Video: Near Miss x3: How to Not Crash at the Nurburgring

Last weekend while I was downing shots of ‘German Jagerbombs’ (because they’re apparently different to normal ones) in the German bar in Malton, and asking everyone “have you ever heard of the Nurburgring… yes but have you actually ever been round it?”, my parents, and the rest of the gang (plus a few new additions, so I’m told…) were actually there, doing this:

This was recorded from my Dad’s car and I have now seen this video, plus the two other versions of it from the red and black cars, about a million times. It seems to be cropping up all over the internet now and my Dad’s true identity as the Stig is close to being revealed!

I jest.

Or do I?

Now if I didn’t have a 20000 word Masters dissertation to write, I would be on scoobynet right now, keyboard bashing and defending my Dad’s driving. In all the hundreds of times I’ve gone out with him I’ve never felt not safe and we’ve never had an incident.

Long live the Ring!

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Other Exciting Things This Month…

OK maybe not exciting if you get your kicks outside of the garden. I live a fairly quiet life (I’m always working, working, working) so my excitement levels definitely peak if I dig something up out of one of my beds and it’s got something it’s supposed to have at the end of it! I.e. not a maggot-infested root, which is definitely soul-destroying.

Recently I’ve discovered I can actually grow carrots! The soil in the beds is sandy and free-draining, which is meant to be good for carrots, however it is unfortunately stony, and I’ve heard from innumerable sources that when a carrot hits a stone, it splits into a fork and grows around it, hence why many people end up with carrots which look like they could act out various forms of the karma sutra.

I was fully expecting all sorts of ‘obscene’ shapes, but we pulled up some very straight looking baby carrots! I’m ever so pleased, and ever so proud. They’re only little, but I had some for lunch today and they were excellent, if I do say so myself!

IMG_1760Granted, the red mat sort of takes away their orangeness, as they are quite vibrant, but I am definitely pleased as punch. I’ve pulled up a few more, but there are plenty left in the bed, so we should have a steady supply of good straight carrots!

I also pulled up a load of beetroot. Now I realise that I have planted the beets far too close together, and so have been gradually thinning them out. I also discovered that I had a few plants that didn’t have the characteristic red and green foliage: they were mainly pale green, and kind of looked a bit like celery. Well, Mamma and I pulled some up – look what we found!

IMG_1756So we have some normal red beetroots, fine and dandy, and even that white on in the middle looks just like an albino beet, and fairly normal. But that dude, second from left! He looks like a monster, like Chthulu or Davey Jones! His roots have gone mental. We argued about what they could be for a while – white beetroot, celeriac, kohl rabi – but I think they are just a couple of white beet seeds that got in the packet.

I do love things like this – nothing’s ever the same!

 

 

August Reflection: Moonlight Gardeners

It’s my last week at work. I finish on Friday, with the intention of spending the next three weeks focusing on finishing my nightmare of a dissertation, before I start my PGCE in September. When I’m meant to read the books I should be teaching I don’t know!

I thought it would be nice, since I’ve been regaling my colleagues with tales of my gardening adventure, to bring in a selection of my own homegrown produce for people to pick out what they want. Ready for harvesting are a variety of things: courgettes, runners, onions, spinach, mangetout, beetroot, Cos lettuce, rainbow and rhubarb chard, and, very recently, carrots and potatoes!

I’ve picked a selection of the above and will try to prep them in the morning, if I get up in time – something which is increasingly becoming more and more difficult as time wears on. I think I’m running out of steam, which I am panicking about as I don’t have much time to breathe before I get thrown into what’s probably going to be the hardest thing I will ever do!

