tell her that she wasn't to blame, that she was not doing things right...but mostly, I was just gripped by the escalating stalking situation she found herself in.

I would highly recomend this book and am really glad this was my first book of the new's given me a nice boost to this years challenge and made me realise that there's a whole world of great books out there. I was starting to feel like I was on a bit of a treadmill of getting through books towards the end of last year. And I think I was also reading a lot of 'good, but not great' books. This has encouraged me to spend a bit more time looking through book shops to seek out other great finds.   

New Year and new book challenge

Following on from last year's book challenge of '52 books in 52 Weeks', I wanted to aim for the same, if not more. I managed 57 books in 2014. You can take a look through the list on the left if you're interested and see what I read. So in 2015, I would like to beat the total I set. I'm off to a good start and have managed 5 books in the first twelve days of this new year. Admittedly a couple of them were already underway at the end of 2014, but I hadn't managed to finish them til this year. 

So here's to lots of good reads in 2015!