Saturday, 20 December 2008

It's Christmas Don't Ya Know...

Yep that time of unruly joy and unblemished hope is upon us once again. To celebrate this most wonderous of times we have put the Honkjazz Christmas special for your good selves to listen to (over on the left) whilst chewing on the left overs or you could listen to it now.... ultimately it's down to you.

On a slightly more allotmenty note the broad beans are well into the ground and preparations for 2009 are moving apace (nothing so far)

So there it is, short and sweet and from all at Honkjazz (Brazil & Herbert) here's to a great Christmas and a Happy new Year (BTW Honkjazz will be doing a New Years Eve Show from 10pm - 12pm so if your not going out then tune in for a rip roaring journey through 2008 with at least 2 tunes from the past year - Check it at

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Honkjazz - The Allotment Part 17

I felt compelled today to provide an update on the allotmenting side of the honkjazz. However, the update is really based around what hasn't been done but also what will be done in the next week (honest!) and what has happened over the past year...

The plan today was to get my sidelight fixed on the car and then get up to the plot to weed the japanese onion sets and finally put the Broad beans (Aquadulce Claudia) & Cabbages (Wheelers Imperial). This plan failed at the first hurdle when it became apparent that the sidelight problem on the car was not going to be a quick fix and the heavens have decided to open with a mixture of freezing cold rain / hale and a lovely diagonal wind that seems to just blow directly in your face.

So, i'm back at home eating some tomato (hoping to grow some of these next year) soup and listening to the footie on the wireless (radio not WI-FI internet enabled radio). But, I feel this has definitely provided a time to reflect on what has come to pass over this past year (yes i know it's a bit early for a lets look back over the past year but hey thats life).
The year started without a plot which made growing anything extremely difficult. Luckily Brazil used his negotiating (application) skills to obtain a plot and before you could say shiver me timbers the honkjazz allotment was brought into being.

This was then closely followed by a mad session of rubbish clearing and general disbelief and the sheer scale of what had been taken on. This was exasperated but herbert being unable to add anything but supportive words over the phone.

At this point i feel compelled to say that Brazil's single minded determination took a small piece of wasteland and dragged it kicking and screaming into a workable piece of land capable of bearing vegetables of the tasty variety. Without this effort there would simply have been nowt, nada, nothing, null, rien.

From there plots took shape. ground was turned and belfast sinks were lifted into position. (Please do look over the previous 16 posts if you would like pictorial support.)

By now the summer was opon us and the evenings were long.

We had put potatoes, white onions, spring onions, carrots and runner beans into the ground and there was progress a plenty.

BBQ's were enjoyed and many a cool can of lager was consumed as nature took it's course and slowly the seeds turned into vegetables.

It is important to note that the honkjazz way of doing things involves 10% science and 90% blind faith but it is also very important to remember that the 90% is still faith even if it is blind.

To say that it was all plain sailing would be a mistake. There were times when despair was at the fore and you couldn't see the plot for the weeds. Somehow this just spurred on further heroic efforts to keep on pushing forward and believe me did it bear fruit!! (Veg)

The spuds were reet tasty, the onions were sharp and the carrots full of flavor. This for me is the real success story of the past year that within a matter of months there was fresh produce on our plates and a feeling of satisfaction in our souls. I really can't overstate just how much the plot has a positive effect on both of us.

Now we are well into winter and progress has somewhat slowed (Herbert take note) but i'm still over the moon with what has come about this year and once the broad bean and cabbage seeds do go in the ground we will be ensuring a positive start to 2009 where i'm sure the honkjazz allotment will go from strength to strength. The key is that we have fun and if possible eat some tasty veg to boot.

Oh and i nearly forgot with christmas fast approaching here is a picture of santa swimming in an aquarium in Tokyo.......


Thursday, 6 November 2008

An Item For Your Attention!!!

We have at Honk towers added a link to the internets we like for the one and only collective discharge @ blog for all you discerning music lovers out there - their mix is going out on Soild Steel radio for goods sake so make haste and check em out.....

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Honkjazz Is Now Fortnightly On Purple Radio!!

Yep we sure are... playing a unique blend of Devonshire's finest (funkysoulfulfolkenbeatknockbeintronicambient).
Check out

The next show is Wednesday 5th which is bonfire night but most of you will go to a bonfire type thing this weekend so stay in and listen to this instead between 10-12pm.
If you can't then check it to the right of this blog post or the mixes section of the purple radio website.


The most recent show is to the right just for you.....

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Magic, Mischief, Murder, Mayhem & Mindbending Mystery - Part 3

The lands to the west of England have long been completely drenched in mindless storytelling and intrigue because people drink too much and haven't got anything better to do than gossip and exaggerate. In an occasional series of reports we slice open the fatted underbelly of myth and throw the intestines of legend at the wall of truth (good lord!)

I proudly (not very) present the legend of.......


A place of magical energy and one of the most powerful series of connecting ley lines on earth or a big old phony-baloney festival where estate agents in their mid-thirties go to get ripped off by travellers, teenage drug dealers, food vendors, bar prices, merchandising stands, crusty jugglers, stalls selling stupid hats, fortune tellers and opportunist thieves just so they can feel like they're still young?

The only mystery that Glastonbury has is why anyone would pay £160 to stand in a muddy field with 120,000 assholes watching The Stereophonics.

BOOYAKASHAA! Take that, suckers!

Proof indeed that Mother Nature hates The Stereophonics just as much as I do. High Five Mother Nature!

It’s said that Jesus Christ himself walked the green hills of Glastonbury in the form of Joseph of Arimathea, his post-crucifixion alter-ego. It is also believed that he thought Paul Weller’s afternoon set was shit and that £13 was a bit too much to pay for a henna tattoo.

Zing! You can keep that one.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

A Note Of Progress To Come

Very quickly i want you to all know the following:

1) A plan for the winter is in place
2) seeds have been ordered
3) Some seeds aren't available and alternatives will have to be sort
4) Things will be be built to protect out fledglings through the winter
5) A shed will be in place by christmas (no really)
6) Honkjazz now broadcasts on Purple Radio check it -
7 The seeds that are available have arrived
8) winter onions are in the ground

To sum up the plot looks great and it feels great...

