Monthly Archives: February 2012

Bulbs – planted rather than wired

This morning (with it’s unseasonal warmth) prompted the opening of the first daffodil in our garden – one of those cheap jobs from a bargain bag of 50 purchased at a well known supermarket and which resulted in the scowls of the checkout person left dealing with the papery detritus that falls from such a netted bag. The single species narcissi that I researched, pined and deliberated over have shown extreme tardiness in comparison and are only just forcing their way out of the ground. In the current issue of Gardens Illustrated there’s a nice piece at the back of the magazine in which Frank Ronan deliberates over how gardeners plant bulbs:

“As the patterns of autumn bulb planting emerge in our still sparse borders they bring on bouts of neurotic self-criticism. What on earth were we thinking? We were probably thinking of escaping the thickening rain before the onset of pneumonia and more than likely we were panicking because the previous three delves of the trowel had sliced through bulbs planted not ten minutes before, and we possibly had just realised that there was one bag of tulips too many because we had been keen to get over the threshold for free postage.”

All of which is familiar. So . . . this blog may turn into Bulb Watch (like Spring Watch and Autumn Watch) over the next few weeks. I can see you are all gripped with the prospect already.


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Filed under Gardening


The latest 3.0 styling version of Jessie J involves someone raiding BOY London, or maybe they are reintroducing the brand and she is their chosen vehicle. Who knows? At the age of 12 I wanted a BOY cap as worn by Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys more than anything else; I never got one.  Hey ho. For a further examination of the great stylistic and graphic decisions that the Pet Shop Boys have taken through the years please refer to Catalogue.


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Filed under Books, Design, Music

Old auction posters

I bought a box at auction of what is probably politely catalogued as paper ephemera. Some old legal documents and some posters advertising the auction of farmland. I’m in the process of excavating through it and photographing pieces to put on ebay. Nice bits of typography abound.

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Filed under Buildings, Design


My annual marmalade making owes more to the delight in the process than a delight in the final product. I do really like marmalade, but the legion of jars of batches from previous years that lie in my kitchen cupboards point towards less of an overwhelming passion for the stuff rather. It does however allow for year on year comparisons. My recipe is always one cobbled together from various sources, the chief one being the WI preserves book. To some the chopping and slicing of seville orange skin is a chore, I take a zen like pleasure in the repetition, but then again I’m not going for a fine shred. I actually made this batch a fair few weeks ago; giddy with the sight of seville oranges in the grocers. As an aside, if you like the smell of seville oranges then, Bigarade Concentr√©e by Frederic Malle is the scent for you, it’s very fleeting on me but the man in Les Senteurs said that the bitter orange scent would reflect my personality – reader, I took it on the chin. Anyway 3kg of oranges was twice what I needed for marmalade so currently stowed in our cellar is an trial at using the excess to make a seville orange gin – the recipe for that says it needs to be stored for 4 years before being opened, not entirely sure my resolve is that strong.


Filed under Cooking, Food