3 days ago
It is about twelve litres in all and yesterday I decanted the first nettle beer run of the year. The bottles should be ready for Sharestock this weekend but I may well hold back a few for personal use. There is a sweet honeyed taste and I could really get quite into making the stuff. Picking the nettles is a bit of a pain but there is no shortage of them here. And given the price of a pint of normal beer in the Peel of Bells..
8 days ago
I showed you yesterday my growing harvest of crabapples HERE. Hey presto, after a few hours in the kitchen spread over two days, I have six jars of jelly. I might sound conceited here but the colour and texture are absolutely spot on. Next year 12 jars. And now onto the damsons.
10 days ago
It was just over three years ago when I planted the first three crabapple trees at the Welsh Hovel. In year one I harvested half a kilo, in year two it was about one and a half kilos and this year, as you can see below, it was three kilos. It is a real pain stalking and splitting so many hundreds of little apples but its only going to get worse.
38 days ago
One of my jobs last week concerned what was almost the last of the asbestos which was almost everywhere when we arrived four years ago. Buried just underground in the fields, just dumped in the long grass, on sheds, and on the roof of three porches, it was everywhere.
40 days ago
Will this be enough to tempt daughter Olaf to visit her old father this Christmas. Home produced apple vodka is mixed with home grown plums and sugar. Actually one smaller jar contains blackberries picked yesterday by Joshua and me. By bonfire night what was clear liquid will be dark purple and slightly syrupy. The jars are turned now and again to ensure all the sugar – the white stuff at the bottom – is dissolved. So this should be around seven litres of fruit vodka, enough for at least a few breakfasts for Olaf.
47 days ago
The broad bean crop this year was a bit of a disaster and we shall gloss over that. But I have had some success with dwarf French beans which have supplied a few meals and keep on going. They are, as I have explained to Joshua, magic beans. You see them below as picked, a deep purple almost black. But you then boil them and they turn green. Magic. There are about two more meals of beans and then where the plants were growing will be used for another couple of rows of radishes to be ready, pickled, for ShareStock.
55 days ago
This year the raw vodka, made with apples, is home made not bought cheaply from Lidl. It was not meant to be vodka but that is another story. But it tastes like vodka not apples so has been put in jars with sugar and plums picked from the old tree behind where the snake barn used to be. It had a terrible 2022 but this year is dripping with plums which I have handed to my in-laws and neighbours but we are still drowning in them.
58 days ago
Yes size does matter as the photos below show.
59 days ago
I am waiting for the village facebook page to have another two minute hate against me for taking down the 1950s iron shed known as the snake barn. “It was part of my childhood, it’s Welsh cultural history, bloody newcomers, it was so much better with the previous owners, blah, blah, blah.” bleats some in-bred sheep shagger. It is callled the snake barn becuase in it I stored some of the vast amounts of asbestos the previous owners had squirrelled away in the sheds and fields here and I want to keep my kids away from that. But now the barn has gone and that means that you can actually see our gorgeous 1600s listed farmhouse as you walk down the lane to our home.
64 days ago
At the end of our garden there is a wooden fence. Behind that is the old orchard which is far longer than it is wide, 7 or 8 yards from the garden is the river. Alongside the apple trees is a giant weeping willow. Well, as you can see, it is a bit less massive now. I have now idea why two enormous boughs broke and I did not hear any great crash. Presumably the snoring of the Mrs drowned that out. Yesterday, the cats, kids and I inspected the damage. The good news is that my pal Robert was due here next week to take down “the snake barn” and one last shed sited in the fields as we expand the orchard along the river. Robert is just the man to bring a chainsaw and deal with this. At a stroke the winter fuel for the wood burning stove is sorted without Joshua and I needing to do any sawing at all in the wood shed. Every cloud…
68 days ago
Produced last night, these will be for the salads at ShareStock. I need to make at least two more jars of this size for the event plus more for the Autumn and winter family consumption. Hence, I am clearing a bit more of the garden to plant more radishes in a week or so to ensure that happens. The radishes are pickled in a South East Asian sauce including cider vinegar, sugar, a bit of salt and pepper plus mustard seeds and a home grown chilli. Yum, yum.
87 days ago
With all home grown: cherries, black currants, red currants, raspberries, blackberries (okay foraged and frozen), dessert gooseberries and strawberries this was a triumph. Okay the juice missed a bit at the bottom but the sliced bread held and allowed me to turn it out almost perfectly. With lashings of cream it was excellent. The first half was last night, we will polish it off tonight. Yum, yum!
88 days ago
A mixture of sweet and sour cherry trees were among the first things I planted at the Welsh Hovel after clearing the jungle. It was three and a half years ago that I planted eight trees alongside the wall that overlooks the track down to the house. I have added a couple since with fanciful ideas of cherry blossom falling onto the road.
88 days ago
I have moved my place of work to what will one day be a library. It has stacks and stacks of books already but the fireplace needs a bit of work to bring it back to its original 1650s glory, I have one modern bookcase to replace and the room is also home to various bits of clutter which we keep saying we will get rid of/take to Greece/ sell on facebook marketplace. we never do. But its a good room looking out through an enormous sash window to the back garden.
89 days ago
The only cheat is the blackberries which Joshua and I picked last September and froze. Everything else I just picked in the garden this lunchtime: strawberries, three of four very early raspberries (red and golden), dessert gooseberries, red currants and black currants. I shall cook this evening and serve tomorrow night with lashings of cream. Photos will follow. Summer is well and truly here.
94 days ago
My pal Chris came aroud to pick a stack of our glut of strawberries. He, and his daughter, took a trug home with a couple of lettuces after supper but we still have stacks more to pick. Meanwhile on the production line:
95 days ago
You can, of course ,just eat them and this attraction has prompted that rare spectacle, the Mrs and Joshua heading into the garden of their own volition. But faced with a glut, even that is not enough. I pushed a few through the blender to make the first strawberry ice cream of the year on Sunday and it is generally agreed that it was utterly amazing. If I sound conceited, anyone who has tasted my home made ice cream knows that I have every reason to be conceited. What you see below was picked in just 20 minutes by myself with Joshua and Jaya supervising ( i.e. picking to eat).
103 days ago
The first three and a half litres of home made ginger beer should be ready within 24 hours. The ginger beer bug plant is bubbling away and the next batch will be ready for bottling a week today. Meanwhile, the elderflower bush at the top of our upper field by the churchyard is in full flower, flowers we picked on Saturday afternoon.
104 days ago
You may remember that I brought five edible olive trees ( as opposed to olive oil, olive trees) back from Greece in my car last year. I planted them at the top of the top field which goes from the new orchard up to the graveyard. I had feared that a cold Welsh winter had killed them off. But….
107 days ago
As I left the Welsh Hovel this morning I thought that I smelled gas at the top of the street. I thought little of it for an 18 mile training walk was planned and I had left early without any procrastination. I pressed on.
107 days ago
An early childhood memory from Butterwell Farm ,was of hearing a series of loud explosions as one of the bottles of ginger beer my parents were making, exploding and setting off a chain reaction among the other bottles. In those days we only had glass bottles. I have never tried my hand at this before but, with the elderflower champagne and cordial season and nettle beer season now almost upon me, I thought I’d also give it a go. I am now working on my ginger bug plant as you can see below.
152 days ago
I start with the dog shit tales. I end with reflections on this website turning 10, Pirate Pete Landau’s legal threats after 1 week and where he is now and more. In between I look at Ben’s Creek (BEN), the job of a CEO as a promoter, Zephyr Energy (ZPHR), UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) and the fraud Supply@ME Capital (SYME).
175 days ago
I start with a few ramblings on turning the Welsh Hovel into a homestead and an apple I have just eaten. I end with a reminder that 98% of you have yet to donate to Rogue Bloggers for Woodlarks. I am sure that you can each afford a tenner, please do donate HERE. Then I look in detail at Strix (KETL) and explain why Versarien (VRS) really is screwed. Unless you have dealt with banks when running a struggling company – as I have – you just won’t get why. I also look at BSF Enterprises (BSFA), Wishbone Gold (WSBN) and Inland (INL).
211 days ago
The images below should amuse you. Together with the discussions about getting my wife sacked and me killed, Versarien shareholders – egged on by the vile Neill Ricketts – have given it to me in spades over the years. Natch, today is a good day for me. I discuss many lessons learned and where next. 0p. I also look at Okyo Pharma (OKYO) and Kefi Gold & Copper (KEFI).
242 days ago
After last night there is just one butternut squash from the summer left in my larder. But it is large enough to make two soups. The last twenty or so leeks are still left to be picked in my garden.
249 days ago
The pictures below show the elevated lawn and Ha Ha and the fields this morning at the Welsh Hovel. As you can see it snowed last night, there is about half an inch on the ground. And the fields are completely flooded. It is a wonderful view and shows my flood defences holding firm. But it prompts two thoughts.
257 days ago
My fellow harvester T had some doubts as to my method of curing olives but ye of little faith.
262 days ago
Listeners to my bearcasts on Shareprophets know that I am set to plague the press office of United Utilities with obscure enquiries about reservoir levels here in North Wales. Here in the Dee valley the waters are rising as they always do at this time of year and always have done with or without the global warming spoof. The apple orchard in photo one is now underwater but I plugged holes in the small levee last year and so the waters are yet to get to the base of the new elevated lawn and Ha Ha I built. And that structure is holding back the waters in the fields, now all underwater, so protecting the barns. So far so good and according to plan.
306 days ago
I am still using some of the chillies we grew and dried last year, despite giving away pots and pots of them as gifts last Christmas. And this is despite the Mrs and her family using quite a lot of chillies in their cooking and me using a good few in the various stews I make. And guess what: we have had a pretty big harvest this year too.
307 days ago
On Christmas Day we will be hosting my parents in law, my sister in law and her two kids and my daughter’s godmother I who is joining us from New York for what she terms “the holidays” as in “happy holidays”. So that makes ten around the table. The godmother and I shall be doing the cooking.
310 days ago
My son Joshua has now spent well over half of his life in Wales. And, though he was born in England to parents who support Northern Ireland and England respectively, he considers himself a proud Welshman. He leads us as we say grace in Welsh each night and there are more and more Welsh phrases exchanged between him and me as I also start to grapple with the language from hell. Today his school is celebrating the fact that Wales has made it through to the World Cup finals, by everyone wearing red tops.
310 days ago
Ok, there were also some sausages not home produced but elsewhere you see beetroot (still being harvested) which we eat boiled, roast spuds (still being harvbested) and roast butternut squash which I harvested a few weeks ago and which are stored in the larder. I’d happily eat this lot without a meat dish but the Mrs and the kids are very much carnivores.
320 days ago
If I am a bit slow this morning it is because friends C & D led me astray last night after our bonfire party with the home made plum and damson vodka. The whole event went down well with much praise for my portuguese stew, damson and plum vodka crumble and ice cream for the kids and mulled wine and vodkas for ther grown ups. But as but as Joshua and I built the fire with a stack of old 1970s doors that were left lying in a barn, it just tipped it down with rain. He hid in the shed, I laboured on. I rather worried that it would not light.
327 days ago
The thing with dog’s arse fruit, or the Nottingham Medlar, is that you must wait till the fruit are rotting to harvest. That they now are and so as a half term treat, Joshua, myself and Jaya went to harvest the one tree we planted a couple of years ago in the new orchard. It is only about five foot tall so even Jaya could pick the fruit from the lower branches.
341 days ago
Last night it was rhubarb as you can see below. This morning it was a sheet of the last green tomatoes, sliced. Tonight more of the tomatoes. And so it goes on day after day, until there will be nothing left to flash freeze.
346 days ago
It has been a busy year for jams, chutney and relishes and so, as I pot my last jam, I am forced to use recycled Lloyd Grossman sauces jars. It is that time of the year again.
348 days ago
The fried green tomatoes continue to win rave reviews from the Mrs and myself and so we enjoyed another batch yesterday after the arrival of two large bags of “old fashioned cornflour” with a big picture of what used to be known as a Red Indian on the front of each. I suggested that the flour might have been produced by Native Americans but the Mrs, a woman once known as the deluded lefty, gave each bag a dirty look, suggesting that – like the Washington Redskins – a makeover was needed for these enlightened times. I think I shall order some more bags to ensure we have a lifetime’s supply with the current design. Meanwhile, I have more of the green tomato glut to deal with, without resorting to chutney as we already have more than one winter’s supply of apple chutney.
351 days ago
As I waited for the pasteurisation of the juice to complete late last night, I threaded another 60 chillies and hung them up to dry. There are now about 140 threaded, 40 more waiting to be threaded and, I guess, 300 more in the garden turning redder by the day and awaiting harvesting. We are still working our way through last year’s dried chillies so I guess what I am producing now will make even more Christmas presents to go with surplus apple chutney and the usual Greek Hovel olive oil.
351 days ago
The sprawling massd you see before you are the two butternut squash plants I put down earlier this year which seem to have merged into one. Behind them lie half my tmatoes and under the white netting winter cauliflower and cabbages. I hope that the last of the cabbage whites will soon bugger off and I can remove the netting allowing my plants to shoot higher. Underneath the squash foliage I have, so far, found five squashes but there may be more. The first two picked are shown below.
351 days ago
Gettig folks to eat apples here at the Welsh Hovel is something of an ask. Which is an issue as we now have two apple orchards and also a highly productive cooking apple tree. I just hate things going to waste. We are now past the blackberry season so there can be no more blackberry and apple crumbles. Rhubarb and apple? Maybe that will work.
352 days ago
I do not want you thinking that all my tomatoes are green. We have been enjoying tomatoes that are ripe and red and orange (depending on the plant) for five weeks and as you can see in the top photo below have enough to be storing some in Greek Hovel olive oil for use later this autumn. But I would be lying if I did not fess that the 20 or so plants I have grown this year – some from seed others donated as small plants by friends – are not now bursting with green tomatoes. Not more chutney, surely, is there another way?
354 days ago
At last the olive trees I smuggled back from Greece in the bottom of the car, have a new home here in Wales. My friend R whizzed his tractor round the edge of the upper field that borders the churechard two weeks ago. The jury is out on the chestnut and mulberry trees I planted at the far end and bottom last year. There are signs of life but not many. That hot summer when I was away in Greece, so could not water them, may have proved fatal. If so I shall try again next year.
355 days ago
The bottle marked vodka contains, of course, apple juice. Producing at 6 litres a day, I am rapidly running out of glass bottles so if anyone locally has any spare I will happily swap eight empties – which you were going to bin anyway – for one full of apple juice. There is a suggestion that the next batch will be apple and damson juice. It is worth one experimental run.
358 days ago
Both harvests have been good this year. I picked all the peppers, both the soft bell shaped ones and the spicier long green ones, earlier this week. The chilli plants are still turning red so what you see below is just the first crop. There will be a stack more to come and, after last year’s bumper crop we are still working through the dried chillies from 2021. Even an Anglo Indian household like this one cannot keep up with what our gardens supply.
359 days ago
I think that I have one last crop of radishes to harvest in a few weeks but the penultimate crop of the year was a big one.
362 days ago
I start with window activity here at the Welsh Hovel and what it tells you about the economy. Then onto Wildcat (WCAT), Versarien (VRS), Made.com (MADE) and finally a detailed look at Bidstack (BIDS) where you should be short.
