Saturday, September 19, 2009


It's been a month of earthly and other-worldly delights.

Walking tours. Two of them. Both on the same weekend, celebrating P's 60th birthday and discovering many things about London. The first one accompanied Radical Nature, an exhibition at the Barbican, which I could not wholeheartedly recommend. The dolphin embassy is hilarious, and Agnes Denes's wheatfield is spectacular, but most of the 21st century 'interventions' are fairly excruciating.

The walking tour, though, was brilliant. We thought we would be visiting private green spaces not normally open to the public. Instead a softly spoken man with a satchel and a passion for tiger moth caterpillars showed us wild plants and flowers growing in obscure corners and crevices around the complex. Catch it if you can... as C pointed out, the botanist who leads it looks like he might disappear back into the brickwork at any moment.

The following day we explored Subterranean London, and learnt how John Snow worked out what was causing the cholera epidemic in Soho in 1854, and how Joseph Bazalgette banished it forever out by sorting out sewers in a big way. Kind of sobering to think about all the cities where people still get cholera because their shit runs down the middle of the street, and then remember that it was only 150 years ago that happened right in the middle of London. Amazing. Also recommended.

Over in art world, for M's birthday I took him to 'experience' Susurrus in the Botanic Gardens. Verdict: hmm. It's a glorious time of year there, so I'd say take your own iPod, stick on something mournful and lovely, like say the new Unthanks album, walk slowly and forget about the play.

I finished Infinite Jest, all 1079 pages of it. I am rather haunted by images of broken, addicted people in a broken, polluted world, but it's also hellishly funny. If you have the time, it's worth the time.

I went out for dinner with my Significant Ex (preceded by beer in the Wheatsheaf where they now have Proper Pint Jugs, very excitingly) and came home with Here Come The Snakes, which I haven't heard for years, since my tape of his album was destroyed by the tape deck of the 2cv. For years that was my very best tape, HCTS on one side and Stone Roses/Stone Roses on the other... but while the latter album is now near-ubiquitous, the former is hard to find except in expanded expensive reissued form. As great lost albums go, they don't get much greater than this one, and I stuck it on, turned it up, and had a large glass of red and a little weep. No shame in that, every now and again.

The allotment produced so much stuff last week (mostly potatoes, but also chard, French beans, carrots, gherkins, and lettuce) that I had to bring it all home in a wheelbarrow. Add this to last month's stellar red onion haul and the squash still to come and I'm coming over all Little House in the Big Woods.

Only *they* didn't have to deal with the annual migration of the Brookesalikes. But I'll save my griping for another day. There's digging to do.


Labels: , , ,


Anonymous cookie said...

Need to know how well your red onions store, & how you do it. We grew 1/2 red & 1/2 sturons last year & had a disaster with the former (which may have been down to what we did with them), while the latter were just fine. Hasn't it been a great year--All that burgeoning!

9:37 pm  
Blogger Jo said...

When I say 'stellar', I mean that we had very little loss: most of the ones we planted grew up big and strong. But we're only talking about c40 total, and we pulled them regularly from about June. So the final harvest was maybe 25.
Apparently there's a time when you should bend the foliage over, which was about 2 weeks before we harvested them. I found out about this from and then noticed various allotment old timers were doing the same... I think it helps them dry out.
After we pulled them, I noticed any potentially squishy ones and we used them first (one or two were definitely a bit off). The rest were nice and dry and we stored them in the onion net you gave us! And they're all fine so far... but they'll all be gone in the next couple of months anyway. They taste great though so we'll be trying more next year, live and learn etc.
It's been a fantastic year. Have had to buy potato sacks and gherkin jars! We must share tips soon x

10:32 pm  
Blogger Jeremy Dennis said...

I think susurrus should have come with a big warning about its content.

9:56 am  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

John Snow, a legend of data visualisation! Glad to hear the walking tour is spreading news of a Viz Genius.
(Andy, via Liz's account)

8:28 pm  
Anonymous jonathan said...

Ooh the Brookesalikes- has it really been a year since we were hearing about the last intake? And of course they get younger every year don't they? I nipped into Sainsbury's the other day to be confronted by what looked like the population of a kintergarten, except that every second one of them was carrying a case of Carling Black Label.

11:22 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home