A more deatailed report to follow.....
Stay Tuned

Friday, 3 October 2008

honkjazz - The Allotment Part 16

Saturday, 20th September
Well now. Things had got in a terrible state of disrepair down here. As we mentioned previously the weather and our schedules had played a big part in keeping us away from the plot for a fair while. Certainly long enough for the weeds and grass to get up to knee-height in places. So Herb and I had allocated this weekend to have a bit of a sort out. And thats what we did. In full effect!
I kicked things off by arriving at the plot at about 11am and filling my car with the bags of weeds and the old dumpy-bag. This lot had been sat there doing nothing for ages so it was a nice first job to get done. I took them all to the recycling centre (managing to give the dumpy bag away to a very appreciative couple in the process - so the cycle continues) and on the way back popped into Large-DIY-Chain-Store-With-Brightly-Colored-Advertising (damn you and your brightly colored advertising!) to chat about sheds. Specifically the chances of getting our dirty hands on some damaged stock. According to your man there they do sometimes have damaged stock and there might be a couple of weather damaged sheds up for grabs in the next couple of weeks. More on the shed business later as developments Whatever.
So the last stop on the journey was at Harry & Sue's small-holding for some pig poo. Luckily Harry was there so I didn't have to be clambering over gates like a bearded, sh*t-caked cat burgler. That was very satisfying that was. Filling the sacks that twenty minutes ago had been full of weeds with lovely pig muck. Another cycle continues.
So getting back to the plot I started by tidying up that whole area. And here it is looking rather lovely.
So that was the first lot done. Next job was to cut the weeds back around the edges and in between the plots. Because this is job is a killer on the back I would cut around a bed and then weed the living daylights out of it before moving on to another area. Herb joined me at lunchtime and wepassed the day weeding and cutting and weeding and cutting. My favorite piece of work was the broccoli/cabbage plot which was so overgrown that you couldn't really see the vegetables for the weeds. It took me about three

hours but after hoiking the smaller broccoli plants out of the ground and weeding the bed (much easier than trying to weed around them) it looked smashing. I'm very much looking forward to seeing how this bed develops as I am a big fan of the broccoli. Innit.

So that was a very fine Saturday indeed.

Sunday, 21st September
Today we really went to work on the plot. Herb was weeding the plots that have been recently vacated by onions, carrots and potatoes and I carried on with the trimming. Between us we thrashed the place and it was good.
So we headed up to the recycling centre and bought an essential piece of furniure.

So it has now taken on a great little atmosphere. Its neater and tidier and we can have a sit down on our bench and discuss our plans. Which are complex but good. I'll let H go into the finer points of them but basically we've got to figure out what we can plant over the next few months to keep the cycle going.
We also need to build some stuff and get the shed sorted.
And thats it.
Not too much to think about then.
........sigh....... Oh, we also took some fresh vegetables away with us. Carrots, beans and cabbages. Nice huh?
I'll leave you with a picture of the plot as we left it on the Sunday evening.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Some Further Thanks

Just a quick addition... and yes the big chill review is on it's way, promise!!
Big thanks to Tracy (Me Bro's Missus) for getting us the seedlings, seeds and seeders. Without these we would literally have had nothing.
To me Bro for enabling the transfer (god i talk some shit) of the above to me to then get them in the ground. Again this is extremely important as any allotmenteer will know..... without seeds you aint got nowt.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Magic, Mystery, Murder & Mayhem - Part 2

The West Country of England has long been associated with myths and legends. From The Beast Of Bodmin Moor to the Devil's Footprints, tales of folklore have ensured that this wild and rugged part of the kingdom remain shrouded in magic and intrigue.
Until now!
So let's sweep aside the curtain of mystery and have a closer look at some of the magical stories that the West Country has to offer as we look at Part 2 of an occasional series. This week our journey through space and time brings us......

The Legend Of Giant Bolster

I’m going to have to quote from a website about this one:

“Giants loom large in the folklore of Cornwall, and legend tells us that once upon a time the Penwrith area was plagued with them. Giant Bolster must have been a truly enormous figure, since he could plant one foot on Carn Brea (the high hill just outside Camborne) and the other on the cliffs outside St. Agnes - some six miles away - he must have been about 12 miles high.”

Hold up there homes. Are you stoned? 12 miles high? I think you're the one who's 12 miles high! Bunch of chuckleheads. Knowing the Cornish he was probably just an unusually tall man which at the time meant he was about 6”2. Idiots.
But wait – it gets better.

“Bolster was a bad tempered and violent brute who terrorised the countryside and struck fear into the hearts of ordinary folk, but he met his match in the pious and chaste St. Agnes. He fell in love with her and pursued her relentlessly, but St. Agnes wanted none of it. Sick of his constant attentions, St. Agnes told him to prove his love for her by filling up a hole in the cliff at Chapel Porth with his own blood. To Bolster that was an easy task. After all, he'd never miss a few gallons - but St. Agnes knew that the hole was bottomless and led into the sea below. He stretched out his arm, plunged a knife into it and lay down to wait for the hole to fill up. It never did of course and eventually Bolster lost so much blood he died. Thus, St. Agnes was rid of his unwanted attentions but he left his mark behind. The cliffs at Chapel Porth to this day still bear a red stain, said to be from where his blood ran down into the sea.”

Way to go Agnes, that's a nice style you've got there. You couldn’t write him a letter? Change your mobile phone number? Stay with friends for a while. Go on holiday. Just tell the poor schlub, we’ve all had to do it. Sure he’ll hurt for a while but his heart will mend eventually.


It’s nice to see that even in ancient myth and legend women are still all nutters!
Also, is he wearing Converse Allstars?

Saturday, 6 September 2008

I'd Like To Thank My Mom, My Agent, My Cleaner, My Bus Driver.....

