Doledrum December

So its been a period of rest and relaxation for me on the days I’ve had off so far during the last threee weeks as little has been going on in the garden and December is not really a month synonimous with naturism.

I’ve been out into the garden a couple of times both clothed and naked although the latter is never really for that long just to fill up birdfeeders or put out bread.

Its been quite pleasant to air myself occasionally from the centrally headed house the other time was clothed to cover up the garlic and onion sets and also to move some plants about.

I’ve managed to plant my bare rooted Hellebore Niger’s which I ordered from Thompson & Morgan, but other than that its been very quiet as I’ve chilled watching old episodes of Waking the Dead, Inspector Morse and Endeavour as well as some Silent Witness too.

Maybe this week I’ll sharpen some tools,mend a sleigh to put a planter on and maybe tiidy up the front before the real cold weather moves in.

Last Monday I went to visit my mum to wish her a happy birthday,before popping over to the club to out some rat poison in the back box to keep the rats and mice at bay. Fortunately in the main area there wasnt any sign although there had been in back box which is a little more open.

Maybe we might visit to see in the new year even though I’m working on New Years Day but I don’t start until 10 and work is nearer to the club than home is.

I’m steering clear of the debacle that is Brexit for now as I look around at the chaos of all kinds that is around in the world today and wonder if, the people who hold jobs of responsibility and power actually have the real people interests at heart or just their own



You never give me your money
You only give me your funny paper
And in the middle of negotiations
You break down I never give you my number
I only give you my situation
And in the middle of investigation
I break downOut of college, money spent
See no future, pay no rent
All the money’s gone, nowhere to go
Any jobber got the sack
Monday morning, turning back
Yellow lorry slow, nowhere to go
But oh, that magic feeling, nowhere to go
Oh, that magic feeling, nowhere to go
Nowhere to goAaaaahhhhhhhhhh…
Aaaaahhhhhhhhhh…One sweet dream
Pick up the bags and get in the limousine
Soon we’ll be away from here
Step on the gas and wipe that tear away
One sweet dream came true today
Came true today
Came true today (Yes it did)One two three four five six seven
All good children go to Heaven
One two three four five six seven
All good children go to Heaven
One two three four five six seven
All good children go to Heaven
One two three four five six seven
All good children go to Heaven
One two three four five six seven
All good children go to Heaven
One two three four five six seven
All good children go to Heaven
One two three four five six seven
All good children go to Heaven
One two three four five six seven
All good children go to Heaven

Fungal Feast

Just over 12 days ago,I bought from B & Q’s Garden Centre in Chelmsford 2 Azaleas which I took home and put into the garden. After about a week of working I returned to them and noticed that one had begun to seriously die back. After looking online i found out that this is caused by a disease in the soil,which was present it seems when i bought them both.

Fungal diseases can cause azalea branch dieback: Botryosphaeria and Phytophthora. There is no practical chemical treatment for either disease, although fungicides may prevent the disease from spreading to other plants. Phytophthora is generally fatal and you should remove the plant right away to prevent the spread of disease. Symptoms include leaves that go from pale green to yellow to brown, prematurely falling leaves, and dieback. Unless the plant was exceptionally healthy before contracting the disease, you might find that your azalea bushes are dying within two or three weeks. The disease lives in the soil, so don’t replace the plants you remove with more azaleas. Botryosphaeria is a very common azalea fungus. You’ll find dying branches here and there on an otherwise healthy plant.

Leaves on affected branches turn dark and roll up, but they don’t fall off. You can treat the plant by pruning out diseased branches, but you might want to consider removing the plant since you’ll have to battle this disease every year. You can help your azaleas resist disease by providing them with good drainage and partial shade. Diseases often enter the branches through pruning wounds and injuries from landscape maintenance. Point lawnmowers away from the plant to prevent injury from flying debris, and take care not to damage the plant by trimming too close with a string trimmer.

Thankfully when I returned the plant to the store they replaced it straight away without even looking at my receipt,which by chance I’d actually lost.

