Friday, May 28, 2010

Gardeners Questionable Time...

While tending the grounds of Seany Towers this morning, I realised that it's probably time I posted some more pics of how a few things have been growing in the last month or so.

Starting with the veg bed, there are definite signs of life. From the bottom upwards, there are white onions, carrots, red onions, cabbage, spinach, radish and lettuce. The only no shows so far are the fennel seeds at the far end, but they were only planted a week or so ago as an afterthought.

First seeds were planted down the left hand side and three weeks later, the second set were planted down the centre. In a couple of weeks time I'll plant the final set down the right hand side, so if everything grows to plan, I'll have a more even supply rather than a sudden veg and salad mountain.

The two apple trees finally bloomed (although not shown on these pics), hopefully a sign of some fruit to be expected from them later this year and the oak has finally sprouted leaves so I'm happy that it's survived the move from Mum & Dad's now.

The little blue spruce has suddenly burst into life and adopted a new pale green identity. Although I'm pleased to see it's unexpectedly grown so soon, I'm also curious to see when (or perhaps whether) it will turn back blue again.

In the greenhouse, all of the seeds have been a qualified disaster, the only ones to have really come to anything are the spring onions, of which there are now two pots of them growing

The garlic is coming on rather well too with 5 plants growing nicely and a 6th shoot just appearing above the soil line

I'm at a loss to understand why the seeds in the greenhouse have failed in such quantities, so I've cheated and bought a few plants for the growbags. On the left from top to bottom are green peppers, red peppers and chilli peppers. These have already proved popular with the local slugs, having almost completely finished off the chilli pepper plant. After an unsuccessful eco-friendly approach using egg shell, I've finally resorted to slug pellets to keep the greedy little blighters off, but the other two have grown considerably.

The next round of "cheats" was buying tomato plants, from top to bottom being pixie tomatoes, beef tomatoes and ailsa craigs. The pixie tomato is a strange little plant having refused to grow in any direction but has plenty of flowers on it, so we'll see how effective it is at bearing fruit.

The final seed cheat occurred after I spotted B&Q selling little herb plants, six for a fiver (cheaper than I'd previously paid for the seeds!) So combined with some cuttings from Mum & Dads and a couple I'd bought earlier, the herb "garden" now consists of ten planters containing chives, lemon balm, lemon thyme, Moroccan mint, oregano, parsley (flat & curly), rosemary, tarragon and thyme.

Quite honestly, I'm not entirely sure when I turned into the bloke who could identify plants and the various birds that frequent the garden and secretly hope I'm still not the one who'd openly admit to enjoying it.

I really must get myself a job sorted out soon. In fact, there may finally be some news to share soon, but more about that next time...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dream on...

Although I've always been fascinated by my vivid dreams and the occasional mystery behind them that I can't correlate to activity in the previous day, I also readily acknowledge that there are few truly interesting conversations that begin "I had the strangest dream last night..." Perhaps the fact that I'm writing this at such a ridiculous hour reinforces that this one was a bit unusual.

So, quick dream recap: I've just returned a board game to a criminal looking family down the road then hurried back home, locked the door and turned the lights off. As I stand there behind the locked door, I'm suddenly feeling really uncomfortable and nervous about being in my own home. Then I woke up.

Amateur interpretation time:
Board game? WTF, no idea what that's about
Criminal family? No idea, I'm very lucky to live in a cul-de-sac full of friendly respectable neighbours
Uncomfortable in my own home? I've lived on my own for most of my adult life and it's no secret that I absolutely love it. I have certainly never felt nervous about it, although like any other sane person in this day and age, I tend to keep the doors locked and the alarm is set whenever I'm not here.

So none the wiser as to what my subconscious is trying to tell me, I'm awake, a little confused perhaps, but otherwise, no big deal. Still wide awake a few minutes later, I decided to put the radio on to help me drift back off to sleep again when I'm suddenly aware of some unusual noise outside the bungalow. Then the sound of something like paper or card falling down, shortly followed by the security light coming on in the front garden.

Surely there's no-one posting leaflets or charity begging-bags at this time of the morning? I flew out of bed and went over to the window, but no sign of activity outside. Inside however, some well-meaning plod had posted a hand-shaped card through my window, warning of the dangers of leaving windows open for opportunist thieves.

Now I figure if the sound of a falling piece of card and the sudden illumination of the outside security light is enough to wake me from my slumbers, there's little chance that any scrote is likely to get anything significant through a small window opening before I get to them.

The police are not to know that though I suppose and I guess their intentions are good, but what's really intriguing me is the connection between my dreaming about feeling insecure at home, then someone actively promoting the idea in the middle of the night through a partially open window. Furthermore, it's now gone three in the morning, I'm completely wide awake and not exactly happy about it.

Still on the bright side, at least I don't have to be up for work in the morning...

Friday, May 07, 2010

Quiet Now, Settle Down...

Finally I've made some progress this week on the Adult Education teacher training I've been chasing so many people for. Despite another meeting with yet another training organisation since my last post on the topic, everything was indicating that my funding for the course was looking very unlikely.

By chance, my continued frustrations came up in conversation with my ECDL IT tutor (who works for North East Lincs Council) when he asked if I had approached them. I explained that I hadn't as I was being led by the "powers that be" to make sure I took advantage of any free funding available.

After a quick word with the secretary there, it appears that they do offer the course locally and the fee was about £120 - quite frankly, I was considering paying it just to get things moving. Then she suddenly added that as I am unemployed and claiming benefit, I would only have to pay the £20 registration admin fee!

To cut a long story short, it was only a couple of emails and a phone call later that afternoon before I had enrolled on the course, met my tutor, caught up on the two lessons I'd missed and paid my registration fee which was actually only £10! OK, I also have two assignments to complete before my first lesson next week, but that seemed a small price to pay (first one completed this afternoon).

Consider me one happy bunny.

Another observation though, the centre where the course is held is on the premises of a closed primary school. As was the other centre where I studied for my IT course. It occurs to me that if perhaps they had kept some of the primary schools open and as a result kept class sizes smaller and more effective, surely there would not be the same need to invest in converting them all into adult education centres now?

Not that I should really criticise the council who's employees have been so helpful in my most recent quest. Even more so if this training goes to plan as I happen to know for a fact they are in short supply of Adult Education tutors...

Monday, May 03, 2010

It's only a number...

I've always maintained that age is only important to you until you leave school - once I'd left and gone to college and started work, I found myself on equal footing with people of a variety of ages.

A few of my managers have been younger than me, but as long as they knew their job, their age seemed irrelevant.

I remember being a little shocked when Matt Smith was named as the new Doctor Who, not being sure how I felt about being older than a timelord, but I then discovered that I'm older than his predecessor too so it wasn't really anything new to worry about.

Apparently I'm older than the current James Bond too, although with the new film now being put on hold, there is talk that the role will be re-cast - but I doubt it will be to someone older.

This afternoon I discovered that I'm older than two of the individuals campaigning to become Prime Minister later on this week and it was the political theme that got me thinking about my age.

With three days to go before the election, our local Labour candidate has finally decided to distribute some literature to introduce himself and between the predictable waffle about being local, deeply caring and empathetic to the concerns of our village, he mentions that he is currently reading politics at university. That would also explain why the picture looks like his school photo.

Even if I thought Labour stood the slightest chance locally (or possibly elsewhere), there is no way I could entrust any responsibility to someone with such limited experience of life and "grown up" issues like trying to buy a house, or working for a living.

Still, I'm sure his Mum is very proud of him and given his age, there's a very good chance that I went to school with her...