Sunday 25 June 2023

Coffee and Strawberries

Last year I grew my strawberries outside. Big mistake. The blackbirds get up at first light. Given that during the strawberry season we don't have total darkness at all 'first light' for a blackbird means anything after 0330. So I never saw any of my strawberries and attempts at covering them were futile. Anyway I like blackbirds and I forgave them.

This year I grew them in the polycarb from last year's plants. Everything seemed to be going well. They were not huge but were fairly plentiful and very very tasty. I ate many of them with a box of rather luscious chocs I was given for my birthday. I limited myself to one choc per day. The strawberry harvest lasted about 3 weeks worth of coffees. The chocs were supplemented by my favourite chocolate orange segments.

However the strawberries suddenly stopped growing much bigger than a large pea. They appeared healthy but were throwing out runners at an alarming rate. So a few days ago I trimmed them all back and decided to leave them for next year. In the meantime I bought another 5 plants of various varieties to see if I could get a second crop. When I asked about a second crop I discussed with the owner of the market garden the fact that my crop had suddenly come to a rather unexpected end. "Ah! You're growing them in a polycarbonate tunnel are you?" Indeed I am.  Apparently it's been far too hot for "indoor" strawberries the last few weeks. Despite keeping windows open and using  a large fan the temperature in the polycarb has often got into the 40s ºC. The strawberries just go into survival mode and throw out runners instead of fruit. One lives and one learns.

If it gets warm again I shall ensure that I have a blackbird proof home for the strawberry plants. That's a job for tomorrow. 

Sunday 18 June 2023

It's Warm

Ten years ago I posted a similar post to this entitled Costa del Bayble. I may have posted similar scenes since then. The beach was actually more crowded than Friday evening when this picture was taken. That was probably because it was taken on a Sunday afternoon and not a Friday evening. 

It's interesting that 10 years ago no one wore a wet-suit. The kids were hardier then!

On that post only three of you who are likely to comment today commented then so I'm happy that most of you will not find the repetition boring. Indeed I'd forgotten that I had even quoted Bob Dylan  (which I have done several times in my blogging career as it happens). The reason on this particular occasion was that the hordes had been out on The Sabbath which would have been unheard of when I came to live here.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

Wednesday 14 June 2023


It's hot. sunny and still: three unusual things to meet one at 5.30am on a Wednesday morning  on Lewis.

In an ideal world I would have had three or four hours in the garden before I toddled off to town to get my bloods done for my cancer review in a week or two. However I decided that I couldnae be earsed wearing my midge suit this morning so would do indoor things instead. That unsettled me because I usually prefer to do indoor things when the weather is less clement (ie more like its usual Lewis self).  So I've actually done a fraction of the things I wanted to do. Apart from anything else I couldn't find some of the pictures I needed for birthday cards. 

Anyway I decided I'd do a blog post instead. I'd been given the idea by Marcheline's use of 'sitooterie' a day or so ago.

Every place has it's language quirks and, often, its own unique or special name for something. In Scotland a place to sit out in your garden is called a sitooterie.

This is my sitooterie

This is my rear conservatory (and my polycarb)

And this is I suppose my sitinerie - which reached over 40 ºC  today even with the doors open.

Friday 9 June 2023

A Drink Called Wine

Today has been one of the best days on Lewis for some years so far as I can recall. It's been warm (just right at about 17ºC), there has been a breeze (not a wind) to keep the midges away and there has been wall to wall sun since 0420 this morning. 

I started in the garden. We've had no rain since, I believe, the 11 May so I spent a good bit of time making sure that my plants were not stressed and that the Griselinia was well fed and watered (I'd hate to lose my new eventual windbreak in it's fourth year). I met a friend for lunch at The Woodlands (where else?) and this afternoon a friend popped in for coffee and a look at the garden. The rest of the time I worked in the sun in the garden and the polycarb. Dinner was late! After all sunset isn't until 2225.

When I finally finished outside I was thinking about all the years I'd spent holidaying in France where the early summer early evening drink is rosé wine. That is a wine I rarely drink. However it seemed very appropriate this evening. As luck would have it I'd anticipated this during the afternoon and had put one in the fridge that someone had brought some while ago.

When I removed it I noticed that it was Piat d'Or. Now this might mean nothing to anyone who is not of my generation and was around in The late Sixties and early Seventies. In Britain. This was the era when Brits started to realise that there was a drink called wine. The 'ordinary' Brits had not been wine drinkers. Suddenly it became part of the culture. Brits suddenly embraced wine. Key contenders were German, Blue Nun and Black Tower, Mateus Rose from Portugal and Piat d'Or rosé from France. Doubtless there were others but I can't recall them.

Regarding myself as a bit more sophisticated than that I decided to take a bit more interest in wines and fell in love with red wine. The rest of that story could take up a page or two so I'll not pursue it. 

What I will say is that, despite its age and provenance, it tasted really refreshing and very pleasant and I enjoyed a couple of glasses very much indeed.