For more information and to learn more about Azalea Dieback Diseases click on this link:

Forward Planning

So now with the winter upon us the question is what to plan for next year and how far to take my ambition to use all the growing space available and how many of the seeds I’ve collected do I plant ? Its easy to go overboard i know but to actually grow something worth eating would be an accomplishment for me period.

If I actually got help and encouragement it might help but with the garlic and onion sets already doing nicely I might see if I can push the boat out and grow in the two growhouses and the small lean to greenhouse and maybe cut down on the bedding plants,pots and baskets just a little bit.

I’m not great at planning,however I am very much one of those who will have a go and see what happens. When it comes to growing a productive, attractive garden, forward planning is essential. It helps me figuring out which seeds I need order to deciding and which i have already. This year i haven’t ordered much just some bare rooted hellebores from Thompson & Morgan. It doesn’t take that much work though although there a key things to remember.


Assess Your Space – Look at where you’ll be growing your garden. Will you be planting in raised beds, containers, a community garden plot? What kind of sun does the area get? Measure the space — this will come in handy later on. You can also draw it out, to scale if you want.

Figure Out What to Grow – So now you know what kind of space you’re working with, and the fun begins. List everything you want to grow. This doesn’t mean you’ll grow it all, necessarily. It just gives you an idea of where your priorities lie.

Narrow It Down – This is where your garden measurements and your list of things to grow come together, if you have limited space. This is also the time to assess when you can best grow things. Spinach, for example, is best grown in spring or autumn in most areas. So you can grow it, but what will you replace it with during the heat of summer?


Map It Out – You don’t necessarily have to draw out a garden plan, but I often find that it helps me see things more clearly. If you’re not great with a ruler and pencil (I’m not, for example…) look into online garden planning tools. This step helps you figure out how much of each plant you can grow, and you can also figure out succession planting now, so it makes it very easy to figure out what you need for the next step:

Buying Seeds/Plants – Now is when you take your list and plan and go shopping. You still have some decisions to make, though. Are you going to start your warm-season crops like tomatoes and peppers indoors from seed, or are you going to buy transplants. If you’re starting them from seed, you’ll need some equipment (propagators etc)

Figuring Out When to Plant – Next, you need to come up with a schedule, based on your plan, of when to plant everything. I’m not going to buy any seeds this year just plant what free ones ive accummalated over the last couple of years.


Manchester…so much to answer for

Last week it was time for another trip away…more for a chance to see Slayer on their final world tour,but also to look at some local sights but also to celebrate my birthday.We had both booked off the Thursday and Friday, together with the weekend and made a reservation for three night at The Ascott Hotel in Eccles.

The car journey took around four and a half hours with some delays for roadworks and a stop at the services on the M6 Midland Expressway.The hotel was old fashioned in character but nice and clean and sort of quaint and quirky. After a rest,a quick bath and a change of clothes we headed out for s leisurely evening and for something to eat too,ending up at a bar in Monton high street called the Blind Pig. We then followed it up by a couple of drinks at the Malt Dog on the way back.

After a good nights sleep and a hearty breakfast we drove out to the Trafford Centre to do some shopping before returning early in the afternoon to get ready for the gig at the Manchester Arena. The journey into the City Centre took around half and hour on the tram from Eccles and after a bite to eat we took our seat in the Arena just as the lights went down.

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The bands on the bill were some of our favourites, all of which we’d seen at least once before. First on were Obituary from Florida who played for a little over half and hour and got the atmosphere stoking with some of their best tunes.

Their set was:

Redneck Stomp,Sentence Day,A Lesson in Vengeance,Visions in My Head,Turned to Stone,Don’t Care,I’m in Pain and Slowly We Rot.

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Next were Anthrax who were on form too they played with all the panache and style just as they always doo but they all to quickly got through their set which consisted of the songs: Caught in a Mosh,Got the Time,Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.),Be All, End All,Evil Twin,Antisocial and Indians.