So when things are getting really tough and I start to feel a bit down or snowed under, I like to take a bit of time out to go and look at all my wonderful things that are growing in my beds and dotted around the “manor grounds”. I’m so pleased I had this opportunity to do something like this! When I was at university I used to bake lots of cakes to try and destress, which gives you an immediate sort of buzz, but then it wanes after a while. Because growing vegetables, particularly from seed, is such a gradual process, it extends the feeling of working and producing something quite remarkable. And it is remarkable! As cheesy as that sounds, to plant a tiny seed in some compost or some soil, and then a couple of weeks later to find a little green shoot poking its nose up is one thing. But to actually nurture that one thing into flourishing and then into getting fruit is just a crazy thing! I’ve never thought of myself as much of a ‘nurturer’ – as an only child I’m fairly impatient, and used to finding numerous ways to entertain myself, so that when my attention wanes, which is rather often, it’s normally caught up by the next shiny thing – and so I did approach this whole gardening-vegetable-growing venture hesitantly, thinking I’d never get things to shoot, let alone fruit!

This past week I have been rewarded with two of my trickier crops. I’ve had my fair share of problems: the cauliflower/turnip disaster for one. But I have been quietly concerned about my carrots and my potatoes. I drowned half of my potatoes early on, when the idea of drilling holes into the bottom of my bins never crossed my mind. Two buckets remained; they’re not really buckets, as such: one is a big blue bin, and the other is a potato grow-sack thing. I hacked away at the green tops when they had flowered and were starting to bend. I then left them for two weeks, not really purposefully, but because I’m a busy lady, and have had a lot on my plate of late. Then this afternoon – or rather, this evening, Mamma and I decided to dig them up! For a while nothing much happened… I was pulling out potatoes the size of grapes, which was sad. But then I found a good sized one, who happily sat in my fist! We emptied out the whole bin and I got a plant pot full of potatoes – some new-pot sized, and some a good bit bigger! I’m so dead pleased. I also have started pulling up a few carrots. The soil is quite stony and I have been worried that they might distort – however I’ve pulled a dozen or so, and they are straight as can be! I had a couple with my lunch today, and they are lovely and sweet, so I’m a very happy bunny!

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So here is tonight’s harvest! It was dark when I took this photo in the outside light, hence the interesting shadows. I picked a bunch of carrots, a couple of beetroots, a mix of chard and lettuce leaves, some kale (which I forgot to mention in my list of things ready) plus some mangetout, which you can’t really see. But check out my potatoes! Oh I’m ever so pleased I can actually grow things.

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Look at those potatoes! Aren’t they beauts?

IMG_1764I’m just so pleased with how things are turning out. It’s been pretty tough these past few weeks, juggling work and my uni work, and I maybe haven’t had as much time as I would have liked to play in my garden. But the results I’m getting at the moment are making me feel so much better! If I just keep organised and on top of things, then maybe everything will be OK. But I’ve learnt that I can grow carrots and potatoes!

And that was a very lengthy post!

The Wish List #1 – A Foray into Fruit

At our old house, we had a lovely orchard at the end of the garden, and in it we had a variety of apple, pear and plum trees. I can’t remember when the plum tree gave up the ghost: it has been a gnarled dead man’s claw pointing upwards at a sort of forty-five degree angle since the beginning of time. But I loved our apple trees, and when we moved to windy farm I sadly lamented their absence.

Then one weekend in July I went to Dean’s garden centre in Scarborough, and had a casual stroll down the fruit trees aisle, just out of curiosity…

Now, I discovered a while ago you could get a wonderful cider made of Katy apples – spelled right and everything! For years I’ve been mooning after having my own Katy apple tree, with dreams of maybe one day making my own Katy cider… And what did I discover, down the fruit tree aisle?

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IMG_1629Now in true modern day stalker style, I took photos of the trees and straight away showed Mum and Dad, and yearned away my little heart after them, in my mind planning all the apple pies I will make. After all, I didn’t win the best apple pie two years running at Middleton Village Show for nothing!

And then, on my birthday, rushing home from work, I almost missed this beauty, wrapped up with a big beautiful bow!

Katy tree

KatyAnd not only a Katy apple tree, but a Bramley as well!

Bramley

BramleysLook at this first-rate photograph as well – the water droplet running down the side of the apple! Is that not just the most amazing thing you have ever seen? I cannot wait to get these guys planted out in the garden!