Sunday, October 28, 2007

On Visiting Two Yards

Happily Hooting Yard is back on the air again after having been quiet all summer while Resonance decamped to SE1. You can listen live on Thursdays at 6:30 or the repeat broadcast 1:00 Mondays. And I was more than a little pleased this week to find myself linked there in a piece which mooted a Peasant's Party for the U.K. Hear! Hear!
On Thursday's lunch break, I went to Pied Bull Yard to see the paintings which Julian Perry has produced on the Manor Garden Allotments - Sheds Lost to the Olympiad. The title of the show 'A Common Treasury' is a quote from the Digger's manifesto of 1649 which protested their right to grow food to feed themselves. " In the beginning of Time, the great Creator Reason, made the earth To Be a Common Treasury, to preserve Beasts, Birds, Fishes..."
The sheds themselves are now buried behind the 11 mile wall of the Olympic Security Zone.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rings of Saturn

" ... we had walked out together into the garden, where night had already fallen. We waited for the taxi beside the Hölderlin pump, and by the faint light that fell from the living-room window into the well I saw, with a shudder that went to the roots of my hair, a beetle rowing across the surface of the water, from one dark shore to the other."
Sebald, again, on leaving Michael Hamburger's home.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Best in Show

About a week ago Alyson and I rendezvoused at the RHS Great Autumn Show for a lookround. There, under the high vaulted ceiling of the Horticultural Halls, vegetables and fruits were laid out on draped tables to be judged on criteria which generally require all sorts of unnatural growing techniques from forcing under lights to holding back in the freezer and more besides. It felt a bit clinical, fusty and antiquated and, to be honest, the displays just didn't look like food. I had the impression as we shuffled past that we were part of a cortège paying our last respects to the dearly departed.

Well yesterday I dug up a few things at the allotment and I have awarded myself a Silver Gilt medal in the category of Curiously Lumpen and Hirsute Root Vegetables. Marks were deducted for the smooth complexion and near symmetry of the turnip. And yes, that red thing is a radish.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Appy Happle Day

Striped Beefing, Cornish Gilliflower, Bloody Ploughman, Greasy Butcher, Worcester Pearmain, Devonshire Quarrendon, Peasgood Nonsuch, Oaken Pin, Ashmead's Kernel, Hoary Morning, Blenheim Orange, Thorpe's Peach, Winter Banana, Pitmaston Pineapple, Duck's Bill, Pig's Snout, Hen's Turd, Cat's Head, Broxwood Foxwhelp, Eynsham Dumpling, D'arcy Spice, Leathercoat Russet, Tom Putt, William Crump, Transparent Codlin, Lodgemore Nonpareil, Phelp's Favourite, Barnett's Beauty, Dredges Fame, Farmer's Glory, Hanwell Souring, Sweet Cleave, Jackets & Waistcoats, Dumelow's Seedling, Burr Knot, Ringwood Red, Hocking's Green, Polly Whitehair, Crimson Victoria, Golden Knob, Black Dabinette, Maind's Costard, Howgate Wonder... Apple Day, October 21st.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Squash Roundup

This year hasn't been brilliant (as I've whined many times already). The squashes were smaller and fewer but I've herded them all into one corner for a group shot and they don't look so bad after all.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Poet & His Apples

"Peering into the pantry, which held a particular fascination for me, my eye was caught by several jars of preserved fruit that stood on the otherwise empty shelves and by a few dozen diminutive crimson apples on the sill of the window darkened by the yew tree outside. And as I looked on those apples which shone through the half-light much as the golden apples likened in Proverbs to a word fitly spoken, the quite outlandish thought crossed my mind that these things, the kindling, the jiffy bags, the fruit preserves, the seashells and the sound of the sea within them had all outlasted me, and that Michael was taking me round a house in which I myself had lived a long time ago."
W.G.Sebald 'The Rings of Saturn', on visiting Michael Hamburger's Suffolk home

On a recommendation from friend Ren, I've just been to the Frith Street Gallery (now located on Golden Square) to see a very beautiful and affecting film by Tacita Dean. The film was commissioned for Waterlog, an exhibition which looked at the East Anglian landscape and Sebald's writing there. It is a portrait of the poet Michael Hamburger finished just a few months before he died. He holds and speaks about the apples that he has grown (some from pips), their history and associations. Outside the wind blows, clouds part, we peer in through a gap in the curtains and see his wife spooning out dinner...
If you get the chance, see this film.

Monday, October 08, 2007

2007 Gurning Champions

Pear Doyenne du Comice, Tomato Pink Brandywine, another Pear, Quince Meech's Prolific

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Me and My Shadow

This robin keeps me company all the while I'm harvesting, clearing and spreading compost. I sowed my porridge oats (Vicar) on Friday. Four 9 foot rows.