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Lamb of God from Georgia were on next cruising through their set with singer Randy Blythe on form, dashing around the stage and uping the anti even more, the songs they played were as followed:

Omerta,Ruin,Walk With Me in Hell,Now You’ve Got Something to Die For,512,Engage the Fear Machine,Blacken the Cursed Sun,Laid to Rest,Redneck

Then came the mighty Slayer who deserve a post all of their own.

Winter is closing in Fast

It’s getting to the time of year,when staying in bed a little later and staying indoors a little longer is far more appealing than venturing out into the garden and getting jobs done as the temperatures dip. It’s the time of year when every budding gardening enthusiast has to let go a little,as plants start to wither and the lawn needs to be left alone.

Today being Monday I decided to take it easy and stayed tucked up in bed for around three hours after she’d gone off to work. Watching some YouTube videos,before the gas engineer dropped by to service the hot water boiler. My aches and pains have been exaggerated recently,probably by the cold and the damp so extra rest periods have been helpful in the long run.

At around noon i ventured out into the garden to fill up the bird feeders and afterwards to then start work on organising the “potting shed” which had be a little bit cluttered. In the shed there is some old paperwork stored at the far end with some other bits and pieces but there was enough space to move the desk and barbecue to allow me to use the shelves on the far side to store some garden chemical as well as to hang some tools up.

Unfortunatly one side of the shed is structurely deminished so it cannot be used but utilising the rest of the space enabled me to move the tools and put the large amounts of fertilsers that ive accumulated, together with the perlite and the bird food. All these are stored in big tubs.

Finally for today at least I tidied the table swept the floor,stored the broken pots (used for drainage) before heading inside for a well earned beer.Other jobs for another day will be to sort out the cupboards, put away the seeds I’ve collected,sharpen my tools and tidy up out the front,before planning for next spring.

Destroying the Countryside

The so called housing crisis has become a central issue in British politics, with a shortage of social housing (many were sold off by the Thatcher government in the 1980’s) forcing millions into expensive, shabby private rentals; locking a generation out of home ownership; and causing a massive increase in street homelessness. It has come to the stage where you have to question the conservatives motives when discussing the issue.

For a further article

We received a letter recently telling us that the housing company were going to build subject to planning being approved, 350 homes and of these 350 new homes “60% would be luxury and 40% affordable housing”

How does a development of 60% luxury and 40% affordable amount to affordable housing for all ?

To me this seems more like a money making exercise !


The powers that be want to build houses everywhere and where I live they want to cover this view with houses as far as the eye can see. I’ve wrote a letter and complained of course saying:

I am objecting to this planning application and it’s proposal to site 350 dwellings on farm land nearby.Primarily the siting of these houses will destroy and totally decimate the wildlife in the surrounding area which needs protection at all costs.

At present there are Hedgehogs,Pheasants,Little Owls and a number of Deer occupying these fields (I have photographic evidence) who habitats would be lost. Countryside in this part of the country and county needs protecting at all costs as it is being lost at an alarming rate.

Secondly the road network system in and around our village is not sufficiently good enough to cope with the increased traffic, this proposed development would create, which was originally built to service a small village.

Welcome to Essex the county with little countryside !

Thirdly the services such as the Doctors and Primary School are not sufficiently funded or staffed to cope with the influx of new residents /children living in these proposed developments, which would stretch its capacity to breaking point.

Finally there is land in the middle of village which should be thought of first before developing any unspoiled countryside around the perimeter of our village.This development along with other proposed developments would change the character of this medium sized village irreparably

It comes to the point in my honest opinion if councils and governing bodies actually listen to anyone’s opinion or just put the concerns of big businesses first and always first. Pushing forward the case for companies and shareholders profit primarily and disregarding the needs and opinions of genuine people and the welfare of nature and wildlife. In this area there are plans too for a waste incinerator plant and a major road building project that will totally wipe out any wildlife for miles around.

How long before this view is lost forever ?