Monday 21 October 2013

No Whines About The Vine.

Working for the last two days on the task of pruning our vine, I had time to contemplate just how lucky we are to have inherited this old grape producer. We have only a hazy idea of how old it is, guessing something between 80 to 100 years or more. Much of it is dead and non-productive, but in the few area where it still lives, a warm summer, like the one we have just enjoyed, will produce an abundant crop. 

The late spring made us wonder if it was going to be a dud grape year, because even in July the fruit was small and hard. However, the hot late summer months worked their magic and the result was a crop of about 50 lbs. of sweet and juicy Muscatel green grapes. Somehow the flavour far excels that of grapes bought in the greengrocers or supermarket. I'm not quite sure why that should be the case. Perhaps it is due to intensive cultivation methods used by commercial growers, or by picking too early and ripening in a controlled cold room environment.

Growing grapes in the United Kingdom non-professionally, is a hit and miss affair. Our vine is in an old greenhouse and if we grow other plants there which require a lot of water, the higher humidity can produce a mould on the grapes, which soon rots much of the fruit.

A cold summer like that of 2012, just does not do the trick. Last year we had no edible grapes at all. The whole crop had to be thrown away, green and sour as it was. The sour feeling continued, when I fell off a ladder and cracked two ribs whilst pruning. All pain and effort for no return.

This year was a different story and we thoroughly enjoyed the sweet fecundity of this wonderful elderly vine. 


Sunday 20 October 2013

Rare Coins. (Gym Slips 10.)

The changing rooms lockers in the gym, have those slot machines which take a pound coin when you use them. This is reunited with you when you return the key on opening the locker again.
In the past, it was amazing just how many people forgot to take up their pound coin again, before leaving the changing room. I have often forgotten a coin myself, but have made up for the loss with another coin from some forgetful user on a subsequent visit.
However, in these times of monetary recession, it is noticeable that even with such small sums as these, people are a lot more careful than they used to be. Now it is very seldom that any money is to be found lying around in the locker slots. If you forget your own, you will be definitely out of pocket.


Saturday 19 October 2013

A Poor Christmas Deal From Tesco.

Tesco have sent us a seasonal promotion offer. If we spend £90 each week for the next four weeks, they will send us a voucher to use in-store before Christmas.
Meanwhile, rival supermarket Morrison's, are advertising that if we spend £40 per week with them over four weeks, they will give us a £40 voucher.
One offer is more Scrooge-like than the other. Unfortunately, we do not have a Morrison's outlet near us, but it makes me determined to spend as little as possible in Tesco.
Tesco wanted the offer to be counted as a gift, but without us actually buying anything, we already feel short changed. Some marketing strategy!


Sunday 13 October 2013

Nasal Deforestation.

You know that you have reached a certain age, when you have not only shown an interest in a gadget that clips hair in the nose and ears, but have actually bought one.

The manufacturers of this robust piece of equipment, rather coyly refer to it as a "groom aid", so perhaps there is hint that elderly users are embarrassed that they have reached a stage in their lives, when the hair in their nose and ears is growing faster than bean sprouts, whilst that on the scalp, is a vanishing species.

Be that as it may, the actual performance of this clipper is really good and a few moments of judicious use once a month, will tidy you up a treat. It has a quality build and delivers painless results. You will be able to breath again without being tickled and if your ears feel cold, there are always earwigs.


Wednesday 9 October 2013

Toilet Delivery.

If you are expecting a mail delivery which never seems to arrive, the sure-fire solution is, to get yourself into a toilet, lock the door, sit down and start some serious bowel evacuation.
Invariably the mail will arrive just as you are most inconvenienced. Problem sorted. 

You will have to be quick though, especially if the delivery needs to be signed for. Don't worry, the postman is probably used to seeing recipients rush to the door with partially girded loins and not exactly smelling of roses.

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Apple Pie Apology.

Autumn is a time when we struggle with our eternal wish to go on a diet. How can we regulate our weight after pounding it on during the summer, when our son is at home and we believe that we too, can eat like a teenager and yet remain slim?

So now, when he has gone back to university and it is a good time for some serious self regulation, what happens? The harvest season is here and we feel that it is wasteful if we do not eat the apples produced by our three trees. It must be confessed that we have already had the same guilt pangs, as we ate our way through a grape crop of about 50 pounds in weight. ( In our defence, I have to add that we did give most away.)

Today it the turn of our Bramley cooking apples to be sacrificed on the alter of internal gratification. There is something special about going out in the morning, picking four huge apples from a tree and then preparing them for a pie that will be eaten for lunch. I opted for puff pastry and added cinnamon as flavoring in North American style. Cloves are used in the British style, but we are not fond of that taste.

The result was delicious. We had the pie without anything else for lunch, just as a concession to our conscience.

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