363 days ago
There is just so much to do but my target is to harvest at least one crop a day and put it away for winter storage. Tomorrow is the official start of the apple harvest and, having jumped the gun by a week on the crabapples and edibles from the new top orchard I have created, work will, start on the old orchard by the river which is dripping with reddening apples begging to be scratted and crushed into juice. Meanwhile…
367 days ago
It was up by 8. Then myself, neighbour C and two lads from Wexham put up the smaller food and drink tent. By 9 we were working in pitch black by the light of our mobile phones but we were done. However…
369 days ago
The Autumn harvest is now underway at the Welsh Hovel. Yesterday Joshua and I picked about 90 eating apples, mostly a bright red but with a few Golden Delicious, from the top orchard I planted two years ago. All, bar a handful in the fruit bowl, are now wrapped in newspaper in the apple rack for Autumn consumption. We also picked a hefty weigh of crabapples which I shall make into jelly tonight.
373 days ago
Yesterday, as my Oxford contemporaries discovered whether they were moving up or down the slippery pole at Westminster, my five year old son Joshua and I celebrated getting a sex pest suspended from his work, by going blackberry picking. It is horses for courses I guess. But boy was it fun as we discovered two new spots where nobody seems to have been and which were dripping with blackberries. Joshua’s motive is that if we picked enough I could make more cordial which then becomes ice cream. His birthday party looms and he is keen that his friends have his favourite ice cream. Meanwhile…
386 days ago
I am not denying that the fuel crisis will hit a lot of folks hard this winter. If our entire political and media class had not driven this nation down the path prescribed by the uneducated doom goblin Greta Thunberg and had we not prolonged the bloodshed in Ukraine we would not be in this mess. But that is for another day. The GroupThink will – on both counts – be shown to be in the wrong just as they were on masks and lockdown. But will thousands die in unheated homes as we are told by the media and the Labour Party each day? I remember my childhood in the 1970s.
395 days ago
The apples should be falling later but this hot summer means that in the old orchard by the river they are starting to drop already. So they should be almost ripe. If I wait longer more will fall down the sloping banks into the river or just sit on the ground waiting for worms and other bugs. And so Joshua and I gathered a large plastic ball full and did our first press of ther year, aided by our new toy, an apple scratter.
399 days ago
My friend N has lent me her apple picker, a tall pole with a basket at the top. With an apple scratter now bought I will do a small test harvest of apples from the old orchard by the river tomorrow, with a view to pressing some juice. Those apples are starting to drop so some are clearly ripe. Meanwhile I have made a a little something for the Mrs…
399 days ago
We have one damson tree here at the Welsh hovel up in the vegetable patch. It overhangs the road down to the hovel and you know when the fruit are ripe as they spatter onto the road and your car crunches over them as you drive in or out. There was a second tree alongside it but the gales took it and I have planted a cherry tree in its stead. For there is already a second source of damsons. My neighbours have a tree which leans over into our garden so we are allowed to pick its fruit too. Our neighbours are in their nineties and their needs are not that great.
426 days ago
I hear that there was a near biblical deluge yesterday and it looks like there is plenty of rain ahead back at the Welsh hovel. And I have a couple of assistants going in to water both the garden and the big lawn so I hope I shall return to something in good shape. As long promised, here is what I have turned the jungle into. The project is far from finished but its no longer a jungle.
449 days ago
Those attending ShareStock will enjoy a full range of homemade jams, alongside breakfast croissants and tea-time scones. First up is the gooseberry jam, made with dessert gooseberries. There may be another pot to come, but for now, that is it. Next up, blackcurrant and strawberry jams.
449 days ago
Okay, not a cracking yield. When your potatoes start flowering, you should – I am told – take a look beneath the soil. So I did. These are the yields from two plants. It was enough to eat roasted with a chicken, along with homegrown broad beans, courgettes and a lettuce salad. Fear not, if you worry we’ll run out. These are two plants from some 25 in tranche one. Tranche two will be hilled for a second time, and should be ready in August, while Tranche three was planted last week.
450 days ago
Much to my surprise, all 12 tomato seeds have taken. Thus, I worked late into the night on a small patch of the jungle, bringing it into life as a tomato bed. In addition to the ten plants I was given by a friend, I hope to be drowning in tomatoes by autumn. We shall see. It was about nine when I finished. I leant on my rake, pondering the last roped-off patc
451 days ago
I haven’t enjoyed a gooseberry fool since my mother made them, almost fifty years ago. But the dessert gooseberries are now ready, red – not green – and sweeter than ordinary gooseberries. So, I thought I might tempt Joshua, with a bit less sugar than the traditional recipe.
452 days ago
It is all panic here at the Welsh Hovel, as our first Sykes Cottages guests arrive in the annexe. Next week, our first paying guest arrives at the Greek Hovel - which you can rent HERE, although it is pretty much booked out until September. I start with B, and why you need multiple accounts to short; his triumph is on Verditek (VDTK). I then cover Dev Clever (DEV), Tirupati Graphite (TGR), Audioboom (BOOM), Corcel (CRCL) and Argo Blockchain (ARB).
453 days ago
Okay, not entirely homegrown. But a triumph, not least in that Joshua – a picky eater – decided he now loves marrow (aka. a very big courgette, cooked like a marrow, with minced meat and cheese). Then…
458 days ago
There are a few firsts in last night’s produce, all of which came from what was once the jungle, but is now a football pitch-sized vegetable garden.
461 days ago
Yes, I will be wading through nettles, but all for a good cause. To those who have donated, many thanks. With gift aid, as I record, we have now raised £25,600. If you are yet to donate, please help us reach £30,000, by giving a few quid HERE. Talking of nettles, I describe various home-grown triumphs, here at the Welsh Hovel: next week, I hope to make some nettle beer, as well as more elderflower cordial – what do you think? In the main podcast, I discuss discretionary consumer spending; Parsley Box (MEAL); ProCook (PROC); Altyn Gold (ALTN); Optibiotix (OPTI) and a chat with Steve O’Hara, who, of course, you can meet HERE; and AEX Gold (AEXG).
467 days ago
I have happy memories of childhood visits to my father’s parents in Appledore on Romney Marsh. One of thosee was in “helping” grandpa, Sir John Winnifrith, with his garden of which he was immensely proud. Big nets kept the birds away from an incredibly ordered and productive fruit and vegetable patch which he tended carefully keeping the weeds and slugs at bay.
471 days ago
For an all-too-brief period, our elderflower tree bursts into glorious white blooms. Then, they are gone. Making hay while the sun shines, last Sunday, Joshua and I waded through the long grasses. I created enough of a track for him to follow through, with the grass towering over the little fellow. 80 heads were picked, before we headed home.
473 days ago
Just like the Greek Hovel - which, in reality, is a luxury eco-palace (book here) - the Welsh Hovel is not really a hovel, either. It is a listed building that, after three and a half years, is almost entirely renovated. I refer you to the “new” annexe.
475 days ago
I start with my weekend at the Christian retreat. Who would have thought that I’d be spending a Saturday night alcohol-free, sitting around a campfire as folks strummed guitars and sang to Jesus? I reflect on that, and, on the subject of weekend suffering, urge those of you yet to donate: please do so, HERE. Then, I discuss September 10, when I hope you will join me at the Welsh Hovel for an all-day bar, great local food and a day of expert talks. Yes, it is time to book into Sharestock! HERE!
478 days ago
The Mrs is surviving without me and Joshua, and, this morning, encountered the creature below – just a few feet outside the main door. According to her, it was 3-4 inches long. She slid a spade underneath, and flung it away. I might have used the spade to smash it on the head. So, what is it?
497 days ago
The garden I created in the area once known as the jungle sits about 4-6 foot, depending on where you are, above the lane that leads to the Welsh Hovel. You may remember that last year I lined it with lavender bushes. Then came the weeds.
502 days ago
I discuss today’s minor triumph regarding the rule breaking Tory Toff Earl of Shrewsbury and if inflation is not hitting some of us. I look at Vast Resources (VAST) and Avacta (AVCT) but in far more detail Amur Minerals (AMC) and then Argo Blockchain (ARB). There was no Rogue Bloggers for Woodlarks training walk yesterday as I was aching so much from 10 hours gardening on Saturday. Instead I did another eight hours gardening here at the Welsh Hovel. I will post some photos later but I promise you that my body really ached today. Please enjoy my suffering but do not remain among the 97% of listeners yet to donate to this amazing cause, please make a donation – if only a fiver or a tenner – today HERE
505 days ago
We are almost there. As of today, the Greek Hovel is now finished after eight years. We have lived at the Welsh hovel for three years and here too we are getting there as you can see below.
508 days ago
The role of my son and heir who will, I hope, see these trees at their maximum height was to hold the stakes as I whacked them into the ground with my new toy, a fencing rammer. One tree is at the far edge of the upper field next to the graveyard, the other, almost, at the other corner of the field, just above the line of the Ha Ha.I am aware that I need to cut back the grass around the saplings to make sure they grow and that is a job for this week. But two more trees are now planted to delight local innumerate celeb Ms Eleanor Farr.
528 days ago
I start with news of flooding in the farmyard at the Welsh Hovel and end with a reminder of podcasting schedules as I head to the Greek hovel. Then I apologise to Peter Brailey as I cover Simec Atlantic (SAE), Kefi (KEFI), Ince (INCE), Arden (ARDN), Cellular Goods (CBX), Chill Brands (FRAUD), Gatemore fund managers and Sensyne (SENS), Mark Slater and the folly of attempting corporate regime change and Audioboom (BOOM)
528 days ago
I start with a few words on vegetables here at the Welsh hovel. Then onto today’s election in France, and finally, the £16.60 pub burger in Wales: what is happening and what does it all mean?
531 days ago
At the hovel, we are working our way through the last of the winter cabbages. The last four sit waiting to be picked. But now we are onto the 2022 harvest, we have already enjoyed the first crops planted this year, proving one of my doubters wrong!
547 days ago
Reader R and cousin P drool with envy at the size of my wood store currently. Though the wood-burning stove has kept us warm all winter, I have chopped more wood than I have used, and thus the wood store below has, I reckon, enough to see us through to early 2025. That middle section really is four rows deep, and more than five feet high. And the good news…
567 days ago
Having parted company with the chap who managed the garden I am now in sole charge and I know that I shall make blundering errors and will just have to learn from my own mistakes. In fact, as a kind reader pointed out, I made one with my early radish planting, something I have started to correct today.
577 days ago
The flood waters are now more or less static at c9 metres down at the bridge so that is high but not at record levels. Here at the Welsh Hovel the first three photos are from the garden. Inlast year’s record high floods the waters reached right up to the back doorstep. This time they are merely in the bottom reaches of the lawn but they stretch for miles.
578 days ago
Later on I have a few snaps of the River Dee at the Hovel itself but first a few from last night and this morning from the 1300s bridge about 1000 yards downstream over to the infidels in England. First a couple from yesterday looking downstream on the Welsh side.
579 days ago
When stetched out, cat Quincey is really very large indeed. Supplementing his diet with numerous mice, rats and birds he is a true fat cat as I showed you the other day HERE. And that makes his love of trying to get into very small boxes make him look all the more ridiculous as you can see below.
580 days ago
Last night, the remaining squashes stored from the Autumn went into a stew. Today at lunchtime we ate the last of the winter potatoes seasoned with almost the last of my dried herbs, some rather miniscule sprouts from the winter crop and a small cauliflower from the same vintage,all of which you can see below. The last of my stored apples were used to make an apple sauce for a joint of pork.
583 days ago
Rescue cat Quincey is not deterred by the storm that has sent the bedwetters at Wrexham Council into wild panic and has just ventured out for a mouse hunt. He knows that a rising river Dee may flush lunch out of its holes. But still, after such labours he needs a good rest and this was him “in action” last night on a King William sofa from my late father’s house, now lovingly restored. Only the best for Quincey.
585 days ago
Back with Joshua from school I prepared to finish off a long piece on how our Government lies to us via a pliant press. At that point I started to hear a large helicopter hovering overhead. For a minute I thought the cops had taken a lesson from that fascist Trudeau and were coming for me. But no it was a Police helicopter and living here by the river Dee, sadly, I knew what it meant.
585 days ago
There were some who suggested that planting raidishes on the last day of January was doomed to failure. I suggest an apology is in order as the photo below demonstrates. The next line of radishes goes in in two weeks time along with a couple of other early vegetables. Meanwhile I still have some winter sprouts, a cauliflower and a bit of cabbage to harvest. It is a non stop production line here.
591 days ago
Not, I stress, to Darren. I fired him yesterday as I have done about once a week for nine years. But to someone working at the Welsh Hovel. I explain what he does and ask if I should fire him. Answers in the comments section below. My sense is yes and that his behavioiur is down to massive scale money printing and what comes with it. After that I consider the SEC investigation into the bear community then answer your emails on Kefi (KEFI) and what is happening in Ethiopia this very day. Then I look at Bidstack (BIDS) in some detail and finally at Argo Blockchain (ARB).
593 days ago
No doubt yesterday’s small fire will get blasted on the village facebook site since it was in direct view of teenage mutant curtain twitcher Abi Lancelotte. For I am hard at work removing a thick wall of bramble that runs either side of a drainage ditch seperatng oiur top field with the main field. Cutting this tangled mess back with a strimmer is is bloody hard work and I fear that it will take me two or three weeks to get it all sorted.
595 days ago
In the old days when Wales defeated Ireland in the rugby, my late father and I would console ourselves with the phrase “At least Olaf will be happy”. Though she is in Paris at present I am sure that my eldest and fairly thirsty daughter, will need no great persuasion to wander into a pub to cheer on her compatriots in red.
598 days ago
When we arrived here at the Welsh Hovel almost three years ago, our land which runs along the lane down to our farmhouse was known as the jungle. Almost the size of a soccer pitch I only discovered that it contained three asbestos and corrugated iron sheds after about a year so thick were the bushes, trees and undergrowth. Now, of course, it has been turned into an enormous vegetable garden but at the far end there is still work in progress.
601 days ago
As we used lime mortar, the pink stuff between the Sandstone will eventually, it being Wales, dry and turn almost white. What I could really do with is a week long dry spell so that the last puddle disappears from the lawn and we can then level it off, filling in the slight dips that allowed two puddles to form, And then we can level out the barn side bank at the front of this picture with earth lapping round the edge of the steps so that they are invisible from either end and grass over the remain bit of the construction. There are some weeds to remove with poison, a bit of reseeding on the river side of the lawn and we are there. Next up…
601 days ago
Last week, we finished the last jar of 2021 radishes preserved South East Asian style. They were a big hit with the Mrs and myself although Joshua, an increasingly fussy eater, was not so impressed. But it is now almost February so it is time for the first planting of 2022. I am conscious that there may still be a stack of frosts to come, so the one line of radishes is covered with plastic cloches, wide enough for me to add a second protected line in a month’s time, the idea being to harvest throughout the year so we have enough both to eat fresh and to pickle.
601 days ago
As I am on the Lucian Miers diet I cannot drink anything from the two bottles of damson vodka I decanted the other day. But I had a brief break in the diet, as I plan to step up the excercise part of it next week, as you can see below.
602 days ago
The former owners and the ones before that did some crazy things here at the Welsh Hovel. And that included covering two of the entrance walls with thick white paint. Almost three years since we got here it is all gone and has exposed some interesting brickwork.
603 days ago
I start with the dire customer service from Scottish Power which is scamming me here at the Welsh Hovel. What to do? Then I am disppointed that none of you could Sherlock ADM Energy (ADME) and its latest fake sheikh. Then, sorry Gary, back to Advance Energy (ADV) and its history with this fine website as Andalas and as CEB Resources, the pumpers (Zak Mir, flip flop Ben Turney, and Justin the Clown), the villains (Dave Whitby) and the lessons. Finally I explain why those predicting financial armageddon are, all of a sudden so plausible, but are wrong, or at least are over-egging the pudding.
609 days ago
By next week I shall have the finished product to show you but for the past two weeks, we have been making the steps that will lead one to the huge grass lawn ending with a Ha Ha we have built here in Wales.
616 days ago
My friend Paul Nicholson urges us to donate to the anti-suicide charity CALM but I fear that I cannot. It is not that I do not consider the cause worthy. For very obvious reasons I do. It is the CEO salary I cannot accept.
628 days ago
As you may recall my thirsty daughter Olaf has been brought up in Islington and has therefore picked up some freakish liberal traits such as wishing to not only rejoin but to work for the accursed EU, bleating on about polar bears and the global warming cult and being a pescetarian. That means she will not eat meat so for her late Christmas meal with us, I prepared a whole salmon, not hooked in the Dee from our garden but bought in. Starting to fish in the river is a resolution for 2022.
629 days ago
Most of the furthest of our fields is under water for about half the year. A good quarter of the second and largest of our fields is in a similar way. But we were just about able to walk along the edges of both fields between the marsh and the river itself today. The Dee is high, right at the top of the bank on this,the Welsh, side. Over among the infidels on the English side, it has already spread into the fields.
634 days ago
The family of the Mrs are a sober bunch, worryingly so in my view, so made a very limited dent in the hoard of booze we had accumulated ahead of their Christmas visit. Indeed it has,net net, grown thanks to the donations below.
636 days ago
It is all about the children is it not? The day started for me with some writing and vegetable preparation at 5 AM but three hours later Johsua, Jaya and the Mrs were opening bulging stockings, the cats a modest one and myself discovering three pairs of socks in mine.I guess I have been anaughty boy this year, something about heading off to the Greek olive harvest I guess.
639 days ago
Last year the holly tree that sits half way up my vegetable patch overlooking the lane down to the Welsh Hovel was awash with red berries. But this year the birds have had almost the entire lot as you can see below. I have mentioned to the two cats that this is yet another massive failure on their part and that this will be brought up in their annual review.
640 days ago
A reader asks what sits on top of the Christmas tree here in Wales? It is the same as it is every year, as you can see below.
641 days ago
Nope, It is not that obvious. The mother-in-law has not arrived yet. Only kidding. About the only thing I dread about this family Christmas is the penalty I pay for being so goddamn green.
645 days ago
My Christmas presents for those outside the immediate family, friends, relatives and neighbours are a combination of Yarg cheeses, dried chillies and Greek Hovel olive oil. There may be the odd jar of home made jam chucked in to the mix. 17 Cheeses arrived on Wednesday. Four are for personal use as the whole family of the Mrs. will bless us with their presence. The rest, sometimes as halves, are to be dished out.
647 days ago
I got into a cab at 5 AM at the Welsh Hovel not wearing a mask. At Chester train station nobody batted an eyelid. I changed trains at Crewe and again nobody cared. Most folks on the train to Euston were not wearing face nappies. The Heathrow Express is out of action so I took a cab from Euston to Heathrow and wandered into the building still maskless. But then I went to check in a 20kg bag full of books which I am moving to the Greek Hovel.
647 days ago
Every year with every new olive harvester there is, what appears, a ritual. I say “don’t eat any of the small olives we are harvesting for oil.” They then bite into one and say “yuk, that’s revolting.” At which point I remind them of what I said. Another ritual is that I go pick around 45 edible olives and warn them again not to bite into one until they have cured them back in Airstrip One. This time they listen.
650 days ago
On my outward bound journey from theWelsh Hovel I brought 25 kg of books in my hold bag and in my computer bag. It was a bit of a pain. Going back to Airstrip One on Tuesday I shall be carrying 15 kg of Greek Hovel olive oil and …
662 days ago
The five chilli plants brought inside to escape the frost continue to chuck off red, yellow and green chillies all of which are incredibly hot. Ahead of my Greek trip I pick around 100 a day to thread and hang up to dry for putting in jars when I return. One small chilli makes a stew spicey hot and as I expect to have well over 1200 chillies by the time I am done. If you are on my Christmas list you have been warned.
663 days ago
In the end frauds always run out of other people’s cash. It will be the same at Supply@ME Capital (SYME) and today’s Bearcast is a detailed analysis of just how bad its cash position has become. I also comment on ADM Energy (ADME) and wind damage to the slates here at the Welsh Hovel.
667 days ago
The man from the place where I buy all my trees, fruit bushes and seeds for the garden greeted me as Tom today as I walked in with Jayarani, after the young mums group run by my wife’s church, to buy some more blueberry bushes. This is a big advance from knowing me as the chap who lives at a place he still referred to by the name of the old, asbestos dumping,owners. Progress. Yesterday he dropped round a new Christmas tree.
668 days ago
For reasons nobody can establish, our electricity bill is quite enormous: easily larger than our gas and electricity bill back here in Wales, even though the Greek house is smaller than the Welsh hovel and only in use for less than three months a year. But dutifully I pay it off. I reckon Greece needs the cash more than me. Imagine my horror to discover that even though I was paying all bills on time some bastard had cut me off.
668 days ago
The Mrs and I both signed a sober and stern contract with Joshgua’s Ysgol in which, inter alia, we promised to drop him off at between 8.45 and 8.55 every morning except, of course, when the teachers were lying in bed ahead of yet another INSET day. I regret to say that in dropping himoff, one of my delights, I so often break the contract. We really have no excuse living just 500 yards from the school.
671 days ago
As you may have gathered, I have become a bit of a bore on the subject of nature warning us of cold weather ahead and in that vein, I am bracing myself for frost and worse next week. I was working outside for most of the day in preparation for this and while the sky was a clear blue there was a real nip in the air.
672 days ago
In the run up to my next Greek trip, once every few days, I am now decanting various of the fruit gins and vodkas made in late summer. The Mrs and i are still working our way through the plum vodka. Yesterday I decanted the rhubarb and ginger gin.
675 days ago
In the alcove next to the aga, strings of red hot chillies continue to dry. I really am not sure what I shall do with them as I already have more than a year’s supply and there is another batch awaiting stringing and more still to be harvested. But now joining them are a few bunches of rosemary, thyme and lemon thyme, drying ahead of storage. There are other herbs in the two new herb gardens which I will be harvesting to dry and store this weekend. More progress as we prepare for the long winter.
676 days ago
My daughter Jayarani is already one. Her birthday was yesterday, not that she really noticed. So I took biscuits to the young mum’s group but, not being allowed sugar, she had none. In the evening her brother went to somebody else’s birthday party but after that, supper and presents. As you can see below she is modelling one, a Welsh Rugby top
676 days ago
I record from the Welsh Hovel which is once again a building site. Excuse any background noise. I look at Wildcat Petroleum (WCAT) and its uncorrected and untrue 4 October RNS. Then at the fraud Chill Brands (CHLL). In both cases the regulator, the hapless FCA, should be acting right now. Then it is onto Cineworld (CINE) and, with the graphic below – hat tip EB. I explain why its trading statement is so deceptive and why the shares are still a sell. Finally a few words on Optibiotix (OPTI) & Skinbiotherapeutics (SBTX) and today’s confirmation of what a good journalist I am. What does it mean for both stocks?
677 days ago
Notwithstanding the utterly false slur from deluded, Guardian reading, Cambridge academics that Laura Ingalls Wilder is a vile racist whose books should be kept away from young folk, Joshua and I are now onto the fifth of the series, The Long Cold Winter. At chapter five the first blizzard has been survived but nature is warning the Ingalls family that far worse is to come.
681 days ago
At last the minute the Mrs had been waiting for. Two kilner jars of plums drowning in vodka were emptied. The vodka was poured into bottles and the Mrs and I each had a glass, with tonic, last night and the taste was superb. Meanwhile I de-pitted the plums and prepared a crumble which was amazing. You could taste the vodka in the plums and I am now using the recipe the Mrs suggests for a crumble, that is to say including some oats. Seriously…I should turn pro… Next week it will be the turn of the rhubarb and ginger vodka to be decanted and for the fruit to be crumbled..
682 days ago
I am in many ways abandining tradition with this year’s Christmas pudding making. I did, as usual, make three. One for the big day with my in-laws. One for a second meal when Olaf joins us. And a third just in case, or maybe as a present for someone. But I also abandoned older traditions.
683 days ago
Before any of those backers of frauds who troll me report me to the Hedgehog or grass snake protection leagues, I did a thorough inspection of our bonfire to ensure no wildlife was resident in it during the afternoon of November 5th. Loose branches have been accumulating for ages but last week I added some junk from the barns and on Friday all the packaging from the stream of Amazon orders made by the Mrs finally came into use.
683 days ago
After the bonfire party here on Friday some of the grown ups tried a shot of my home made Chillie vodka. The father of Joshua’s pal R managed two but he is Polish so it is in his DNA. The rest of us managed only one glass and, boy, did it need tonic as my home grown chillies are uber powerful. I have now started pacakaging up two shot bottles as Christmas presents for my siblings and, ever thirsty, daughter Olaf in remembrance of my father who appreciated a modest drink or two and loved devilishly hot food. Fear not, better presents will also be given but this is for dad.
689 days ago
It turned out that the bottom of the pumpkin that Joshua and I had bought had, within four days started to rot. I thought of buying another but, being a green sort of chap, I sliced off the offending section and improvised.
689 days ago
Spurred on by the shock admission from the Mrs and Joshua that they really like crabapple jelly with meat, despite streneous protestations to the contrary before they had actually tasted it, I now have a second batch made up. You may remember that I bought two more young trees for the new orchard I have created, a couple of weeks ago.
689 days ago
Actually it is lashing down with rain and the Welsh Hovel is at the end of a badly lit lane so I shall be very surprised if any kids venture down here to say Trick or Treat. But I am ready to say “bugger off” if they do. In the podcast I discuss storms, COP26 and 1987, today’s article on Vast Resources (VAST) and the shock factor of interest rate rises for folks who cannot consider the idea they may happen.
692 days ago
It has been a bumper year for radishes here at the hovel but all good things must come to an end so I picked the last of them at the weekend, freeing up space to complete a new herb bed. The radishes were cleaned, sliced then put into a hot pickle of cider vinegar, sugar, water, mustard seeds, a couple of ground chillies, ground black pepper and some salt. What you see should last up to three months in the fridge and the pickle does taste awesome, if I say so myself.
695 days ago
It being half term, Joshua and I killed time at the local garden scentre buying more gooseberry bushes for reasons I shall explain later and also a pumpkin. He, the Mrs and Jayarani are away with the mother-in-law this weekend but when he returns on Halloween I shall have it carved and a pumpkin soup ready for him. The light is deceptive. It is bright orange. Pumpkin cuisine can wait. Last night was another cooking night, as the family snored and slumbered I stayed up late, turning the last of the windfall cooking apples into jam.
697 days ago
For some reason Quincey has graduated from sleeping in Jayarani’s baby chair and is today taking control of my garden trug which, after bringing in another batch of chillies for threading and drying, sits on the kitchen floor. Maybe, as he approaches his 7th birthday, he is growing up. Whatever, the bigger and friendlier of the two cats is very handsome as you can see below.
697 days ago
Fellow Woodlarks walker Robert tries to shame me with a photo of an impressive woodpile at his place. Now I know that size isn’t everything but after some hard work yesterday which even Joshua got involved with, our bigger logs have been split and the pile here in Wales grows as you can see below.
705 days ago
It has been a bad day at the homestead, the Welsh Hovel, as I explain. I have also had a run in with Shipmans and other staff at “the envy of the fecking world” so am in a bad mood. I discuss Kefi (KEFI) and what is happening in Ethiopia. I know more than all the BB savants but there is only so much that I can say. Then I look at the David Beckham-linked swizzle at Guild ESports (GILD) and, by implication, Cellular Goods (CBX) both of which will end in tears and be posterboys for the bezzles at the fag end of a bull market.
705 days ago
I start with a couple of talks from the Welsh Hovel and what they say about inflation and that almost drove me into buying two stocks for my SIPP. I considered another two but then went for a fifth, an oil and gas play. I explain my thinking behind all. Then I discuss Peter Brailey’s piece on ITM Power (ITM)
705 days ago
The cooking apples keep falling from the tree which sits on the edge of my vegetable garden, the area formerlly known as “the jungle.” There is only so much stewed apple we can make – I still have two large jars in the fridge and you can’t eat apple crumble every day. So last night it was chutney making.
705 days ago
The chilli bushes are still spitting off firey red chillies and so, as you can see below, I am still threading chain after chain to hang up in the kitchen, close to the aga, to dry. And after just over two weeks, the first chilis have dried. I bit one to taste and, gosh, one tiny nibble and my mouth was on fire. Those dried chillies have now been put in an airtight jar where they will last a year.
707 days ago
Joshua and I are now almost at the end of On the Shores of Silver Lake the fourth of the books by the great libertarian author Laura Ingalls Wilder. My old babysitter, DD, is also re-reading the series, just for her own pleasure, and is now a book ahead of us in The Long Winter. She says I must store up well at the Welsh Hovel as tough and cold times lie ahead. However, on that front, today saw a gut-wrenching setback.
710 days ago
Having spotted some blackberries in the churchyard yesterday morning, when the Mrs arrived home to take charge of Jayarani, I headed back through the drizzle with young Joshua to harvest. We discussed the weather in Welsh as walked up the hill. We both know all the key phrases and also “it is sunny” not that we get to use that very often.
711 days ago
Actually, I had not given it much thought which I feel rather ashamed about. I was aware that today was the day but the last 48 hours of childcare have been rather manic and I just want to get to the end of this day without another crisis. My baby daughter Jaya is still not well enough to go to nursery but I was meant to be relieved at one O’Clock today. However..
712 days ago
What with my actual work, childcare, cooking and other matters it was about ten at night before I started to deal with the trug full of spring onions that was the 2021 harvest. The Mrs headed off to bed mutterng dark words about the inevitability of me spreading dirt in the kitchen. I am delighted to say that though dirt was spread, it was all cleaned up and there were no complaints in the morning, on that score at least.
713 days ago
Okay, it would not feed an army but we have, perhaps 60 carrots to keep us going until Christmas. Joshua and I picked the and cut off the green leaves. I wonder if the Mrs, who thinks all food comes from Tesco, knows that carrots have leaves? Now and again I would lift up one which was perfectly shaped and sized and would say to Joshua that “we could sell this to Tesco” but we agreed that we would not do so as Joshua loves carrots.
713 days ago
“I don’t envy you, you have your work cut out” piped up neighbour and fellow Irishman E as I harvested another crop ahead of winter storage. Once again, I said that it was he who had inspired me to create a football pitch sized vegetable patch in what was the jungle, with his warnings of a post Brexit lockdown apocalypse with empty shelves in all the food stores as Christmas loomed. He repeated his dire predictions as I dug up the rest of the spring onions.
713 days ago
Forgive the big thumb in the first photo. I never claimed to be a pro! But at least you get to see Quincey the cat inspecting the farmyard and the progress made.
714 days ago
The small chilli pepper bushes are still going gangbusters, each a small cloud of flame as the little mites turn a bright red. I am now harvesting about 30 a day,and stringing them up to dry next to the Aga. Just one added to a soup really gives it enough of a kick to have the Mrs laughing at her weedy Britisher of a husband. But we have also had a bumper crop of peppers both the normal type you buy in Tesco and finger peppers.
715 days ago
Glamorous great Aunt Anna Lee, the British Bombshell, was in the film, How Green was my valley. Not a lot of people know that. Anyhow, the grass on top of the new earth bank and around the Ha-Ha is now, after two weeks of rain but two days of sunshine really starting to push through. Earlier today there were still two small puddles on top but they willbe gone by tonight so burning hot is the sun here in Wales today. Only kidding.
719 days ago
Joshua and I have just reached the point in “On the Shores of Silver Lake” where the Ingalls family move into the surveyors’ house ahead of a long winter. In the fourth book of the Laura Ingalls Wilder series we see the family in a place already provisioned to the rafters. Heck,they even have coal for the stove. We have no coal for our wood burning stove which could really come into play this winter the way gas prices are heading.
719 days ago
Describing neighbour C as an earth mother is, of course, a compliment. The Mrs knows that I view the idea that food comes from Tesco with true disdain. However, the husband of earth mother C, another C, wandered in the other day and saw four onions on a string in the kitchen and quipped “that’s not much of a decoration.” He touched on a sore nerve as he, generously, dropped off two bottles of his home produced, but pressing outsourced, apple juice. I am the first to admit that not only have I dreaded stringing my onions and my first stab, which C spotted, was no great success. However…
720 days ago
After last night’s triumph with the apple juice from the River orchard, today I picked the rest of the edible apples from the new top orchard. This is only the second year for the trees and they all yielded well and I am sure will do better still next year. However, I reckon that I have room for at least four more trees in the upper orchard and so am minded to buy another three apple trees and one more crabapple tree to assist with polination and to increase the amount of crabapple jelly I produce.
721 days ago
I flagged up the other day that the apple harvest from the old orchard by the River Dee had been piss poor. But still what juice might it produce. As you can see below the press I bought last year was wheeled into action.
722 days ago
I have since added a couple more red hot chillis to these jars of vodka which I have prepared ahead of a promised Christmas visit from thirsty daughter Olaf. The Mrs and I tasted a drop yesterday and they already have an almighty kick. “Good for clearing your sinuses” remarked the Mrs, before adding “Presumably you do add tonic?” I think we will be doing so. as for Olaf, I assume she will be drinking it neat.
723 days ago
I bought myself two early Christmas presents, the first of which is the apple rack below which is now in use, albeit only temporarily.
723 days ago
As you can see below, there are now three strings of chillis hanging up at the Welsh Hovel to dry. The longest of the three was yesterday’s harvest and as each day goes by more chillies turn a fiery red and are ready to pick. I reckon that by mid October I should have as many as three hundred dried chillies in storage jars. And that will last us until next year’s crop is ready.
724 days ago
Drowning in radishes, gherkins and apples here at the Welsh Hovel the three find themselves in a salad almost every day. But still that is not enough to use up everything on offer and so yesterday I tried an experiment. Food should not only taste great but should look gorgeous too. Don’t you agree?
724 days ago
They may be small but they are now turning red and fiery hot. I am advised that if they are strung up to dry for two weeks they can then be stored in a kilner jar so we have use of them right throughout the winter. And thus the first chillies were strung on a line using needle and thread yesterday and now hang in the kitchen in the old fireplace between the old bread oven and where the aga now sits, the place that the Mrs stores her booze. I will thread another line today and if I have time go pick another batch for threading. God willing we should have several hundred chillies drying within the next two weeks.
728 days ago
We use them in soups and salads but still we are drowning in gherkins from the garden. I am not a great pickling man but needs must.
729 days ago
Stringing the harvested garlic and onions is what I was dreading but I took the plunge and did the garlic last night. I followed a “how to” video on the internet from one of those utterly infuriating folks who make it all look so simple. His garlic is so clean, the stalks never break and it all looked so well presented at the end. Mr garlic threading expert: I hate you. Having said all of that, I did follow his instructions and, as you can see, it worked. Triumph!
729 days ago
What you see below is the yield from just one pepper bush and I have six of them in the garden. Plus another six producing normal shaped peppers and six more producing chillies which are now turning red and becoming fiery hot. All are dripping with fruit which we put in salads and stews but just cannot eat all of. I shall be threading my first chain of chillies for drying next week. Peppers, I am told, freeze well without any need for blanching so what you see below is now in a freezer growing fuller by the day.
729 days ago
The birds have reduced the yield on most of the fruit bushes to almost zero this year. Note to self: netting! But the raspberries have escaped. Maybe birds don’t like them. The bushes I planted here are both red and golden so what I collected last night looks splendid and tasted great as well. There should be more next week. It seems odd eating them almost in October but there are no complaints here.
731 days ago
On the side of the new raised lawn and Ha Ha at the Welsh Hovel which faces the River Dee, the grass is now almost three weeks old and the slope looks even greener than when I showed you pictures last week. But now, something of a miracle, that is to say a couple of days of dry weather here in Wales, has allowed us to almost complete the works as you can see below.
731 days ago
Early next week, an early Christmas treat, I bought for myself, arrives here at the Welsh Hovel. My gift is two, four foot long, wooden boxes which I plan to fill with sand in which to store surplus carrots, of which I have many, for winter usage. When the shops run out and you are all starving, bring me your gold and I can supply not only beans but carrots. I should, however, say that my carrots get uglier by the day.
732 days ago
Yes. What you see below really is the 2021 courgette harvest. I have never cooked a courgette of the spherical variety before but I have found a simple recipe so here goes tonight. Courgettes, beans (natch) and carrots in a semi alcoholic honey glaze, all from the garden is the menu. I will explain about the honey, a present from earth mother C and her husband, at a later date.
732 days ago
I already have 25 bags of beans in the freezer and another 4 jars in oil in my larder but yesterday I picked the last of the 2021 harvest, enough to fill half a sink. Now you may laugh but it will be me who laughs last and loudest. Let me explain.
733 days ago
This is the great work which some busybody in the village of Holt reported me to Wrexham council and Natural Resource Wales for creating. Both have now wished me well with my endeavours, praising me for removing so many toxins and for improving the drainage here. This is what my shit of local (Tory) councillor wanted to snoop and spy on but was not brave enough to knock on my front door to be allowed access to the land. And it is almost complete so here is a sneak preview of what used to be rusting barns and piles of abandoned asbestos, tires, barrels of bitumen and other horrors. It is now shaping up to be an object of real beauty.
734 days ago
We have a gherkin with almost every main meal these days. And about half the crop lie unpicked in the vegetable patch. From just a few plants we are drowning in gherkins. I am not the greatest fan of pickled gherkins but the Mrs lived in Sweden so I guess she must have been forced to eat a few. And so tomorrow’s jobs include, naturally, picking and freezing more beans but also picking another stack of gherkins and some serious pickling. Is there no alternative to pickling I wonder?
734 days ago
Having been left to ripen under cloches outside for almost a fortnight, the squashes were brought inside late last week, scrubbed clean and left to dry on the Aga. They now sit in an increasingly crowded cool larder on the top shelf in the dark. One found its way into a stew last week, cut into segments and the flesh was amazingly soft and sweet. This lot should see us through to Christmas.
734 days ago
I have started the carrot harvest and most of what I am digging up are about three inches long. They are, like many folks here in Wales, short, fat and ugly. But unlike Welsh people they taste great. My honey glazed carrots are a favourite of Joshua’s so the menu for the next few weeks should delight the Pest.
736 days ago
It seems it is not just my Irish neighbour B, with his somewhat eccentric conspiracy theories, who is convinced that the food shelves of Britain will be empty by Christmas. The looming panic is across all the newspapers today. Maybe B was ahead of the curve after all? If it is all true, here at the Welsh Hovel we will miss the Christmas Duck if this is the case although, I suppose, I could always try and snare one off the river. Maybe this might be the excuse need to persuade the Mrs to allow me to get a gun. Not only could I shoot a duck for Christmas but I could shoot at anyone trying to steal my food in storage or my winter vegetables in the ground which are flourishing.
736 days ago
On Sunday at his formal 5th birthday party, the Mrs is making the cake. But for this one it was me and it was a superbly soft one layer chocolate cake with milk chocolate butter icing. As you can see the Pest loved it. We all had another slice tday with the cake having spent 24 hours in the fridge and, dare I say it, it was even more amazing. Maybe I should apply to Bake Off as my cakes are even more exceedingly good than those of Mr Kipling.
738 days ago
Joshua turns five tomorrow – exactly 100 days before Christmas day. On Saturday I have some of my family over to remember almost a year since my father died. On Sunday I shall be catering for the Pest’s little chums and their mums.
738 days ago
The mint plants in the herb garden next to the new strawberry patch on badger hill have flourished and ever eager to try new ice cream recipes I set out to make mint cordial and then choc chip mint ice cream.
739 days ago
My father brought me up to call them yellow peas but the very English Mrs says that is just a mock Irish affectation and thus I bring you the first sweetcorn from the Welsh Hovel. Grown in the bit of the former jungle designated as Joshua’s garden we will not have a big crop this year, maybe 12 ears, but it is a proof of concept and we will go for a bigger crop in 2022.
741 days ago
The cooking apples from the tree on the lane down to the Welsh Hovel have been dropping for weeks. But now those edible apples in both the old and new orchards are also ripening fast and thus every few days I find myself making another jar of stewed apples and cinnamon to store in the fridge.
741 days ago
That is to say that they are seizing control of the possessions of baby Jayarani. Today Quincey had taken her high chair as his own while Sian goes for her baby rocker as you can see below. To be fair, when Jayarani cries, Quincey is often the first to rush to her to nuzzle up to her with his mousey breath and comfort her.
742 days ago
My colleague Darren uploaded these photos and reckons what he saw was cherries. Poltroon! Sadly my nine cherry trees are yet to yield much, I have hopes for next year. What you see is from the two crabapple trees in the new orchard I planted in early 2020 and which Joshua and I harvested last week.
742 days ago
I was up at 5 AM working on another series of articles busting the Umuthi fraud and as a distraction I made some damson gin and also used 300 heads that Joshua and I picked yesterday and brewed up another 1.5 litres of lavender cordial which now sits in the fridge. It is great in prosecco or in water for Joshua and it is what i used to make lavender ice cream.
745 days ago
I start with an explanation of why I feel old and of the noises you may hear from the Welsh Hovel as I record. Then I look in detail at IQE (IQE) plus I comment on Verditek (VDTK) and Bidstack (BIDS) and when each will next run out of cash, at MyHealthChecked (MHC) which will not and finally at the disgrace that is Parsley Box (MEAL) at lessons folks should, but will not, learn and at why the shares will still crash even from here, having almost halved since the March 31 IPO.
745 days ago
We have already enjoyed a good few meals of Autumn Squash here at the Welsh Hovel but the plants have a large yield this year and so I have now taken off all of those squashes that had ripened through to orange to try and store them. A few yellower squashes I have left on the plant and we should eat them in the coming weeks.
745 days ago
It is hoped that daughter Olaf, currently spending a term at the Sorbonne in Paris, will honour us with a visit at Christmas and, as you might have gathered, she is a thirsty young lady. As such, I have today been adding to the plum and damson vodka, gently becoming even more fruit flavoured on the larder shelf.
746 days ago
So far I have done the easy bit, the hard yards come in about ten days time. But this is a big harvest. For cultural reasons – the Mrs being of Indian descent – we use quite a bit of garlic and onion in the cooking here and if I have got this right we will not be heading to the shops for supplies all winter.
746 days ago
Yesterday I was reviewing Lucian’s big 5 small cap shorts with the great bear over breakfast. Breakfast BTW was porridge with home made stewed apples (from the Welsh Hovel) in cinnamon. In the podcast I discuss last night’s culinary fare but then probe Lucian on what he sees as critical mid and end points for each of his 5 UK small cap big shorts: Tern (TERN), Versarien (VRS), Chill Brands (CHLL), Supply@ME Capital (SYME) and Eurasia Mining (EUA)
747 days ago
The one hundred lavender bushes that line the approach to the Welsh Hovel are largely decorative. Next year they should be almost three foot tall and I hope even bushier than this year making a real “wall” of colour and smell. But already the smell as you wander past them on the way up to the rhubarb at the top of the garden is strong and wonderful. But the plants have uses too.
754 days ago
So what to do with the other half of the smaller of the two ginormous marrows from Joshua’s garden? My mother-in-law thinks I am joking but the answer is marrow and ginger jam.
755 days ago
I cannot think what possessed a couple of swallows to nest under the eves of the porch. Both cats lie in wait and just now and again as one of the parents or, now flying offspring, swoop in to land, a feline leaps and takes one down. The porch is next to the kitchen where I am typing and have just heard and witnessed another kill for Quincey, the larger male cat. The noise of death and dying was not pleasant.
757 days ago
Half of the smaller of the two ginormous marrows from the garden now sits in the fridge. I hope to make marrow and ginger jam later which should be ready to eat in late November either with bread and butter in the morning or with cheese or to use as a glaze on pork. The other half we ate last night as you can see below.
758 days ago
They climb as high as runner beans, perhaps a little over two yards tall and they look like runner beans except that they are purple. Anyhow, they taste great either raw, in salads, or cooked in which case they turn green. We are eating them about twice a day but I thought I’d stash half a dozen or so meals away for the winter as we go.
758 days ago
What you see below is the smaller of the two marrows produced from the garden at the Welsh Hovel this year. The plan is to make half into stuffed marrow rings tonight but what to do with the rest?
760 days ago
There are two damson trees available to us here. There were three but one at the top end of the vegetable patch just died and it is being chipped to make chippings to go around the fruit bushes with what is left over going onto a Guy Fawkes night bonfire we are starting to build. There is another in the vegetable patch where Joshua and I went collecting yesterday. A third is in our neighbour’s garden but hangs over the fence to our formal lawn so we are – with our neighbour’s agreement – abler to harvest half of it as well.
761 days ago
We all agreed that an Indian recipe i found on the internet was the way forward for dealing with my gherkin glut. Okay there are a few cheats here, notably that I had bartered a few gherkins for a few tomatoes and a cucumber or two grown by the parents of one of Joshua’s friends. But anyway…
761 days ago
I planted 18 pepper, chilli and sweet pepper plants here at the Welsh Hovel and the pepper ones are the most laggardly. The others are dripping with fruit including some devilishly hot chillies. But the first pepper has now been harvested as you can see below.
761 days ago
The first of the two smaller beds at the bottom end of the vegetable patch dubbed “Joshua’s gardens” contains squash, marrows, herbs, lettuces, two chilli plants and a pepper plant. The second is for sweetcorn and gherkins and is now starting to look pretty amazing.
762 days ago
I try to encourage Joshua to get involved with bringing vegetables and fruit in from the garden and storing them up for the winter with tales of how I used to do the same with my father and mother at Butterwell Farm when I was his age. It is a battle to get him involved and ton drag him away from moronic cartoons on the goggle box. Today, so far, I have won. He assisted with the weeding of the part of the vegetable garden where winters and Christmas vegetables are being planted today and where strawberry plants will be transferred shortly. Yesterday he was less help as I brought in an enormous spinach plant which has started sprouting and must have been three foot tall.
764 days ago
The Mrs had taken the kids to Liverpool for the afternoon and thus I was not, as I would normally be, pushed from working at the breakfast table to work in my study. Thus the cats also stayed in the kitchen. At about 3 PM I heard a loud bang from the study.
765 days ago
I discuss two developments at the Welsh Hovel. There is great news HERE but also a bit of a disaster which could have been fatal for the cats and bad for me. Then I look at backing proven failures or chaps who wave red flags mentioning Sensyne (SENS), Nigel Wray, me and a few others. That leads me on to the wall of silence from Central Copper Resources about its AIM IPO and me explaining what is really going on, notably at broker Brandon Hill. Finally I look at today’s news from Skinbiotherapeutics (SBTX) and where, as a result, I expect its shares to be at Christmas.
765 days ago
Twice someone in the village of Holt has snitched on me to the authorities about the dramatic land reclamation underway here at the Welsh Hovel. Removing all that asbestos, old tyres, scrap iron, bitumen and ripping up concrete paving so as to improve flood drainage, and demolishing rusted old lean too barns. Some folks think that spending a five figure sum on this is the act of a total and utter bastard. Well: I do have an English accent. Bring back the good old days when you could bury whatever you wanted on the land while singing Yma O Hyd!
766 days ago
We are getting there! What you can see below has cost a fortune but it will soon be a thing of great beauty and behind it the listed barns are also having a makeover.
766 days ago
Tended by P and watered by God, the garden at the Welsh Hovel has come on by leaps and bounds in my absence. There is so much to photo, eat, preserve, freeze and pickle so where to start? Let’s kick off with one of the two patches known as Joshua’s garden so these are really his vegetables.
766 days ago
P, who has been looking after the gardens here at the Welsh Hovel during my near two month absence, has left them in great shape as photos that will follow over the next few days will show. But he also left a couple of gifts.
766 days ago
Daughter Olaf arrives this afternoon but will be gutted to hear that what sits below will not be ready for two months.
766 days ago
If we had arrived back a week earlier the harvest would have been far larger. The old plum tree at the bottom of the vegetable patch was dripping with plums last year but, this year, most of them have already dripped all the way to the floor and have rotten. But I salvaged a few from there and then had a pleasant surprise.
767 days ago
We drove from Heathrow with only a couple of stops and arrived back at the Welsh Hovel at 3.30 AM Greek Time. We were greeted by the cats for a tearful reunion and then in the kitchen found someone already at the table.
803 days ago
I refer not to the photo but to another matter. The photo is included because it is amazingly sweet. Even a hard-hearted old chap like me can be sentimental.
817 days ago
I still have planning permission to build another house here in Greece on the site of the old ruin halfway along our land. If I have a windfall from something I might just do it although the Mrs thinks I should prioritise works at the Welsh Hovel. She may be right. Meanwhile, the carpenter who has cursed his mother to so many appointments with St Peter has put the final touches to the Greek Hovel. It really is finished.
820 days ago
Fresh strawberry ice cream! Yum, yum. A treat for Joshua’s last night in Wales ahead of our trip to the Greek Hovel and for the Mrs to make up for our absence. With strawberry slices melted into the ice cream, it is awesome, possibly even better than the elderflower cordial ice cream. On the subject of elderflowers, the champagne is now really starting to fizz and woe betide the Mrs if she fails to burp it over the next few days.
822 days ago
The photo is from the weekend. The backpack used to hold Joshua - here he is in it as we climbed up to Zarnata castle overlooking Kambos in Greece. In the heat, that is some climb. Anyhow, now I have eight-month-old Jayarani on my back and as you can see she is gorgeous. Before you say it, she must take after her mum.
822 days ago
I support Northern Ireland so do not give a hoot about the woke prima donnas of the England Football team so as the nation sat glued to the box I carried on working on bringing the lower, old, orchard next to the river back into shape.
827 days ago
Fingers crossed I am off to Greece with Joshua, but not the Mrs, a week tomorrow. And so do I have time to make some elderflower champagne? With a quick recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, I am giving it my best shot.
827 days ago
This time it is rhubarb ice cream using the same amount of cooked rhubarb as the recipe I am given for strawberries and using rhubarb juice for half the suggested amount of milk. So far Joshua has not had a taste, his penultimate Friday ever at his nursery beckoned so no breakfast here. But the Mrs agrees it is fairly magnificent. Ideal for those who want something a bit less sweet than yesterday’s elderflower ice cream.
828 days ago
It is not an attic at all. It is a small room built into the oldest part of the house whose door faces you as you enter the utility room. So it is a larder. The brickwork you see in the second photo is one of the reasons the Welsh Hovel is listed. It is the old brick and oak beam exterior. Sadly this brickwork was repointed with concrete so when one of my ships comes in, at some stage, I shall get that repointed with lime mortar to restore it to its original beauty in full. Anyhow, back to what Joshua calls his attic.
829 days ago
I kid you not. This is the best ice cream I have ever tasted. Substituting home-made elderflower cordial for 5/6 of the milk added to the cream, sugar and vanilla essence I then added in some elderflowers, parted from their stalks by Joshua, and into the ice cream maker it went. In the freezer overnight, what Joshua and I tasted for breakfast was simply divine as you can see below. Perfect for taste and texture with that added crunch from the soft flowers.
830 days ago
It seems that on the other side of the river from the Welsh hovel, the plague – now with a 99.9% survival rate – is again raging among the English infidels. Cheshire East and West, I cannot remember which is which, are now designated zones for surge testing. It is not that they are awash with cases. Whole parishes, including the one on the other side of the Dee where Joshua attends nursery, are deemed white zones, that is to say almost no or no current cases. Incidentally, is that not a bit racist in suggesting white is good and er….
831 days ago
Yes, as you can see below, notwithstanding badgers, slugs and birds, we have our first strawberry from the patch I created on badger hill. I picked it yesterday while weeding and after snapping this photo ate it. It was superb. And there are many, many more coming up just behind. Strawberry ice cream for Joshua and me this weekend!
831 days ago
I have now had a chance to quiz brick pointer Johnny about the snake he spotted here at the Welsh Hovel. Johnny said he had never seen a snake in real life before so, after it hissed at him then slithered away, he gave pursuit. Only after work on Saturday did he go on the internet to find out what sort of snake it was.
832 days ago
I start with a big but false Greek holiday scare and a triumph on the nettle brewing front here at the Welsh hovel, followed by a snake scare at the same place. Then I look at takeovers and why the rabid right-wing press is so wrong to oppose them with an accompanying trip down memory lane with George Orwell and Jim Slater.
832 days ago
Okay it is not anything too extravagant but some jolly decent radishes from Joshua’s part of the garden and some lettuce from my part produce our first 100% homegrown dish. The oil came from the Greek Hovel so the only cheat is a touch of bought vinegar but this is almost self-sufficiency.
833 days ago
Update August 24 2021: I have now been painted as a villain for writing the article below, demonised on my village facebook group. Demonised most unjustly, I should say. That mob attempt to silence someone just telling the truth is written up here.
The most famous person in these parts, apart from my cat who starred on Panorama’s Neil Woodford special and has been receiving fan mail ever since, is Eleanor Farr, aka Miss North West Charity girl. And she wants us all to give money to help her plant trees. Her green shite maths is off this planet.
833 days ago
It is all bottled up now. The smaller bottles are cordial, the beer bottles beer, the glass at the front is beer. Joshua and I have both sampled the cordial, diluted with water, and it is pretty good. Meanwhile, the beer is fizzy and like a sour and yeasty lager. The cost of making all that lies in front of you is under a quid and the cordial will keep us going for months. What you see is minus two bottles of each which I handed to neighbours today on my way to pick up elderflowers which will soon become cordial, champagne and ice cream. Watch this space.
836 days ago
Jayarani does not yet get a vote so this was a 2-1 split: should we get an ice-cream maker? But the Mrs was so vehement in her opposition that her vote almost counted twice. I say almost..
836 days ago
Okay you may say this is just one small radish. Maybe. Actually it is of a decent size, close to an inch, but it is the first fruit from the new large vegetable garden here at the hovel. This is from one of the two Joshua gardens which my son and I water together, along with the rest of the vegetables, the lavender, the new orchard, herbs, strawberries etc, at the end of each day. And the radish tastes great. This weekend we will enjoy the first radish/lettuce salad from the garden.
840 days ago
The couple who run the Greek/South African restaurant here had another present for me today but there was so much of it I was told that Joshua and I would need to collect it in a wheelbarrow.
840 days ago
An early memory from childhood at Butterwell Farm is of the glass bottles in which mum and dad stored the ginger beer and elderflower champagne they made, exploding and then setting off a chain reaction of explosions. The IRA could not have organised it better. And thus the nettle bear I made is stored in plastic bottles which should not explode and which I am now “burping” once a day, that is to say letting the air out and the beer fizz. And boy is it fizzing. In a week’s time, the beer, currently sitting next to a piggy bank in the larder, will be ready to drink and will be decanted into glass bottles and stored in the fridge. I have already promised to bring a glass up to neighbour D, to the chap repointing our barns and to the couple who run the village’s Greek South African restaurant. After all, they had a special present for me today.
841 days ago
Despite Joshua claiming to be an enthusiastic assistant, there were no volunteers to join me on this job, both my son and the Mrs citing a fear of being stung. I was not stung. There is no shortage of nettles here at the hovel and, wearing gloves, I cut the tops few inches from a swathe of them by the riverbank, collecting a basket full and then washing them.
842 days ago
The area that was once the jungle runs about 60 yards from the back of the snake barn (a huge, green, iron shed whose days are numbered) gently uphill alongside the lane down to the Welsh Hovel. It is about 30 yards wide. And it is now really starting to take shape as you can see below. We start at the bottom, behind the snake barn looking up what is a gradual slope. The biggest tree, about half of the way up, is a pear tree. On this side of it, the only things planted right now on the main patch are 15 chilli, hot pepper and sweet pepper plants in a row next to the cloches which have only just come off.
843 days ago
When we arrived here two years ago, the grass, ferns and nettles were more than six foot high in bits of the small field above the barns. You could not see the gate fence and chicken shed at the end of the field which separated it from our upper meadow which goes all the way to the churchyard. The glass-filled ruins of an ancient shed just before the chicken shed were hidden from view. I had no idea it existed. What a difference two years makes. This is the field onto which five of our neighbours must look at from their houses and it was one of them who made my week by saying thank you a couple of days ago. So what does it look like now?
844 days ago
Joshua and I were discussing elderflower cordial and champagne and so decided to wander to the elderflower bush at the top end of the upper field here at the Welsh Hovel, next to the graveyard. Gosh, the recent rains have seen everything sprouting ahead. I shall take some pictures of the gardens here tonight as I water them as they are starting to look mighty impressive.
854 days ago
The main, listed, barns at the Welsh hovel form an enormous upside down L covering two sides of the farmyard. The house is on a third side and at the bottom is a separate barn and a garage and behind them the old apple orchard and then the river. The main barns have all been re-slated and now work starts on repointing them and also the house. That work started today and will last for at least a month and a half. We start with the one storey barns at the top of the L and at the start of its spine. These will be the chicken and goat sheds at some point and do not actually need much internal work at all.
855 days ago
Oh dear. What have I been accused of now? All is revealed in the photos below. I end by thanking you all as we are now at nearly £40,000 for Rogue Bloggers for Woodlarks. Thanks to all who have donated. To those still to chip in, as we are just c£8,000 short, please do so HERE. Sunday’s training walk will be the most grim yet. In the podcast, I look at Amigo (AMGO), Evil Knievil’s “scum” comment, Hurricane Energy (HUR), Skinbiotherapeutics (SBTX) and Novacyt (NCYT).
855 days ago
I start with good news on Rogue Bloggers for Woodlarks - see for yourself HERE. Then a few words about incredibly exciting work today at the Welsh Hovel. Then onto bitcoin, China and Argo Blockchain (ARB), which links to Zoetic (ZOE) which really is starting to collapse. Then onto the arrogance of the City, Neil Woodford, Andrew Monk and Hurricane Energy (HUR).
856 days ago
The other side of the barns is the farmyard, this side is the Ha Ha side. When we arrived, along the whole of this side were metal and asbestos sheds in a fairly dangerous state of collapse, built on hideous concrete slabs of various colours. They are all gone but some of the barns were still dressed in thick paint as you can see below. But now they are not. There is still some paint dust on the walls but a good day of Welsh rain will see to that. The next step is repointing and brick repair, new guttering, windows and doors and we are there…
857 days ago
On one side of the farmyard at the Welsh Hovel lies a scrap metal skip, full to the top with more than three tonnes of iron. On the other side is the pile of sandstone blocks pictured below, many already hewn into shape. All were retrieved from the nettle and bramble covered large earth mounds that once separated our fields from the paddock where we have created the mound which will end with a Ha Ha. Suffice to say, we also removed vast amounts of plastic, tyres, asbestos and other horrors for safe and legal removal.
857 days ago
It is not exactly by popular demand but this series has a cult following who wish to see more obscure titles assembled as I sort forty cases of books belonging to my late father. The first three in the series are HERE but this set is, arguably, the best yet in its diversity.
863 days ago
As you can see below, there is another chance for teenage mutant curtain twitcher Abi Lancellotte to get into a frightful tizzy as we burn off more brushwood from the top of man-made scrap mounds here at the Welsh Hovel. What you can also see is just how much awful junk we have removed from those man-made mounds at the edge of the field which we are now clearing. The earth goes onto the flood defence which will end with a Ha ha and another skip has arrived to remove another three tonnes of scrap metal which we have found buried here, including old farm machinery, stacks of barbed wire and other horrors. We have also taken out hundreds of sandstone blocks which will now be going into the Ha Ha wall making it a thing of real beauty. “FECKING Incomers….
Digging up things of beauty we’d buried and showing them off, removing legally and safely and at great cost tonnes of scrap iron, glass, asbestos and plastic we had buried and those vats of bitumen and tyres we had discarded. Fecking incomers. They just do not understand what it is to be Welsh. Feckers.”
870 days ago
Thanks to one of the daft in-bred snitches here in Holt, the last village in Wales, folks like teenmage mutant curtain twitcher Abi Lancelotte, at some stage some pen pushing jobsworth from Natural Resource Wales will be visiting us here at the Welsh Hovel. Pictured below is the work underway and what he or she will find. I make no apologies if the pen pusher is one of the other 108 genders and is offended by being referred to only as he or she.
874 days ago
I was only joking when I suggested that someone here in the last village in Wales, snitch-on-Dee would report me for having a bonfire. But hey ho..meet Abi Lancelotte, the teenage curtain twitcher.
875 days ago
Am I becoming paranoid or is this my way of coping with the snitch culture in Holt near Wrexham? Anyhow, today, having checked the wind direction to ensure that any smoke headed to the open fields on the other side of the river Dee in England not towards any twitching curtains here in the rain sodden, second world, post industrial principality, we set off a big bonfire at the end of the large Ha Ha and flood defence being constructed.
876 days ago
Last time some small-minded little imbecile in this village, with time on their hands and a malice, almost certainly generated by generations of in-breeding, decided to meddle in my life it was by reporting me to the Council. I sent Wrexham Council packing as I demonstrated the amazing works we are undertaking here at the Welsh Hovel. So some other inbred local has now reported me to Natural Resources Wales.
880 days ago
As ever, my training walks for Rogue Bloggers for Woodlarks start the same way. I am aware that the actual walk is now just five weeks away and it will be a gruelling 34 miles with a 6 AM kick off at Winchester Cathedral. But I must finish the walk and ensure my fellow rogue bloggers finish too. Woodlarks urgently needs us to raise £50,000 to ensure its survival and so please do donate HERE.
886 days ago
The concrete bases, where asbestos clad sheds once stood in the area formerly known as the jungle, have now been ripped up with the concrete lying at the bottom of what will be the Ha Ha. And with big planks salvaged from inside the big green barn, the snake barn, which – pro tem – stops one seeing the house from the garden, two small vegetable patches have been created. Yesterday, being a non nursery day for Joshua, we went gardening.
887 days ago
I have no idea what this object is or when it was made but it emerged from the work in the fields here at the Welsh Hovel today. It is made of sandstone and looks like a bowl of some sort – it is clearly man made. There are three holes manually drilled in its base but they may not have been drilled when the original bowl was made. It is about seven inches in diameter.
894 days ago
“I am here from the Council” said the young lady wearing fishnet stockings and a short skirt. “Hello…Oh yes” said I in my best Leslie Phillips accent, wondering why she wanted to see me. The awful truth is that someone here in the last village in Wales, has snitched to the planning department about lorry loads of rubble and earth coming down the lane to the Welsh Hovel, suggesting I may be threatening the flood plain. And so, I was honoured with a site visit.
896 days ago
I refer to the painting of a window at the Welsh Hovel which occurred as I was out doing a 16 mile Woodlarks training walk. I am utterly livid so please give a few quid to Woodlarks HERE, as you consider both my anger and my sore feet. In this podcast I look at professional media tarts like Peter Hargreaves bleating on about retail punters being mugged on the Deliveroo (ROO) float. Then at signs of the bubble of everything this time in relation to residential housing.
896 days ago
It has been two or three weeks since I showed you the before shots on the massive works underway behind the barns which form the farmyard behind the Welsh Hovel. As you can see below, we have made real progress.
896 days ago
The painter returned this morning with a pot of Oxford Blue paint to cover up the Shoreditch gay bar purple with which he had decorated the kitchen window of this listed building on Easter Sunday. As you can see below, it now looks splendid. Keen observers will note two other things…
897 days ago
This is the horror that awaited me as I returned to the Welsh Hovel from a 16 mile training walk for Woodlarks last Sunday. The Mrs had ordered that the window be pained Tollar Royal which is a blue with a purple tinge. Rather than order the paint requested, the painter went to a shop selling that paint and mixed his own which is, as you can see, not blue at all. And apparently when he asked the Mrs how it looked she just said okay, not daring to say, as I would have done, “fucking ghastly”. So now this listed building has the sort of window you’d see on a Shoreditch gay bar. Suffice to say, I was not best pleased as I explained the situation to the painter’s boss.
902 days ago
As I continue to work on reclaiming the fields around the Welsh Hovel, the list of buried horrors grows. I have already spent almost £5,000 clearing this place of asbestos in barns, in sheds and where I have found it buried by the previous owner in various places. I am almost there. But now to the tyres and to the folly of Wrexham Council and every other local authority in Britain.
907 days ago
I start with news at the Welsh Hovel notably on the Ha Ha. More photos on a range of developments later. Then I have a quiz question for you before going onto detailed discussions on: Conduity Capital (CCAP) which I mistakenly call Continuity Capital throughout, St James House (SJH), Wildcat Petroleum (WCAT) and Verditek (VDTK) with an explicit come clean challenge for another fine upstanding ex Tory MP.
908 days ago
A newspaper drops into the letterbox here at the Welsh Hovel, the last house before you hit the river which separates us from the infidels in England. If you start at the back, the paper is in Welsh, at the front it is in English. It is the election newspaper from the cottage burners of Plaid Cymru urging me to back its candidate for the Senedd on May 6. Of course I shall do that for reasons I explained here but if I was starting to waver…
916 days ago
Last night, I discovered two more boxes still unopened since our move to the Welsh Hovel two years ago. Within them, there is an old photo of the rev David Cochrane, my great great grandfather, looking very dour and stern as one would expect of a respectable cleric from Donegal. There was also a copy of The History of the Royal Military Canal by my Grandfather Sir John Winnifrith, signed and addressed with love to me. I tried to say how interesting that is as subject but the Mrs was not entirely convinced. I shall try again tonight, it is bound to put her into a good mood before bedtime.
917 days ago
This is a cupboard in the largest bedroom at the Welsh Hovel. The original fireplace to its right was covered up when we arrived but is now rediscovered. And what is behind that cupboard was at one time a window. But then along came Good King Billy and the Window Tax of 1696. So you can still see the window on the outside but it is bricked up and has been for 325 years. On the inside, there is thus a window-sized cupboard, an ideal place for a cat.
925 days ago
I thought that Robert and his team, who do the big jobs on the land here at the Welsh Hovel, would laugh at my idea of creating a huge lawn and Ha Ha. But I had been kept awake at night working out in my head how it could be done. And to my surprise they did not laugh. It was viewed as creative. Objection after objection of logistic issues were raised but each one was dealt with so we will go ahead. You may ask what is a Ha Ha? The Mrs did.
928 days ago
Okay it is a small patch but it is a start. What was the jungle now has its first vegetables. And for the avoidance of doubt, once again my role was not managerial but as a co-labourer. The rows are about five yards long and contain runner beans, broad beans, peas and mange tout.
928 days ago
A few folks asked how we could be enjoying rhubarb already here at the Welsh Hovel. The answer is in the top photo below; each of the eight plants is covered with a pot which seems to be accelerating growth. Don’t ask me to explain but it works. The tree in the middle of the rhubarb is, incidentally, one of the eight cherry trees I planted in December 2019 and it looks all set to blossom and deliver fruit quite magnificently this year. But it is not just the rhubarb which, after some persuasion, even four-year-old Joshua decided he liked.
928 days ago
The ground is uneven in the new orchard I am creating at the Welsh Hovel. You may remember that two years ago this was a field with grass, ferns and nettles growing six foot tall. If you stood where the photo below was taken, you could not see the gate, fence and chicken shed which stood at the end of this field less than 80 yards away. So we will never have a smooth lawn for croquet, even if the accursed badgers were persuaded to bugger off.
929 days ago
It is only March but we have the first harvest from the newly created gardens at the Welsh Hovel – a small bunch of rhubarb. There is more to come. Today sees the planting of beans, peas and potatoes. Yesterday it was (indoors) chillis and peppers. More photos later.
931 days ago
There was a lot of excitement today at the Welsh Hovel with moving compost pits. More on that gripping subject later. I then look at Hurricane Energy (HUR), Cellular Goods (CBX), Coral Products (CRU) – once again as a value buy, Wildcat (WCAT) and the Zoetic (ZOE) linked harassment of myself and Peter Brailey.
936 days ago
Some folks accuse me of being a pirate. Au contraire I am quite the law abiding citzen these days except when it comes to daft covid lockdown rules. But there is a pirate at the Welsh Hovel on the banks of the River Dee, one who – like all good pirates – wears Paw Patrol socks and a dinosaur top.
937 days ago
As you can see below, the work that started yesterday is done, the ghastly asbestos shed is no more. You now have a clear view all the way up the vegetable garden, what was the jungle, with this horror removed.
937 days ago
The workers arrived at 7 and the skip shortly afterwards with the first project the removal of the asbestos shed at the bottom of the vegetable garden, the area formerly known as the jungle. Notwithstanding my work into the early hours on family papers, I’d set an alarm and was there at the outset to make coffee for all.
940 days ago
Enough is enough. It is time to clear this place of asbestos. I have got a quote and a reputable firm and this weekend it is, nearly, all going. The red-flagged sites are below.
948 days ago
I do not hide my view of badgers. If you are reading this in some big city, you probably think of them as loveable fury little creatures just like Foxy Woxy. I view them as aggressive vermin just like Foxy Woxy. Badgers eat hedgehogs, animals I rather like. They dig up the graveyard at the end of my fields where one day I shall be buried. They are not after the bodies, just the worms, and that also sees them digging up my lawn and those of all my neighbours. They have a go at my strawberry patch which is adjacent to their sett here at the Welsh Hovel. I loathe badgers.
950 days ago
I start with the nudes and other discoveries as I embark on the last lap of unpacking here at the Welsh Hovel, as described here. Then, in some detail on each, it is onto – in increasing order of naughtiness – Manolete (MANO), Eden Research (EDEN) and Zoetic International (ZOE) which I now conclude is a zero after today’s dossier.
954 days ago
We moved to the Welsh Hovel 21 months ago and still we have some things in cardboard packing boxes. Not a lot but enough. But as rooms are renovated, one by one, and furniture is added, gradually those boxes can be unpacked. In a month or so I shall also be picking up more furniture from my late father’s house in Shipston including two more Victorian bookcases and so this week I have been going through those cardboard boxes.
955 days ago
At the back of the area once known as the jungle, there is a wooden fence along which I planted a row of fruit bushes last year. Starting with raspberries at the top, there are also gooseberries, blueberries and blackcurrants. With the exception of one raspberry, all have survived the winter so far and are thriving as you can see below. The plan?
957 days ago
Within 48 hours of placing an order with Amazon, my new toy had arrived. I have one just like it at the Greek Hovel but it was needed for a specific task, the long term plan to dismantle the hideous shed, made in good part from asbestos, at the edge of the area formerly known as the jungle. I set to work at once.
958 days ago
This patch is the far end of the area formerly known as the jungle. Behind the wall is the lane down to the hovel and on the opposite side of it is the only other chap in the village who is cursing the defeat of Ireland by Wales today. Eight rhubarb plants went in last year and eight have emerged this year. They are now all covered with pots which, I am told, gets them shooting ahead faster. Round the edge are the surplus lavender plants from the lavender hedge we are creating, and in the middle one of the cherry trees planted 14 months ago along the edge of the garden and which is coming along very well indeed. So I hope for another bumper rhubarb harvest to make rhubarb gin for the Mrs, rhubarb crumble for Joshua and er…what else do you make with rhubarb?
960 days ago
When we first arrived at the Welsh Hovel, you could barely see this shed which was buried amid foliage at the near end of what was known as the jungle. Today you can see it in its full horror and it is pretty ghastly, is it not?
960 days ago
There has been great progress on all fronts and, this year, I hope for an abundance of apples, pears, plums, damsons, cooking apples, crab apples, raspberries, blueberries, rhubarb and more and there are photo updates on all to come. But I start with the strawberries.
962 days ago
Thank you Brokerman Dan for supportive words, you are always welcome at the Welsh Hovel and indeed my son often asks when you are coming again. But when a self confessed ex con pisses on folks, like certain shareholders in Supply@ME Capital (SYME) and Zoetic (ZOE) from the moral high ground, you know such folks dwell in the moral sewers. I discuss the reaction to today’s Zoetic bombshell and what happens next. I also look at Big Dish (DISH), Agronomics (ANIC), Dev Clever (DEV), Bidstack (BIDS) and Verditek (VDTK) speculating on the bailout placing prices at 2 of those 5. Then I discuss Bacanora Lithium (BCN) where I might be tempted to have a punt.
965 days ago
While the Mrs enjoyed a late morning snooze, something that as a public sector worker she is well accustomed to, Joshua and I went walking along the River Dee where, as you can see below, the waters are rising again. The walk we did a week ago on the English side is now impossible due to flooding.
966 days ago
In the background you can see Paul, my er… colleague in gardening enterprises here at the Welsh Hovel heading off with the Lady of the Manor to inspect the herb garden. In the foreground is the latest addition to the new orchard, the Nottingham Merdlar, a tree that produces “dog’s arse fruit” as I noted here.
967 days ago
This part of the lands here is at the edge of the new orchard on the inner upper field. When we arrived just under two years ago, this field was under six foot high in grass, nettles and ferns. You could not see the gate and fence at the end of it, nor a chicken shed and small asbestos shed all of which have now been removed.
967 days ago
I have moved from a managerial position to that of an honest peasant labourer in the gardens of the Welsh Hovel, the area formerly known as the jungle, which runs along the lane from the Hovel up to the centre of the village. We started with the planting of 100 lavender plants to create a wall alongside that lane. Spurred on by a discussion earlier about how I had once eaten lavender ice cream, Joshua felt motivated to join myself and my colleague Paul and, as a bonus, he brought the lady who looks after him two afternoons a week who, it turns out, has green fingers.
968 days ago
I describe how my role in the garden at the Welsh Hovel moved from a purely managerial one today so our resident Euro loon really can’t out working class me today. Only kidding Jonathan, I know you really are an oik. In the main podcast I look at Supply@ME Capital (SYME), Greatland Gold (GGP) – great grades shame about the sleazy option news Mr Alex Borelli – Wishbone Gold (WSBN), Eurasia Mining (EUA) and car crash in waiting Zoetic (ZOE). I also look again at Gamestop and who really areb the good and bad guys. There are a lot of financially illiterate commentators talking bollocks on this matter.
969 days ago
In case you missed it, today is the 76th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and thus it is Holocaust Memorial Day. At 8 PM tonight we will light a candle at the Welsh Hovel as I hope that you all will wherever you are. It is important that we remind the younger generation of the sheer horrors of what went on, so that man’s inhumanity to man cannot be expressed in such a vile way again. The problem is that people are forgetting or perhaps just don’t know at all.
971 days ago
Behind a hut made largely of asbestos, which when we arrived was almost invisible as it was surrounded by the jungle, is my new pride and joy. Yes, it is my very own compost heap! Exciting or what? I can’t wait to tell daughter Olaf, I bet she will be thrilled. The Mrs, a townie who does not know anything about gardens, now understands about separating waste and I only have to remove the odd bit of plastic from what she dumps there. When the weather improves, there are a stack of rotten apples and some leaves from the formal lawn to go in.
971 days ago
Today’s arrival is a new addition to the new orchard, that is to say a Nottingham Medlar or Dog’s Arse, or Open Arse fruit tree. These were apparently popular with both the Greeks and Romans and again in Victorian times and what follows may disgust you and explain why they are now rather rare.
972 days ago
If you were to stick to the banks of the river Dee, I guess the castle is only c300 yards away. But that is not possible – one has to head up the lane and then down another, rather muddy, path to reach the ruin of what was once a great fortress. The stones from here were bought by the Duke of Westminster to build his pile down the road in the 1670s, the fortress itself having been largely destroyed after a Civil war siege. Almost certainly, stones from the castle were also used in building the Welsh Hovel.
972 days ago
It snowed overnight and well into the morning here at the Hovel and thus even the public sector worker, the Mrs, was stirred to get out of bed reasonably early for, as you can see below, a game of snowballs. Yes she is carrying a baby while pelting Joshua. Then, for Joshua, it was sledging on the top meadow. Though not deep, the snow was good enough to allow the pest a good few long slides but not to go as far as the floods which still cover the near part of the bottom fields as well as the fields on the other side of the river in England.
973 days ago
As you know, we have had a spot of flooding here at the Welsh Hovel. In fact so much that we are on page 33 of today’s Mail. I stress that I do not read that frightful rag but my neighbour did and, so that you do not need to hold your nose, I bring you the dramatic picture below.
974 days ago
I think they could easily treble within 18 months and still be cheap. You need to listen to the bearcast to see what they are. I have published an update on the flooding at the Welsh Hovel HERE I comment on Anglesey Mining (AYM) and 88 Energy (88E) neither of which any sane man would wish to own.
975 days ago
The first call was mid-morning. On that occasion it was two young WPCs. If one was a filthy old man with a thing about uniforms it would have been a bit of a treat but my initial concern was that someone had read my writings about my crime family flouting daft lockdown laws on my birthday and snitched. Oh no. It was about the floods – the two young ladies just asked if there was anything they could do for me. Well since you mention it officers…
975 days ago
Before tedious, Guardian-reading loons yak on about how global warming, sorry climate change, is not the precursor to widespread droughts in Britain – as we were told up until c 2010 – but now causes floods, I offer a few facts. The river Dee, as I write, is 9.624 metres deep here which is the highest since October 2000 (9.36 metres). But it is less deep and the area less flooded than in 1949 before all that global warming nonsense was invented. Rivers flood from time to time, get over it. Having said all of that, this flood is a pain as you can see below.
975 days ago
I woke up to find that we have severe floods here on the River Dee. By 9 AM, the waters at the nearest measuring station to the Welsh Hovel had burst through the 21st Century record (from 2000) which was 9m 36 cm. Right now the depth is 9 metres 61.8 cm and rising. Later on, I shall show you life at the hovel, for now here is what I encountered as I tried to drive Joshua to nursery in England earlier.
975 days ago
My joy this morning is somewhat tempered by the fact that the River Dee which flows past the Welsh hovel in which I live, is at its highest level this century and I have wasted much time putting sandbags by the doors at the river end of the house. Fingers are crossed as, right now, the waters have just reached door level. Notwithstanding that, it is ouzo on cornflakes time, as shares in con Supply@ME Capital have been suspended at my instigation, albeit two days too late.
975 days ago
As he sits fishing through a hole cut into the ice covering the river in front of his house in Canada, my colleague Darren Atwater describes what you see below as just “weather”. He forgets the thrill that we folks in the Old Country feel when we get the slightest sign of snow falling. So it was as I was putting Joshua to bed…
976 days ago
It seems that one reader reckons that the lavender which arrived yesterday will be drowned by the River Dee rising as a result of man-made global warming. The water from the Dee came within one inch of the bottom of the back step of the part of the house nearest the river in 2000 at its all-time record high and in 2020. At that point, the river was, in the middle, 29 foot deep. I reckon that to reach the first lavender plant it would have to climb another 15 foot meaning that most of the house would also be underwater as would many others in the village and half of Chester and Wrexham.
977 days ago
We have now lived at the Welsh Hovel for almost 21 months and as we renovate it, still there are packing boxes either unopened or only partly opened all over the shop. Some of those boxes include items I had kept in storage since 2012 and had quite forgotten that I ever owned.
977 days ago
Day by day we make a little bit more progress. In the house, the upper landing and the smallest bedroom, the box room, is – as of today – lime plastered. Now it needs a lick of paint, some pictures hung and we have another room for guests. Meanwhile, for the gardens, my lavender has arrived as you can see below. 100 plants.
980 days ago
Just a couple of snaps from the top inner field where I created the strawberry patch but also planted a second orchard – the first being apple only and down by the river. The trees are a mixture of apples, crab apples, pears, plums and two small fig trees. I have ordered another tree – a rare species but one native to Britain. More on that later when it arrives in the next week or two.
982 days ago
If I tried to explain my pride at what you see below to daughter Olaf she would just roll her eyes with that “daddy you are so old and boring“ look. So, dear readers, humour me and share my pleasure at what you see below.
982 days ago
When we arrived, this was a galley kitchen 1970s style with a nice asbestos roof cladding. It can be so much better as its back wall is the old brick and timber external wall from the oldest part of the house. It just needed a stack of work. This room adjoins the 1600s kitchen when renovation work is almost complete.
986 days ago
I risked an entanglement with Covid lockdown zealots of the North Wales Police today, crossing the bordcer into the land of the infidel, that is to say to visit Oswestry in England. My aim was to pick up a birthday present for myself. My teenage, for a few months more, daughter Olaf thinks I am becoming a boring old man as I should be celebrating the great day at an underground gay bar in Shoreditch like all her fellow Islingtonians. Whatever…
988 days ago
Someone asked what the big box under the Christmas tree was. It was a sledge for 4-year-old Joshua and so I had hoped for a morning like today when we woke up to snow. It was not thick, perhaps half an inch, but that was enough for the boy to comment on his own footprints as he walked across the farmyard and for a quick exchange of snowballs. Then for sledging which, on your own land, is still not illegal in Wales although that may change.
988 days ago
Following on from the Life Imitates arts series at Christmas, the Mrs has tidied away all cardboard boxes, plastic bags and workers’ dust sheets, leaving sleeping spaces for our Northern cats, Sian and Quincey, severely restricted. But these Scousers are a resourceful lot…
989 days ago
It was January 5 and a notice came up on Facebook. And so I remembered. It would have been the 20th Birthday of my morbidly obese three-legged cat Oakley. His Facebook page where devotees could watch him in action is still live even if he is not.
995 days ago
We are good Europeans, the Mrs and I. We live in Greece as much as we can and love the place. The Mrs is a fluent Swedish speaker and she would, I suspect, live there again. We speak to each other in French when we do not want Joshua to understand and we happily toasted our freedom at 11 PM on December 31 with Metaxa, greek brandy. We love Europe, we detest the EU. The toast was to three great Eurosceptics not there to witness this great day: Ronald Bell, father of my friend
despite the day’s earlier humiliation Andrew*, my uncle Christopher Booker and my Grandfather Sir John Winnifrith.
996 days ago
We burned a home-made EU flag on a bonfire here at the Welsh Hovel on January 31 to celebrate the first stage of Brexit. Tonight at 11 PM we fully and finally leave the Evil Empire and after 45 years of family pain it would be wrong not to celebrate again.
999 days ago
Heck, Sian starred on Panorama so I know my two scouser rescue cats have a big fan club. So one last treat for the fans, following my Life Imitates art series this Christmas. The Mrs bought another duck for our second Christmas which will be shared with the younger generation today.
999 days ago
The day is looming when I must consider my New Year’s Resolutions. It is no great shock in that my top few are all to do with being a little bit, no a lot more, healthy. Spending those last couple of weeks with Dad and his death, covid, the second big lockdown here in Wales, the new baby and now Christmas have not been good for my health. The large Christmas jumper given to me by my mother in law is a little tight. I am all too aware of what needs doing. I am 53 in two weeks time and I have a one month old baby so I need to up my game in the healthy living department. It is all very well me considering plans for wind down and retirement but you have to live long enough to get to spend more time with your children and goats.
1000 days ago
So the Mrs thought about getting the cats a basket but I insisted that that was for soft Southerners and that our Northern cats, the scousers Quincey and Sian, needed and wanted only a cardboard box each as they said, in true Monty Python fashion: “when we were young we were poor but we were happy”. So she took away a cardboard box.
1001 days ago
It is amazing. The Mrs and I tried it for the first time last night, aware that thirsty daughter Olaf is on her way soon and that all thinks liquid are thus in peril. I cannot quite describe how it tastes other than to say it is superb. Next year I shall make this in industrial quantities.
1001 days ago
I have not read the full 1500 pages of the Trade treaty between the UK and the Evil Empire. I am sure that buried in the detail are a few dastardly measures from inserted by stormtroopers from the Death Star. I don’t need to fall asleep reading it; I just look at the reactions of those who have.
1002 days ago
A triumph for the hard-working chef i.e. me. At the head of the table in a stunning new Indian shirt from his Grandmother sits Joshua. In front of him in order:
1002 days ago
So the Mrs thought about getting the cats a basket but I insisted that that was for soft Southerners and that our Northern cats, the scousers Quincey and Sian, needed and wanted only a cardboard box each as they said “when we were young we were poor but we were happy”. So she took away a cardboard box.
1002 days ago
Brandy, vanilla, caster sugar, butter. If you cock up making brandy butter, then you merit a lifetime ban from the kitchen. One more Christmas Eve task completed. The butter now sits in the fridge ready for the big day when, naturally, I am the cook in charge of everything.
1002 days ago
My four-year-old Joshua has been talking of little else for days. Yesterday, he really did get a card from Santa in the post which told him that he must be in bed early so that Santa could pop in and that he must leave a drink for Santa and something to eat for both Mr Claus and for Rudolph.
1002 days ago
Noted at Oxford for being a thirsty young lady, daughter Olaf is coming up after Christmas for a three day stay. I have prepared for her arrival. From our new kitchen, I ask my daughter: is this enough for you and your stepmother?
1004 days ago
I celebrated with you the other day that the Holly Tree here at the Welsh Hovel had, somehow, retained its berries this year. Cats 23, birds nil. And thus a stack of twigs and small branches have been cut down to decorate the house. They look pretty spectacular, just like you might see in a Christmas card but rarely see in real life.
1004 days ago
Gosh, the tree and its oak barrel container are heavy but a friend and I somehow got it inside for its 16 days of warmth. Then it will be back to the garden where it has lived for the past year, gaining about two and a half inches. I reckon it is now just under five foot nine tall.
1004 days ago
The kitchen should have been ready by November 8. It is not yet finished. But, as of a couple of days ago, it became usable and last night we cooked a meal on and in the Aga for the first time and then The work unit with the Belfast sink should be completed January 20 by when a few other remedial works should be done. But we are now, as you can see below, settled in for Christmas. I start with the newly exposed arch which was once the front door looking into the room from the main house. On the wall opposite is the Mrs, the Aga and the old bread oven from the 1600s.
1006 days ago
I start with Joshua’s Advent calendar and my great uncle the jail bird and end with Christmas news from the Welsh hovel which shows how fecking green I am. In between I look at Hurricane Energy (HUR), Angling Direct (ANG), Cineworld (CINE), Trainline (TRN), Frazers (FRAS), Powerhouse (PHE) and Metro Bank (MTRO)
1006 days ago
Before I start, I must confess that I stand guilty of gross hypocrisy. My preference, as long-term readers know, is for Christmas cards to be somehow related to why we are all having a holiday on December 25 even if we are not celebrating Christmas. That is to say the birth of Jesus. But this year the card I sent out was of a snowman. My excuse was that it was designed by Joshua at his nursery. Last year, I failed almost as badly with the card being of a tree. It too was designed by Joshua but at his playgroup in Wales so the message was very much Nadolig Llawen. Okay, so I am a hypocrite. Next up: a confession of very minor sexism.
1007 days ago
“Are you alright?” asked my Aunt L who lives about 15 miles further into Wales. It seems that her daughter and my first cousin C – who made me feel rather old but also rather young by becoming a granny a week after I became a father again – had been driving close to our village and noticed that there are floodwaters everywhere. Indeed there are.
1007 days ago
I discovered last week that the one Christmas Pudding I had saved for two years and was planning to use this year had been got at. I am not sure when or where given that our two killer cats have made this a mouse-free zone. I suspect the damage was not caused by mice but by something else. Anyhow it is panic stations as, if various folks are happy to break the insane laws we live under, we will have two Christmases here: one with the in-laws and one with the younger generation later.
1007 days ago
Wood cutting has become almost therapeutic in these dark days in lockdown Wales. Half an hour on weekdays and an hour a day at the weekend is the plan. Sometimes I have a day off. It all starts with a large pile of branches from trees cut down at the Hovel over the summer. I might drag three to the main barn and Joshua drags a small one if he is with me. That would be a weekday cut. At the weekend we double up.
1008 days ago
Yesterday I explained to you the battle of the cardboard boxes here at the Welsh Hovel. I had put two out in the living room for the cats to sleep in. The Mrs insisted that the cats deserved a proper cat basket. I insisted that as fully fledged Northerners (from Liverpool), they thought cat baskets were for soft southern cats and, as per the famous Monty Python sketch, they were lucky if they had a cardboard box.
1008 days ago
On the lane down to the Welsh Hovel at the edge of what was once known as the jungle and will one day be a soccer pitch sized vegetable garden sits a holly tree. In the autumn it was full of red berries but I was resigned to the birds eating the lot.
1008 days ago
The big project at the Welsh Hovel this Autumn has been the restoration of an old kitchen from the 1600s. By Tuesday I hope to be able to show you something that is 90% complete but here is one piece of history now coming to life. The view is from the hall in the centre of the house into the kitchen; you can see the new Aga at the far end and the beams which we have exposed and got back towards their original condition.
1009 days ago
This will be our second Christmas without my Godfather and Uncle, Christopher Booker. Every other Christmas in my life, Chris sent first my parents, then my father, then my father and myself a cheese from Cheddar: a real organic product from the county in which he lived and loved, Somerset. Last year, much to my surprise, a cheese arrived as normal. Knowing that he was dying he had, two years ago, placed orders for both 2018 and 2019. But this year I was rather resigned to that tradition ending. This morning a large box arrived at the Welsh Hovel.
1010 days ago
Thanks to the certifiably insane First Minister here in Wales, Mr Mark Drakeford, boozers shut at 6 PM and can’t serve booze anyway. I can’t remember whether it is illegal to cross the border with England yet or whether the North Wales Police start arresting folks for this heinous crime on the 24th, 25th or 28th. Anyhow, we set off from the Welsh Hovel last night, four of us in the car, dashing the few hundred yards to the bridge to free England and what we found was heartbreaking.
1014 days ago
I do not wear Christmas jumpers. But young Joshua sees it as part of the Yuletide ritual and is encouraged in this absurd habit by my mother-in-law who sends him an offering each year. It makes him and the Mrs happy so should probably be encouraged.
1019 days ago
Back at the height of the first lockdown to beat Covid and save the NHS, I was rationed as to how much flour and yeast I could buy at any one time as, in droves, folks started home baking. As I noted at the time, if one reads Defoe’s account of the Great Plague, people assumed in 1665 as they assumed in 2020 that changes in the way we behaved would be permanent. They will not be.
1023 days ago
This has made me laugh. You may remember that I have spent far too much of the past few years battling the accursed frigana plants at the Greek Hovel. I’ve tried poison, a strimmer but nothing will ever truly rid me of these beasts which can grow to 20 foot high.
1025 days ago
No this is not for the Mrs, a card carrying member of the Labour Party, who has a rather nice present sitting in one of the barns at the Welsh Hovel. There are other lefties in my life, notably, almost my entire family. And thus, each year, one struggles for a suitable present for such folks. After all, you have already given them in prior years the complete works of Ayn Rand and Titania McGrath. What to do in 2020?
1027 days ago
The nights are drawing in and the photos below were taken, at 5 PM, before I headed off to pick up Joshua from his Nursery. Logs must be chopped well before that when my woodshed is not dark. The views are from the house, looking at the gap between the barns which leads to the river and the fields. The trees you can see, ahead of the full moon, are a row of very tall silver birches which, when we arrived, were being strangled by ivy. But I stripped that away in the summer and today they flourish and tower above us all.
1027 days ago
I have noted before that the former babysitter to ex-wife Big Nose, that is to say Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, is insane. He has now announced new measures here in Wales to destroy what is left of our hospitality sector and I urge the men in white coats to drag this wretched man away before he cancels Christmas. You may remember that we suffered a “firebreak” lockdown here in Wales between 23 October and 9 November to stop the spread of the virus…
1030 days ago
Featuring in these family snaps are Joshua, pre haircut, baby Jayarani, myself and Quincey the cat who has responded very well to the new arrival.
1030 days ago
Do not get misunderstand me. Christmas at the Welsh Hovel will not be a dry celebration of the birth of Christ. We too, will tuck into a bird (duck), will enjoy Christmas Pudding and brandy butter. Santa will be left with a glass of Metaxa and a mince pie and will reward good boys, girls, adults and cats with a full stocking. There will be presents for all under our tree which is currently sitting in the garden where it lives for 49 weeks a year as I am a bit of a closet greenie. Indeed, in an unusual burst of efficiency, the main presents for the Mrs and Joshua are already here. However in this household we know what we are celebrating.
1038 days ago
As Miss Winnifrith returned home yesterday, her elder brother Joshua displayed a mixture of pride and alarm that he may be overlooked. He certainly likes the T-shirt received from his godmother and Aunt F as you can see below. Miss Winnifrith now has two three Christian names selected.
1052 days ago
Our very elderly neighbours toddled along. Joshua’s pal H and his younger brother came with their parents and, unmuzzled, we drank mulled wine as the kids had chocolate peanuts, apart from H’s younger brother who has an allergy. As my bonfire roared into life, someone a bit higher up the slope in our village was letting off fireworks and in the distance, over the river among the infidels of England, there was another defiant display lighting up the sky.
1052 days ago
Notwithstanding the fact that we had the same conversation a year ago, I asked the Mrs this morning to name the year of the Gunpowder Plot. She ummed a bit so I said “how about to the nearest 10 years”. She countered with “how about to the nearest hundred?” Okay said I and she answered 1776.
1054 days ago
Last year, unable to find a pumpkin to buy at the last minute, we used turnips and celeberated Hop-tu-naa This year I snapped up a pumpkin and watched by Sian the cat hollowed it out. I am not a great pumpkin carver so by my standards this was an adequate result. Then came the pumpkin soup.
1061 days ago
Slowly things are taking shape in what will be a kitchen dining room. First up, the Aga has arrived and I have treated myself to a four oven model as you can see below. The tiles are still discoloured from the work done removing years of dirt from the walls and black paint from the beams but are slowly being cleaned, one treatment at a time.
1063 days ago
The main living room at the Welsh Hovel is now complete. Ancient beams have been exposed, the sash windows mended but the crowning glory is the fireplace. The three photos below show the amazing transformation.
1063 days ago
I did what 3 million Welsh residents could not do today and had a pub lunch. But I’ve broken the border and am back at the Welsh Hovel. I discuss my day, why I think Nigel is wrong on investing in residential property and ask why Link is being sued over Neil Woodford’s crimes yet he seems able to escape scot free.
1063 days ago
For reasons which are nothing to do with the insanity of Mark Drakeford, I cannot work properly today at the Welsh Hovel hence this bearcast is short. I explain those reasons and hope to be back to normal by Saturday. In the podcast, I discuss that impending lockdown and also last night’s debate between Donald Trump and China Joe Biden and what it means for November 3.
1066 days ago
On Tuesday, Joshua and I again went picking apples from the orchard by the river and we have already enjoyed an apple crumble. Next up will be another pressing of aple juice for my first stab at it was a bit of a triumph.
1067 days ago
First up is the third of the fireplaces we discovered in the dining room kitchen. This wall had been covered in plaster with a small fireplace from the early 20th century. That was in front of the third of the holes in the wall and had been “restored” while I was away in Shipston. Sadly…
1067 days ago
I ponder this grave question after considering the illogical hateful restrictions we face in Shipston next week. In another podcast I raise the possibility that Donald Trump might win on November 3 because of factors the deadwood press and BBC opt to ignore. All is explained HERE. Then I discuss three sets of builders here at the Welsh Hovel who must be starting to dislike me. Then it is onto Centamin (CEY), Bidstack (BIDS) and Network International (NETW) – a £1.5 billion short?
1086 days ago
Well I cannot say this was a major success. The kit says 12 litres of apples should have produced 6 litres of juice. I ended up with about a litre to which I added a bit of sugar and a bit of water. Maybe I should have peeled the pears but the ones our pear tree produced are so damn small! Anyhow, the Mrs, Joshua and I drank what came out and it was okay. Not brilliant but okay. Next up I shall have a go with some, peeled, apples from the hovel and I shall report back on that later.
1086 days ago
I had not expected to be making any crab apple jelly this year. I planted two trees in the new orchard I have created in the top field closest to the house. Their main purpose was in assisting cross polination of the six edible apple trees, all of different varieties which I also planted, along with six plum trees, six pear trees and two fig trees as well as the eight cherry trees that now border the track down to the hovel at the edge of the vegetable patch. I did not expect them to bear fruit this year but, to my surprise, they did. Not the 1 kg of fruit the recipe demanded but about an eighth of that.
1086 days ago
Okay, I accept this is work in progress. Gone are the carpets and wallpaper from the 1970s and also the plaster from the early twentieth century. What you see now is a room almost stripped back to the 1680s or whenever it was built. I shall come to the dating issue and mystery below.
1087 days ago
The countdown to Christmas for Joshua starts on September 16, his Birthday. That means it is exactly 100 days to Christmas and, almost immediately, we start discussing stockings. Who will get presents and who will be left a lump of coal by Santa? Critically, it has already been agreed that Santa likes to be left a glass of Metaxa and so I guess I need to stock up on a bottle of Greek brandy. Shucks.
1089 days ago
On Sunday night I completed part one of this task, leaving a bowl of pear chunks encrusted in sugar in the fridge. 24 hours later, the sugar has disappeared and the pears, as you can see below, were drowning in their own – highly sweetened – juices. Next up, put them in a pan, bring to the boil, then cook on a steady heat for 15 minutes. And then cool and decant into four jars for storage in a cold dark place. One jar has already been opened and I enjoyed some on my toast this morning and, at the risk of sounding conceited, it is fantastic!
1090 days ago
There is an enormous pear tree in the middle of the area once known as the jungle but now preparing to be a vegetable patch and which is half the size of a football pitch. The ground around it is littered with small pears that have dropped and there are still some in the tree. Too many are sadly rotten but there are still hundreds fit for use, each about two inches long. So, after using two pears for pear gin, it is on to pear jam, something where there are just three ingredients.
1090 days ago
The two bigger jars were made earlier and already my damson and rhubarb gins are starting to take on a colour. The smaller, later batches of apple and pear are not colouring yet. In fact, I am not sure they ever will. The next steps: shake each jar once a day for a week so that all the sugar dissolves. Then store in a cold dark place, not hard to find here in Wales, until Advent when all four batches should be ready.
1092 days ago
I harvest not just for myself but for the pensioner couple one house up the lane and 95 year old E one house further up. And so we have a small number of crab apples from the two trees I planted this year – enough for one small pot of crab apple jelly, the last of the damsons for gin and then stacks of cooking apples from the orchard by the river and pears from a tree in the centre of the vegetable patch. Then finally some rhubarb which I planted this year… I have promised the family rhubarb crumble this evening. But I will also be making apple jam, pear jam and maybe a bit of rhubarb and ginger gin.
1092 days ago
The library is a bit of a mess as we clear stuff out from the dining room next door to reveal its wonders. As a result, Quincey, one of our two rescue cats, has had to change his place of sleeping during the day when he likes to be with me. What better place but the firewood basket which is where he is now as I tap away.
1093 days ago
I lie of course. How could I inflict such pain on Sian and Quincey (the two rescue cats who boss this house)? However, Oscar (top) and Winston (bottom) are daily visitors at the hovel. They live about 150 yards upstream and seem to escape, go for a swim in the river, and come and visit me once a day. The owners are terribly apologetic and say they are building a bigger fence but I rather hope they don’t as these are wonderful dogs and I enjoy their visit. And it is not as if my cats mind. Should they meet, Quincey arches his back and hisses and the dogs retreat pronto.
1094 days ago
You saw the before shots from the dining room at the Welsh Hovel earlier. This is a room we can date to somewhere between 1649 and 1695. The start date is when the castle here in the village, about 300 yards away from the hovel, started to be dismantled and some of the stones here are, I am sure, from the castle. The end date is the year before the Window Tax. Who would build extra windows after 1696 only to brick them up?
1094 days ago
Work at the Welsh Hovel is now taking place in what has been the dining room but will become the main kitchen. This part of the house was bolted onto the original hovel but is still very old. We uncovered a window tax window on its outside in what was the hidden room, a tiny room plastered in by the previous owners which you enter from the library but lies on the outside wall of the dining room. So one can date the dining room as pre 1696.
1116 days ago
Back from my fathers’ and in need of exercise after six hours at the wheel with an all too brief break in Shipston, it was time to start tackling the scrap iron at the Welsh Hovel.
1123 days ago
I am sure that you can remember those so very dry summers of a few years ago when the BBC, the Guardian and most of the deadwood press brought you pictures of dry and parched river beds.“You’d better get used to it” we were all warned, notably by that smug bastard Rogger Harrabin of the Beeb, “This is going to happen more and more because of global warming.” Hmmmm…
1125 days ago
After his rather minor contribution to the damson depitting, Joshua bowed out of the jam making process at this point. But we were left with two bowls: pips, to which I added 20 ml of water, and, on the right, flesh, to which I added 450 ml, putting both on a low heat and stirring for 20 minutes. As you can see below, the flesh started to turn an increasingly joyful purple.
1126 days ago
Yesterday I showed how, thanks to God’s intervention, Joshua and i were able to pick our neighbour’s damsons without leaving our own garden. With c250 damsons picked and weigfhed up to 1.5kg exactly it was time to play with the new toys ordered from amazon.
1127 days ago
I have used most fruit known to man in my cooking over the years but never, until now, damsons. I just viewed them as small, not very pleasant to eat, and altogether rather pointless. We have a tree in the area formerly known as the jungle but which is slowly becoming a large vegetable garden and which runs alongside the lane down to the hovel so I had pondered what to do with its fruit. I stumbled across a recipe for jam which refers to windfall damsons but, in this case, my fruit arrived thanks to lightning.
1128 days ago
Thanks to Google search engines this website will have a few new readers. Sorry you dirty bastards, I fear you may be disappointed by what follows. For starters the pussy below is English.
1130 days ago
Well there is an annoying ex for starters. Then the folks taking the piss on a sash window here at the Welsh Hovel. Then PL defending Katie Potts spunking £1 million of other folks cash on Bidstack (BIDS) and why following TR1s is an error. I look at Wishbone Gold (WSBN), trying to be realistic, more cracking news from Xtract Resources (XTR) and at sording pumping and dumping at Europa Metals (EUZ). No doubt Messrs Laurence Read and Benjamin Turner will be taking me off their Christmas card lists after that. Hey ho. Finally a look at red flag goings on at a company where I have pointed out many red flags before, All Active Asset Capital Limited (AAA).
1130 days ago
I am travelling today back from the Greek Hovel to the Welsh Hovel so this is an unusual bearcast. I called it for Trump last time when the entire media said otherwise. I look at the latest polls in detail and beneath the headlines and flag up the 4 great uncertainties. The answer is that Trump can indeed win but I am not calling it right now. You just cannot. As to whether it matters….
1146 days ago
No not a reference to the former vocation of my Mancunian pal Dan. Instead the start of our trip to the Greek Hovel. The Mrs had booked a 7.45 AM flight which meant a 4.30 AM departure from the Welsh Hovel. The Mrs had an early night, I decided to stay up accompanied by Bradley Walsh, Suzanne Jones, John Thaw and David Suchet and to try and do a bit of work. I reckoned I’d catch up on my sleep on the flight. No-one had told me I was sitting next to Joshua.
1178 days ago
My father has a very large strawberry bed and that, plus the extreme likelihood that my father’s carer E will have lots of chocolate to hand out, is enough to encourage my son to join me on a road trip to Shipston. Do not tell the lockdown jihadis in the Welsh Government but we broke through the border two days ago.
1183 days ago
I awoke this morning to strange sounds from the formal lawn behind the housse. I wandered downstairs and opened the door. Having entered single file through a small gate from the farmyard, the lawn was full of 10-15 bulls. The photo below was taken by my neighbour as a few of them wandered up the lane to his drive.
1187 days ago
It is a non-nursey day so I am in charge of the pest. Okay, I admit flapjacks are not the hardest things to make and, to be fair, I used a baking tray that was slightly too big so they turned out a bit too thin. However, I have not made these things for almost fifty years. And with Joshua, rather than my mother, beside me, they turned out okay. As you can see below, my son certainly approves.
1195 days ago
I already have one orchard at the Welsh Hovel. You have seen it numerous times, underwater, as it runs along the banks of the River Dee behind the formal lawn and the farmyard. The trees there produce vast numbers of cooking apples and, as you can see in the first couple of photos, we will have another glut this year. With five or six trees, if anyone fancies some of these apples, and wants to pop by, be my guest. However I have now spent a lot of time planting new fruit trees.
1199 days ago
To think that poltroons in London pay vast sums for commercially produced elderflower drinks. As you can see below, here at the Welsh Hovel, the production line is in full swing.
1202 days ago
It is also the D day anniversary and as some folk gather in London to “fight fascism” by attacking the Police. I spare a moment to remember those who really did fight fascism. I will soon starting on a 25-30 lap walk around the Welsh Hovel. that is 25-30 * 1,185 metres. my last big training walk for Woodlarks. It is raining and the wind is up so think of my suffering and for the vast bulk of Bearcast listeners yet to donate please give a tenner or more to help Woodlarks survive HERE. Ed Croft’s Stockopedia lists the top ten AIM stocks to buy including Fevertree, Boohoo and Pan African. I discuss a few issues with such models.
1203 days ago
When we arrived at the Welsh Hovel, what you see below, the area at the edge of the nearest upper field was a sea of ferns and nettles, almost six foot high in places. You could not see the small shed at one end of my strawberry patch, which I am now knocking down, and the larger chicken hut at the other end, whose days are also numbered, was barely visible. In fact I did not know of the existence of the smaller shed which is, I fear, largely made of asbestos so not that easy to eradicate. The area between the two sheds had once also been a building and you can see the base of its wall still exists.
1203 days ago
I will be doing some painting at the Welsh Hovel on the 3-4 June. I shall set up a webcam so you can watch the results of my work dry over a 48 hour period. But if that sounds just far too exciting, the Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association, PIMFA, has something designed for you.
1207 days ago
The sunshine was glorious and my teenage daughter was here at the Welsh Hovel to help drag her aged father around the track we have cut in the grass around three of our fields. Quickly I established some good news.
1214 days ago
Yesterday’s training walk was just five miles but I had Joshua on my back for 2/7 of the circuits around the Welsh Hovel. And one neighbour saw me, chatted and pledged £200 to Woodlarks. Please make your pledge today HERE. In the podcast I discuss why , I think, Malcolm is wrong on consumer spending and Pizza Express, its rise and fall, a tale for our times.
1218 days ago
Myself and some friends from here, the last village in Wales, walked the track around the 3 farthest fields at the Welsh Hovel and it is 1.1 kilometres long. That means that on June 13 I shall walk the circuit 50 times exactly raising the money Woodlarks needs just to survive into 2021. Today I did three laps as I faced a busy day. Tomorrow it will be ten. Please donate a few quid today HERE. In the podcast I consider in long detail the timeline of major share dealings at AJ Bell (AJB) which just does not look right to me. There are a stack of questions going begging. Then it is onto Eurasa (EUA) and what will happen on Friday. Will SP Angel again show that it will act for anyone or will AIM Regulation wade in to ensure Eurasa is booted off the AIM Casino? I discuss that matter in detail.
1219 days ago
Because of the wholly unnecessary Coronavirus lockdown there is no mass Rogue Bloggers for Woodlarks walk as planned on June 13. Instead I shall walk alone for 33.3 miles around the three biggest fields here at the Welsh Hovel. And having done little training I am not in great shape – I am going to struggle. But I MUST finish as Woodlarks needs £48,000 just to survive so please do sponsor me HERE.As a reminder…
1222 days ago
As it happens, strawberry cultivation used to be big business here in the last village in Wales. And myself, