Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Around and about the house

The Garden

Still a bit of a chill on the wind and threatening overnight frosts. Perfect for the gardening start though when the sun gets it's way.
Two nests at present, a blackbird pair have at least three nestlings and one egg, our great tits have three eggs and she is covering them with horse hair. Much the same as ducks I suppose, in that they are left all day covered, and then brooded once finished laying to ensure they hatch all at once.
No sign of the swallows or martins up here yet, not heard a cuckoo, or seen our barn owls.The sparrowhawk hasn't been back either.

We've started on our raised beds for salad stuff and a small veggie plot ready for courgettes and squash. Salad spuds are in big buckets, and the garlic and onions were planted last Autumn.
The fruit trees,well the plum and the pear are showing their blossom, the two apples just showing shoots.
Gooseberries are looking good, but not a great deal of show on the raspberries.
Had our first forced rhubarb crumble today!
Renewed all our herbs in pots as they were getting a bit past it.
The second winter on the trot has wiped out our bay tree. Not really certain that  a bay leaf adds much to the cooking, although the chefs always say put one or two in, maybe a bit more subtle than my taste!!

Our field next door is still empty of the sheep and their lambs, I hope they are back soon, the nettles and cow parsley are just rearing their heads.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Today I tried it out

Well I did go fishing!!

Alarm sets me going at 4:30am, it might as well not have been on, a restless night waking every hour on the hour..anticipation?
Don't know if it was really, it was a visit to a muddy puddle near Droitwich, so a two and a half hour drive.
If there had been frost on the windscreen I may have gone back to bed!!
Anyway it was the annual Chav's(Young'uns) v's Aces( Old'uns) from a friendly website forum, I say friendly, because it's by invitation/recommendation only and a black ball comes into play. 
So none of the usual trolls!
There were 22 of us, so equal sides ,and after a very full English provided by an anonymous member donor, the draw took place for a 10am kick off.
Christ it was cold on the bank top, with a north easterly whipping it's way along the length of the "pond" for the entire match, interspersed by wind whipped hail and rain, thankfully not too much.
I've never match fished let alone sat too often on one of these places, and it showed. 
Arthur sitting next to me (a Chav) was straight in catching almost from the all in, feeding constantly to the island feature. I plodded away with my usual pond tactics and despite getting bites failed to make contact with one of those things that swims. 
Shown the way though and stored in the memory bank.
The 3o'clock shout couldn't come soon enough,but the pair of buzzard kept me amused as they mewed overhead as did the hefty head banging of the woodpecker behind me for most of the time.
Arthur weighed in 56lb of the 202lb Chav's total, the Aces weighed in just under 104lb. So the youngsters won, our top weight 20lb ,didn't come in the prizes!
So after the weigh in, a burger laid on by our benefactor,then we said our goodbyes until Octoberto practice for our next meeting at the same venue.

The Barbel Show 

The first prize in the raffle will be a pair of hand built Torrix rods built by Vic Gibson.
They are being produced in association with Bevan Tackle and are numbered and inscribed to commemorate the Society's first book launch.
So the raffle is going to be a very special one with lots of other great prizes!
But to be in with a chance of winning...... you need to be there! :)

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Barbel Society News

Annual Show

Get your tickets here for Sunday 9th June

Here's the stand list for this years show.

Traditional Angling.... Steve Middleton
River Reads
Des Taylor
Angling Trust
Paul Garner
Bob Roberts and Stu Walker
The Lone Angler
The Hook Bait Company
Jon Berry
Dave Harrell
Mill Tackle .... Garry Mills
Stapeley Angling Centre
Free Spirit
David Miller Art
Black Country Baits
Andy Sliwa Rods
Wraysbury Baits
Bob Buteaux
Bevan Tackle
Gold Label Tackle
Global Angling Products
Dave Mason and the Barbel river records.
Barbel Society Merchandise including Fisky's Feeders. 

The Barbel Society Book.

Spring here ?

Our first daffodils have opened today, great tits are nest building, and so far our sheep have 11 lambs, not in the field yet, still inside.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Sun's out!

Promising start

The 6:30 alarm call, got me up well in time for my day out, the sun was shining in a bright blue sky as I prepared my bacon and eggs.
Out the door by 7o'clock for what should at least be a three hour ride down to Woodford Green for my overnight accommodation.
Arrived at Ivan's place at just before 10o'clock just a tad too early, but the southern trek can never be guaranteed incident free.The only "problem" being a slight build up of traffic from the M25 into east London and the North Circular.
The journey south had seen the drive through darkening sky's and as I approached the bottom end of the M11 after Chelmsford/Harlow junction the flurries of sleet/hail and snow began!!

So we set off in the snow to start our journey into Liverpool Street for the upteenth International Drinking Society meeting, the venue of my choice, because it was my birthday meeting, a Young's pub, the Three Lords in the Minories. On arrival we found it open and trading at 11:30..niiice!.

I have to say I couldn't remember the pub, but it must have been sometime before 1973 for my last visit.
Later I found that  it had been rebuilt in 1985, but that didn't come across in the interior, the bar looked quite original.

The beers available need no introduction but as I was expecting a session I stuck toYoung's Bitter

I had already decided we were eating elsewhere, so we sat and chatted and drank until about 3o'clock, deciding that food was needed, but not until we had visited the Still and Star which had brought back some fond memories of after work drinking with the girls from our own telephone exchange, that was conveniently on our floor in the Mitre Square offices. Once again I was surprised, this little pub used to be tucked down
an alleyway, and it was now in full view across from the bus station.
Still and Star
We had another pint of Young's and set off down the Whitechapel Road in the driving snow, to find the curry restaurant, somewhere behind the Whitechapel Hospital.
The restaurant we found wasn't the one I had in mind, which, as I remembered later, is off the Commercial Road, so that's on the list for next time.
We decided to stay put,as a couple of the old'uns were feeling the affect of the cold, the lack of toilet facilities on the walk, and general hunger.
So we entered  a Punjabi restaurant, serving what appeared to be in the majority the local Punjabi population.
A big plus point in my mind.
The Me & You  didn't show the normal " Indian" dishes and NO ALCOHOL!!
I took over the ordering because one or two were not finding their "usual curry".
Now a warning, it may be wise or make it clear that you don't want your starters and main course to come at the same time....because they did!!
All excellent though and all freshly cooked, our drinks were lassi, and the ol'boys were happy with my choice. I'll certainly recommend it and will go back again
It worked out at less than £20 a head which I was very happy to pay, as part of my birthday celebration.
And, so ended another International Drinking Society outing.
Ivan and I wended our way back to Liverpool Street and to his home, for a shared bottle of port nightcap,watching Gloucester getting thrashed in the Heineken Cup, the last 10 minutes of Chelsea's win, and then Suits, before retiring to a just about ready for sleep.
Up at 7am for a local cafe fry up and then home by 10am after a probably faster than I should have drive on relatively empty roads.

Today it's bright blue skies up here on the Wolds, a still very chilly wind from the East, but a bit more promising for some pond fishing in the not to far future, probably down in the valley.