When we first took on the plot we just figured it would be a nice bit of a project to give us some free food and that. But the honkjazz allotment has become a massive part of our lives and it represents a whole lot more than just a veg' plot. It arrived at a really important time in my life when I was at a bit of a low and the walls of my flat seemed to be the only sight I'd see of a weekend. So to have a scratch of land to chomble about on has become so vital to me, I can't describe it. But I'll try. Heh.
When you lose love you tend to grab hold of anything that can fill the void that you feel. For me it seemed to be shopping. I bought trainers, antique furniture, graphic novels - anything that might stop me feeling down for a while. And of course none of it worked. I still felt down - just a bit more broke is all.
So to have a piece of earth that I could put all of my heart into became a massively important thing in my life. Its provided a place for me to sit and think and smoke and drink and survey the growing things that we've put in the ground.
We've had some stellar times up on the plot, radio burbling, beers on the go, smokes a plenty. Sometimes I just go to the plot and sit, thinking about the series of events that have led me to this place. Its a good place.

Anyway, I'm rambling. I meant to post a big ol' thank you to all of the people that have helped us make this plot what it is. So a massive honkjazz big up to...

Ian - Thank you for all of the timber, sand and tools. And the burning bin was very cool as well.
Gavin & Lisa - thank you for helping us dig over the first two beds, laying the pathway (top work G-Spot!) and for generally being ace.
Rebecca - Thank you for standing in the rain helping me to hoik out carrots and spuds and onions. Star!
Gentle Ben - Thank you for the timber and especially the little fencing that we've used around the raspberry bed.
Harry & Sue - Thank you for the massive amounts of pig poo that have helped our vegetables grow so strong. And also for the paving slabs that helped make our Useless Patio!
Poppa - Thank you my love for the swede plants, the rosemary bush, the advice, the love and the support. My endless thanks are for you. x
Jute & Lex - For turning me onto purple broccoli. Goddamn! that's good sh*t. Much love.
My agent.
My manager.
Our fans - couldn't have done it without you.
Phil - My brother in the folly.

So thank you all. We love you so much and hope to be eating lovely foods with you at the nearest opportunity.


Well you may have been super worried about us and the lack of updates on the state of the plot. I wouldn't blame you. It is a tumultuous soap opera at the best of times. Heh.
The blog has been ignored about as much as the allotment to be honest with you. And not for want of trying but more for want of some decent f*cking weather! Seriously its been wet and miserable havoc down these parts. We've just not been able to get to the site for a decent session (whatever way you want to read that ;-) for ages now.
Anyway, stuff has been going on. I promise.
So a few weeks ago I managed to get to the site with my friend Rebecca and we lifted the first batch of carrots, some spuds and the last of the onions. And it was good.

Here you can see the carrots that we hoiked out. Lovely innit? These are the carrots that we didn't sow properly. We didn't thin them out for fear of inciting the dreaded carrot fly so we figured we'd just leave them be and see what the honkjazz ethos (put it in the ground and see what shape it comes out) would produce. And it produced a mad crazy bunch of twisted carrots, allwonky and knarly. Still, tasted bl**dy marvellous!
So we washed spuds and carrots and dried out the last of the onions and everything was great and good.
The issue that we faced was what to do with the empty beds. Yeah, that ones still unsolved and at the moment we have five beds sat waiting. All they need is a good weeding and they're ready to rock but as I said the weather is just too sh*t to get down there at the moment - its doing my flipping head in!
Anyway, over the last few weeks we've been popping down there to pinch the odd bag of runner beans (which are doing very well thank you) but its always been in the rain so no actual work can get done.
I did get down the plot after work for a couple of hours last week to try and cut back the manic weeds which are quickly taking over but after two hours of solid chopping I'd barely made a dent! Damn them all to hell! Today I did manage to get down there to hoik the last of the spuds out (in the lashing rain!) but couldn't get any housework done. Its doing my head in as well because it deserves to be taken care of but we just can't do it. Oh well. It'll happen when it happens.
We need to get our thumbs out and figure out what we can plant now because we've got five beds empty and thats just wrong! Wrong! Wrong! So thats the mission for the next three weeks - weed the living daylights out of the empty beds, remove all traces of spuds (just in case they had some blight) and get some winter crops in (any suggestions would be more than welcomed). Otherwise, the runner beans are doing great, the broccolis are over-run with weeds but well healthy, the swedes are strong (although a part of my brain doubts that they're actually swedes at all and I'll be posting some pictures as soon as I've weeded the beds - I couldn't stand the shame of showing you them as they are now) and the raspberry plants seem okay just doing their own thing. The pepper plants are strong and thats about the lot for the plot. It just needs a good old seeing to and as soon as the weather permits I'll be right on it.
I promise.
Heres the vegetable basket tonight.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Magic, Mystery & Mayhem - Part 1

Having spent some time on the beautiful land of Dartmoor I felt strangely inspired by the magical and ancient landscapes, the flowing rivers and fearless rocks, the stone circles and dark forests. The land of the west is riddled with such beauty and mysticism and deserves closer attention by all. So I proudly (not at all) present the first in an occasional series of articles reporting on the myth and legend of the west. Join me as I take you on a journey through time and space as we investigate The Magic Of The West!

The Ghost Of Lady Howard

As the gates of Fitzford House rumble open a fearsome, red-eyed hound thunders towards you. Behind it comes a horse-drawn carriage, it’s only passenger a ghostly white old woman – The Ghost Of Lady Howard. So far, so good (although the bloodthirsty, red-eyed hell-hound might be pushing it a bit but whatever). But wait, there’s more.

The carriage is made of bones and it’s driven by a headless horseman. OK. And Freddy Kruger did the MOT right? Who fixes your hair, lady, Michael Myers?

So apparently the bone-wagon travels 16 miles to Okehampton and when they get to the castle the dog walks up the castle mound and gently plucks a single blade of grass in its teeth and then they all head back to Fitzford House. By the way, I can’t believe the hell-hound isn’t slavering all over that carriage made of bones. Seriously headless horseman? If the suspension ever goes on that thing I’m guessing the dog has been chewing on your shocks. Just saying.

(Oh, the picture has got nothing to do with this particular legend but wow, what a creepy cat - you'd better say thank you when it brings you another chewed up, half dead frog as a present or it might shoot a laser out of it's eyes or something)

It seems that Lady Howard will not be released from this nightly spectral procession until the entire castle mound is free from grass as a penance for murdering loads of people or something. Two words - established judicial system. What kind of crazy judge passes that sentence? I know judges are a bit old and mad and all but as soon as they start sentencing people to an eternity of watching a dog pluck a blade of grass from a castle mound every night I think it's probably time to hang up the wig.

And haven’t you ever heard of Round-Up? It’ll clear that grass in no time. She must be an organic gardener. Just cover it in old carpet or black plastic sheeting. Job done. If the dog really has to do it why not just send the dog? Do you have to be there every time? Take a night off, watch ‘Ice-Dancing With The Stars’ or something.

This legend is so dumb that I can’t even be bothered to poke fun at it anymore.


Tuesday, 19 August 2008

The Mixes to the right....

Are now organised in numerical order. 7 is the latest one ok.

Our OCD can now relax.....

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Honkjazz the Allotment - Part 15 (Kind Of)

It's a temporary blog post until a full update appears of all the shenanigans that have gone on "up on the plot". Here 's a few pics and there's a new mix on the right.

Now, here's a little lesson - The one on the left has blight, the one on the right doesn't. The picture in the middle is of a bed full of blighted spuds. Simple (edit - the jury is out on whether we have blight)

But, even though we had blight (edit - the jury is out on whether we have blight) without actually knowing it we've still come away with a good crop of kestrel spuds for the collective honkjazz plate - Yippee!!!!

And here are some lovely carrots - yummmmmy...

So there it is - Honkjazz are producing you see.

Monday, 21 July 2008

honkjazz The Allotment - Part 14

From this -

To this -

To this -

Yes, the first produce from the honkjazz allotment has hit our plates in the form of lovely, green baby gem lettuces. Herbert will be having his with lunch today and I tasted some in freshly baked roles with Spanish chorizo in one and Milanese salami in the other. And dear Lord it was a tasty treat. Made all the better because we made it. We made it I say! The start of something that is very good for you.

So this weekend has seen a lot of hard work done on the site. Nothing mad important, just housework. But work all the same. On Saturday Herb and I busied ourselves with the weeding. The beds were starting to become a bit overgrown with a sea of little green invaders covering the floor. The worst hit was the runner bean patch so I got stuck into that whilst H tackled the onion bed. I must say that I found it very, very satisfying indeed. And I got into it too, not letting a single little weed slip past. What a joy a freshly weeded vegetable bed is!
The runner beans are doing well considering how late we planted them out. Herb and I have kind of gotten into the slacker side of garden in some cases, i.e it will do it's own thing so let it do it's own thing. So what if we planted stuff out at the wrong time of year. It's natural instinct is to grow. And if it doesn't grow it dies. That's that. Apart from a short dalliance with Round-Up (which I'm happy to leave alone now - the weeds will always come back!) we haven't used any chemical aids or pesticides or any stuff like that. No nitrogen pellets, no Fish Blood & Bone. Nothing. Just a lot of pigsh*t and digging. I'm cool with that.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, the runners are doing well, climbing steadily with lots of beautiful red flowers around the base of the plants, probably up the first two feet or so. Hopefully the vines will soon mesh and tangle and the flowers will appear all over (like our neighbor Ron's wonderful plants that you can see in the background - a curse on your house Ronald!!). Here they are....

Herbert shuffled off to have fun in the sun on the run and I finished off the bean bed and called it a day for Saturday. After all, it WAS Chudleigh Carnival that evening and there would undoubtedly be live Bare Knuckle Boxing in the streets once the procession had finished. So that was Saturday done. But not before I tried to start some shear-trimming action on the quickly growing grass. But the call of the carnival had it's grip on me. The smell of donut grease hung like a heavy cloak over the village whilst a mustard gas Candy floss aroma searched out open windows and tickled the occupants on the chin, drawing them outside in a daze. Not really sure what they were doing stood in the road, they soon found themselves slowly walking to the town square where they would eat pink sugar and watch Chudleigh's Got Talent on a little stage near the war memorial. Later they would snap back awake as the dying notes of 'Simply The Best' or 'Let Me Entertain You' hung in the air and the male/female duo (called something like Fire & Ice or Mark Two - because his name is Mark and it's his band and there's two of them) packed up their gear. Nobody could quite remember what happened that evening and all across the village people looked at the battery powered flashing deely-boppers and pink, sparkly cowgirl hats that they had somehow acquired and tried to work out what the time was.

So on Sunday I headed back up to the plot and got stuck in. So much work to do and such a beautiful day to do it on. I started by having a bit of a tidy up and finished off the grass cutting for the bottom of the plot and around the fences. I should have done the whole plot but it's a real back killer so I kept procrastinating by finding little jobs that I didn't even know needed doing. I practically emptied the dumpy bag full of weeds into about twenty sacks ready to be deposited at the recycle centre which took a while but was cool because as soon as the bag is empty we can chuck it away and build another compost bin in it's place. And what a joyful and triumphant day that will be for all!

I went through the potato plots and unraveled any pesky bindweed that I found on the spud plants. The potatoes are doing very well and are starting to slowly die back. They're quite crowded in and stretching out at the sides in search of light. I think it's going to be packed with spuds under the ground and can't wait to start digging them out with my grubby little hands.

I finished off the onion bed weeding leaving a load of beautiful onions who, like the spuds, are just starting to pull the goodness from their leaves in one last growth spurt. Not that some of them need it. The biggest of them are about the size of a lawn bowling ball. Lovely. I'm going to attempt to plait them together in a rustic French stylee! I do not have high hopes for that part of the operation.
So er..... good luck with that.

I then dug a few weeds out of the mixed bed. This bed is one of my favorites because it keeps changing and it's lovely and bright. The day we finished it Bob/Jon wandered over and gave us some lettuce sproutlets so we planted those in. Then we filled the rest up with alternating rows of carrots and spring onions. Except they didn't really work. As you can see only half of the carrots took and none of the spring onions (actually out of a packet of 1000 seeds we have five spring onions - hahahahahahaha). So after I'd pulled out the few weeds on show I decided to move the pepper plants from one of the Belfast sinks and into some of the spare ground left by the stupid spring onions. Although there is a theory doing the rounds that we washed the seeds away the first time we even watered them but whatever. Only three out of the nine pepper plants had made it but I still planted the other six brown withered stalks because you never quite know what's going on with that there nature stuff. Feeling very happy with myself I did the same thing for the failed garlic plants. These were going great guns and then just died back into the bulb form. Not sure what happened but the bulbs were just sitting there in the sink-soil so I chucked those into the ground as well and we'll just wait and see what will happen. Probably nothing, maybe something.

This is the one bed that I couldn't really work on. After cutting away the nettles and grass along the back fence I could get to weeding the swedes (sweeding?) but the broccoli is still so small that's it's difficult to weed around it so I thought I'd leave this one until it's obvious exactly what is a broccoli sproutling and what is a weed in disguise!
Hmmm, hasn't my shadow put on weight?

So this is all me putting off finishing the grass-cutting. So I thought, "Mmmmmm, I know, I'll go and eat that lovely, big raspberry that I spotted yesterday on one of our fledgling raspberry bushes. Over I wander only to find SHOCK HORROR that it's missing. Just as I'm about to call an allotment holders emergency meeting in the presence of the village constabulary to solve this crime I spotted the offender. It was a bird flying overhead. I saw the look in it's beady little birdy eye and I could swear that it squawked at me the little sh*t. So I wasted a good hour and a half building the worlds most useless fruit cage.
It's useless on many levels as well. Primarily because it WILL fall apart with the slightest gust of wind. I only had five pieces of bamboo and some string to make the framework so you can imagine how well it's held together. More a stick balanced on some other sticks. If it does actually manage to stay together the birds definitely won't
be able to get at the raspberries. And neither will
we. The entire thing would have to be knocked over
in order to pick one, single fruit. The last completely stupid "design" flaw is the possibility of a bird getting inside through one of the many little holes but not being able to get out. So we'll have no fruit left and a nice collection of birds that have been literally scared to death.
Nice work huh? I bet you've never seen a fruit-cage/bird-trap as well constructed as this one?
At least I got to take part in the Thing That Boys Love To Do No. 16 (no, not that) - building things out of string and sticks and nets. Which is of course ace.

I finished the day with two great pieces of work. I finished off the grass cutting and then weeded Herbert's 2nd carrot/spring onion bed.
This is such a relaxing thing to do - sitting in the dirt gently plucking little weeds from the ground and occasionally crumbling up clods of earth. Getting your hands in the soil (which was wonderfully warm under the surface) can be very soulful experience and one that I can recommend to anyone wanting a bit of stress relief.
So there we are. Barring one plot the entire allotment has been smartened up, had a haircut (styled by Vidal Baboon) and weeded to within an inch of it's little life. Things were replanted (and therefore given another chance to feed our greedy bellies) and protected and I invented a great way to trap birds. And we got to eat some stuff that we made live.
And we are mighty good smug about this.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Back (In Full Effect)

So I came back from holidays to find that Herb had been working away on the defences of our fair scratch of land. And a wonderful job he has done too. We'll spend the weekend weeding and trimming so it's nice and lovely and then do a mahoosive photo update just for you. No, not you, you. And maybe you.
I'm going to resist the temptation to tell you every single little thing that happened on my holiday and instead throw some photographs up for you to glance at for just a second.
The order is random. Deal with it.

Here are some rock formations at St. Agnes
beach. The surf was far too mental to go swimming and the weather was kind of grey anyways so myself, Jake and Mia (nephew and niece) had to be content with that great British past-time of Champions - Rockpooling! And St. Agnes does have some awesome rock-pools.

My folks and I went for a lunch at a beautiful pub somewhere or other. As soon as I sat down in the garden for a smoke this little dog wandered over and said hello. He was followed by his sister and they entertained us by playing such wonderful
games as 'Run Around The Bushes Really, Really Quickly' and 'Woof' and

'Who's Got The Toy - Me! - Give It back! I Want It - Can't Have It! - Give It Back Now! - You'll Have To Catch Me First Slowcoach'. He was so sweet that I came very close to dognapping him. And isn't dognapping the easiest crime to get away with? All you have to do is wave a bit of cheese-rind in front of him and he's all yours! Dognapping - it's safe and easy.

This is the beautiful harbor entrance at Porthleven. I'd not been here before and sadly it was a little too early to have a pint on the quayside (it was a St. Austell brewery pub as well so you know there's Tribute to be had in there) so I had to settle for a pasty. As delicious as Cornish pasties are (very) I can never enjoy them when I'm outside. I'm always too afraid that a seagull will swoop down and try to wrestle it from my grip. As I defend myself the gull pecks at my eyes, breaking my glasses and quickly blinding me. It's claws rake across my arms and face as it screeches it's shrill battle cry. As the mighty wings flap in the air a small boy is knocked over the edge of the harbor wall, mother screaming as father dives in to save the child. Panic everywhere as seagulls descend from the skies attacking any human that they can find. People run to their cars and try to drive away but the gulls are shattering the windscreens with their razor sharp beaks and the cars smash into shop-fronts and plow through the terrified tourists before gracelessly dropping over the harbor edge. The bay runs red with the blood of man....
So I usually just get an iced lolly.
This time I threw the last third in a bird-proof litter-bin just so I could smirk at the idiot gulls who suddenly had to pretend that they weren't following me after all.

Here's me with my wonderful sister and niece.
(photograph taken by nephew)
I like the way my sister gamely tried to hang the wet clothes and towels out to dry. You're in Cornwall woman! Not a chance. Also, see how Mia is holding a little stick? That's a barbecue skewer and she'd been poking them in the hot barbecue coals all evening once the food was cooked. The first day they arrived I was a nervous wreck around the kids, trying to protect them from every potential accident and envisaging broken bones and slashed limbs at every turn. After the second day she could have been juggling flaming knives for all I cared. Parents of the world I salute you! Your bravery, determination to try and enjoy yourselves no matter what and sheer I-Don't-Care-What-You're-Doing-Just-Let-Me-Read-My-Book!ness should be admired by us all. So she's waving a red hot stick around and whatever.

I took this one on my second to last day as I went
on a lovely cliff-top stomp. I started at Godrevy beach and walked along the coast path taking any little turning I fancied. I soon stumbled upon this little gem of a beach and I was desperate to get down there. It was only about 30 meters across (as opposed to Hayle beach which measures about 3 miles in length!). So I tried to walk down the "path" but I just couldn't risk it. I'd had a few beers the night before and my sense of balance wasn't feeling that great. The path was on a steep slope and one slip or misplaced step would send you tumbling down the cliff-side before being dashed to death on the rocks below. So I thought I'd wait until next year when I can set up some sort of rope system or perhaps be air-dropped onto the sand. I will sit on that beach!

(note - isn't "dashed to death" a wonderful phrase. Like extreme sprinting. Stupid sprinters. I hate runners. Oh, sorry, that's racist. Zing!)
(note 2 - I've struggled to raise the nerve to tell that joke for some time now. I'm quite sure that anyone with an ounce of sense would see that it's a play on words, as in "race" sprinting rather than "race" of people but I always worry that some folk won't see that and will think I'm making a bigoted remark about the prevalence of black runners in the athletics world like I'm some kind of assh*le. I mean I am but not that kind. Ok? We cool? Good.)
(note 3 - I'm now more aware than ever that sometimes it's better to just shut your mouth and keep it shut.)

After the cliff-top stomp I went for a drive around, just getting happily lost and mooching about. I had to park up and investigate these old ruins. The National Trust or Heritage Association or some other excellent bunch had put up these wonderfully presented and endlessly informative metal plaques with photograghs, diagrams and a detailed history of the mines, pressing plants, equipment used and the significance of the tin-mining industry to the local and national economies. I think this ruin was something to do with metal stamps. I don't know, I couldn't be bothered to read it. What am, back at school again? Great place for a party though.

And here is my palace of comfort. I must say I was very impressed with how it stood up to some of the worst weather I've witnessed in my life. Of course you expect a bit of tastyness being half a mile from the West Cornish beaches but seriously! Gale-force winds and constant rain, often for two days non-stop. My sister's tent didn't fare so well and was really buckling under the strain. Other tents on-site were simply destroyed by the weather, poles snapped and tents flung about like rag-dolls. My little one was fine though. Bone dry, tight ropes, nice and warm. And a super-comfy bed as well. Lovely.
(Yeah, we Brits know about surviving harsh weather! "My tent poles were completely snapped and the tent was just flapping around in the wind. I had to rent a smaller tent and stay at the completely opposite end of the campsite for TWO WHOLE NIGHTS before I could get another tent sorted out." Crybaby! I met a drunk idiot in the pub over the road who hadn't checked his new tent and after getting hammered before setting it up realised there were no tent-pegs. He had to sleep with it wrapped it around himself like a poncho and we all know how stupid those are. He spent the afternoon calling me dude, buying me pints of beer and trying to persuade me to travel by bus to party in Newquay. Only one of these things is good.)

Talking of good, it's Isambard Kingdom Brunel everybody! I love the Tamar Bridge because I always think, just for a second, that we're allowed to drive over the enormous archway pipe bit that you can see here.
That would be awesome.
And yes, taking photographs whilst driving is very dangerous and I will never do it again. Likewise, using a mobile telephone, fixing a stupid, broken mobile telephone, drumming 'Telegraph Road' by Dire Straits on the steering wheel, making a sandwich, playing the guitar and practicing origami. Sorry mum.

So this is me after I'd spent two hours setting up camp on the first day. NOT having just woken up (as suggested by some), rather full of energy and enthusiasm for the exciting times ahead.
And full of beers from the case in the back of the tent.
On the right you can just about see the end of my Farnborough Town FC 2003 FA Cup Tour scarf which was proudly strung between my tent and the flagpole.
Flagpole? I hear me pretend you ask?

Yes, flagpole. (clever that huh?)
It's the flag of the Philippine Islands (in a state of peace, red on top is war - that would come later...........) which I bought of that internet a few days before I left. It's a very public private joke which worked a treat. And it also looked beautiful blowing in the wind. Funny thing about the flag is that whenever I took it down during the really strong storms it would look utterly depressed, all wet and dirty on the floor, lonely and useless. But the very second you put it up it's all joy and happiness.
What made me laugh especially was the reaction of the other campers. Quite a few people would stop and ask me what the flag was and when I told them they'd all go "Ahhh! Of course, the Philippines, of course!" and slap their foreheads, etc. Like that was on the tip of your tongue Mr Vexillogist. Stroll on.

And if you're going for a stroll you might like to go for a wander on the mighty Hayle beach. (is this like some awful 80s travel show?, all cheesy links and idiotic presenters? is it?) It's massive right? I did have a bit of time on this beach but was driven away by a small child who was walking around issuing a high-pitched scream every thirty seconds. So I left the beach because it annoyed me. Can you imagine? Three miles of sand and I have to go to a completely different beach because of one child? But it was the whole experience that did it. I mean he was just wandering around screeching. Not in distress or pain, just for something to do. Little f*cker. Anyway, you'd be surprised how many strange looks a man with a beard and a backpack gets just by staring in hateful anger at a screeching child on a public beach. It's not like I had a hunting knife in my backpack.*

* it was in my tent with the night-vision goggles

Anyways, this beach was kind of too big for me. Perfect for practitioners of surfing, paragliding and any other sport where you strap a parachute to your back or a piece of wood to your feet and let the elements do what they will with you. Not for me. Parachutes are for escaping and pieces of wood are for hitting screeching children.

(note - I do not endorse hitting children with pieces of wood. A bit of hosepipe, that's what you want. Nah, I'm kidding. Hitting children is wrong. You want to kick them, that's what you want to do. No, no I'm just joking. Any form of physical torture towards children is a terrible thing and certainly no laughing matter. Mental torture, on the other hand, now that's........ )

Found this on the first night as I went for a stroll across the sand dunes to find the ocean. The perspective is funny here because to my eye it could be any size you imagine. I think it looks like you could step from one bit to the other. Of course they're flipping massive and I was stood on the edge of a big cliff.
Note-to-self: You are boring me now.

Ah, this is a railway line thingy that ran behind the garden of a pub in Angarrack. It was one of those pubs that's just full of crap. I mean good crap. Like on the walls there was a pair of bagpipes next to a gas-mask next to some old-fashioned skis next to a trombone, etc, etc. The theme seemed to be 'Can We Attach It To The Wall?" and I kind of liked it.
The landlord was a huge, bearded man who never
seemed to stop racing around the pub talking and laughing with his customers and whenever I went to the bar he'd call me "my boy" "my friend" - simple customer service stuff really but I liked it. I felt very comfortable there. So go to the Angarrack Inn in erm.........Angarrack for great food and lovely company. I can especially recommend the lambs liver with creamy mash and vegetables.

For my birthday my niece and nephew gave me a kite (along with some gemstones and a bottle of wine - how did they know?!). My first kite in about 22 years. We tried to get it going over on the sand dunes but I just couldn't seem to figure it out. I kept tying and retying the string to different parts of the kite and changing the way it was put together but still it wouldn't work. I felt like a failure as an uncle. So later on when the Karate Kids weren't taking up all of the space in the play-field practicing their sets (idiots! Shut up Karate Kids. Ow. Ow. Stop kicking me Karate Kids. Your a girl!! You can't punch m...ow... ) we simply held the kite out, jumped it into the air and it was off. It stayed up there for about forty-five minutes and after a while I realised that my six year old niece was a better kite-flier than I'll ever be so I left them to it. Smart-Alec kids! She's not even looking at it. Before long she was doing basketball tricks, threading it under her feet and doing spins and stuff. Hmph. Stupid kite.

So this is my very camp barbecue and deckchair. Might go some way to explaining those funny looks I mentioned. People just seem to think that a lone man with a beard, a deckchair and a turquoise barbecue who is humming 'Cheek To Cheek' by Fred Astaire has some sort of agenda.

Another pub stop that me and the folks made was at a place called The Watermill which is situated somewhere between St. Ives and Hayle.

I can't remember. I had a lovely pint of Sharps Doom Bar and we sat in the garden. Suddenly the waterwheel started up and soon a guy came out and poured cooking oil over the gears or cogs or something. Amazing thing to watch was the wheel. It kind of made you feel happy, thirsty, seasick, tranquil and like you needed a wee all at the same time. Some kind of magic I'll wager. Menu looked good as well so I'll try to get back to this one.

This is Hells Mouth.
A rather ominous title wouldn't you say?
I believe that it's a favorite spot for suicide jumpers to end their days as death is bankable on the craggy rocks below. I must say that I couldn't go too close to the edge of the cliff here. There seemed to be some ethereal voices around me, swooping and diving with the gulls, forces like unseen magnets drawing you in the desired direction. Years worth of sorrow and contemplation filled the air like a tangible, weighted mass as I stared, hypnotized at the small patch of grass at the cliffs edge where those poor souls felt the answer lay one step ahead. And as the very land and sea called out to me in it's haunted song I felt strangely pulled toward the.................. Hells Mouth Cafe & Gift Shop!
Get in!
Who needs all that phony-baloney, anguished self-analysis when you get a Fab lolly for under 80p!?!?!?! Not me my friend, not me. I'm more than comfortable with my own OCD based neurosis, nihilistic disrespect for humanity and subconscious fear of rejection thank you very much. Mmmmm mmmmm Fab lollies are ace.

Well that's about it I guess. I mean there are another 143 photographs but I figured you've probably got the gist of it. The last picture is of the beautiful Godrevy lighthouse. This building typifies my childhood memories of Cornwall. My Grandfather used to paint pictures of it. I'd always wonder what type of people would give up their shore-lives to live on a rocky outcrop, whether the goal of averting shipwrecks and saving lives was the primary reason for living there or whether they just wanted to get away from the rest of us, what it was like inside, how lonely an existence would it be and whether or not you could focus the light to lazer-burn planes out of the sky.
And it's just as mystifying and secretive to me now.
Except it's solar powered.
And unmanned.
And who cares.
And no, lights can't lazer-burn planes out of the sky. For a start the light is probably on a fixed level and even if it is adjustable I doubt if it can be moved up to a high enough angle. Also, it's never going to be powerful enough. The best you'd be able to manage would be to dazzle a hang-glider. Lights and lazers are probably different things anyway. I just don't know alright?

So at the very least I've made you all aware of just how interesting our vegetable patch is in comparison with my holiday photos.


Sunday, 13 July 2008

Honkjazz The Allotment - Part 13 (Time for An Update)

So much has happened since we last spoke....

Here is a summary to kick things off:
1) The last bed has been finished!! Huzzah and double huzzah! It was decided there and then that more carrots and spring onions would be the order of the day.
2) Each crop baring the first lot of spring onions is going crackers (there growing well) as opposed to mental (running round in circles talking to themselves) which is a completely different ailment entirely.
3) There is no blight on the spuds. However the lettuces have been devoured by an unknown evil (slugs) (or possibly mice as was pointed out yesterday by a fellow plot holder)
4) We are coming towards our first harvest but also nearer the potential for ultimate crop failure...... we must be vigilant!!!!

Here's a more indepth analysis of the last few weeks:
1) I would show you a pciture of the last bed to be completed but i don't have one which is a shame. But, to set the scene there are spring onions and carrots. The spring onions are already showing the early signs of breaking through the soil and showing themselves whereas the carrots are a thouroughly more cowardly bunch by staying out of sight. Also one side of the bed is made up of a headboard that has been cut in two (you get the picture or not). In the future i'll just take photo's, it's a damn sight easier.
2) Here actually is some pictures of stuff going crackers in a purely vertical out of the ground towards the sky type move....

I would at this point like to raise a point which has been a mystery ever since yesterday when i came across it..... The runner beans that you can see above are in the same bed as the one's below........

So why? on god's green earth are the ones above doing so much better than the ones' below. Answers on a postcard please..

3) Thank god we don't have blight but i am aware that the dreaded "B" can strike at anytime so fingers are remaining crossed even at the risk of severe arthritis in old age. The lettuces however have fallen foul to the variety of demons that are just waiting for an opportunity to weild there axe of doom (like i said slugs or maybe mice). Here is an illustration of the carnage but please make sure you are of strong stomach as the facts are frankly disgusting......

But we will not be beaten and lettuces with flourish one day down old honkjazz way (i hope as i really like lettuce and they are getting really expensive along with other well known food type's that is being well documented....... sorry i digress)

4) and now we are bang up to date and you can rest assured that the good fight is being fought. Netting has been put over the latest carrots and onions to give them a fighting chance and the runner beans who are showing some signs of under hand tactics by mother nature have been installed with the latest in anti pest control. (poor i know but cd's do work and it's recycling to boot!!)

So the way forward is clear. Harvest time is upon us but there is still opportunity for "old MN" to right royaly kick us in the arse. The next few weeks will be key to ensuring that the honkjazz massive have plates a plenty of loverly home grown produce.
Also in other news BB has been camping in what can be described as the wettest two weeks this summer (i'm sure we'll more about this in the not too distant future)
And Herb was diddled on a shed via the mother of all time wasting shed botherers

Roger and out...

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

honkjazz The Allotment - Part 12

Saturday 31st May, 2008

During the week H and I had popped along to the site after work (ahem) for a few hours to chip away at bed number 7. It was kind of imperative that we got that finished because the runner beans in our little plastic greenhouse shelving thing (What?! Do you know what it's called?) were going bonkers. Well half of them were. The half on the bottom shelf were screaming upwards with an abundance of healthy leaves. The half on the top shelf just couldn't be bothered to even split their shells. Shut up lazy seeds.
So by the time Saturday came around we only had the final 1/8 of the plot to dig. The weather was playing with us a bit but the showers were only gentle ones. Until the last forkful had been turned over and sifted through, then the heavens opened. So we quickly knocked up a border and scarpered for it. Herb went off to the nearest local nationwide DIY chain store (damn your convenience and brightly colored advertisements!!) to get some bamboo canes and some more carrot and spring onion seeds and I went to H&S' smallholding to collect some manure for the runner bean trench.
I had so much fun as well. I love getting all mucky and working with dirt and poo and compost and timber. It's my favorite thing. I was covered in manure and stank like a pig's arse and part of me wanted to smear feathers and blood across my chops and pop up to Evil Monolith Tescoverlord to wander around the meat section for a bit. You know.
Good Lord, I actually think about this stuff.
So I filled up ten bags of pig manure and drove back. By the time Herb had returned I was just finishing off the
bean trenches before filling them with the manure and covering them over.
Alas we didn't have enough bamboo so we whizzed down to the local garden centre and grabbed the rest there. And now we know that they accept cards we'll try to shop there as much as we can because it's all local and that init?

Anyways, we done made this.
Looks ace doesn't it? When you stand at the top of the plot and look down it's amazing just how much the feel of the place has changed now. The simplest of structures adding new points of focus I guess. We love it.

So that was about the extent of our work on Saturday. Just as we finished planting the last of the runner beans the sky opened up and it chucked it down again. Well done us!
And Dad's signposts are still making me chuckle (although we're short of a Potato, a Garlic, a Chives, a Lettuce, two Spring Onion and a Carrot - these retired folk think they can just sit around on their Aris' all day. There's work to be done. You don't see us lot sat about all day on our backsides, lounging around in the sunshine doing nothing do you?!?!?)

Sunday 1st June, 2008

Wukka Wukka.
Today we decided that the previous days work was well enough to reward ourselves in this fashion. Some may say that we're just sat around
on our backsides in the sunshine doing nothing all day. Well, I'm not sat down alright!?! That's Suz, Herb's infinitely better half. She totally brought it with the wet-wipes which I for one would have gone mad without. It's one thing to have a man who's clothes are smeared in pigsh*t eating a burger with grease running through his stupid beard but it's another thing entirely to have said man walk around holding his greasy paws in front of him dripping meat-juice everywhere, fingers splayed, looking like Edward Burgerfat-Hands.
So cheers for the wet-wipes Suz.
They always represent with the wet-wipes don't they, the girls? Is it part of the Girl Constitution?
1) You must always answer a question with a question.
2) You must always save information/annoyance for a minimum of two months before dropping bombs.
3) You must never look away from a pointed camera.
4) You must always carry wet-wipes.

So here's the little culinary corner.
There you can see the little plastic greenhouse shelving thing (whatever!) and also the Belfast sinks. Yeah, yeah, never mind the humans. The sweet peppers are in the left hand sink and after planting we slapped an old window over the top to give a kind of green house effect. The next sink along is the garlic which has been falling back, the leaves withering and disappearing completely. I reckon it's because of the abnormal amount of rain we've had of late. So Herb dug all of the weeds out and we slapped another window over that one as well (note - for ''slapped'' read ''gently placed with caution in the presence of a grown-up''). Let them do their thing, use up all of the moisture in the soil and we'll see what's vibing along under the surface in July. I've got a feeling that they'll be there all done and everything. Just hiding from us is all! The last sink did have the chives that Dad gave me in January. They'd died off as well so I weeded it out and in the process discovered loads of little chive bulbs in there. I figured it couldn't hurt to mix it all around and spread the bulbs around and slap the last window over the top. We'll see what happens won't we?
(note - we might have to adjust some of the angles of the sinks a bit because the drainage is not going towards the plug-holes - this may back up my theory of the chives and the garlic being overly moist)

So as Herbert manned the BBQ and Suz offered anyone passing by a wet-wipe I went around the edges of the plot with the shears and gave the old girl a well-needed haircut (''you look fahbulous dahlink'' - hair by Vidal Baboon) and did a bit of weeding. By the time we got to eat the green watermelon that I'd picked up (see? boys remember stuff like that!Booyah!) the plot looked lovely and we were all well stuffed and very happy.
Here's the rest.

Our kitchen and window arrangements.

The Lettuces that have survived.

The King Edwards

Them onions.

Our grub.

So all in all we had a lovely afternoon. Stuff got done but not in a real hurry. We worked on Double Reggae Time which is of course, the best time to work on. My favorite bit of the weekend was when we were trying to tie the bean frame together and I had to cling on to the cross-pole to weigh it down and keep it straight whilst Herbert struggled with the knots and I felt like a pirate on the rigging of a ship. A pirate gardener. It was brilliant. And yes, I am an idiot child.
And when we left it looked like this.....sigh....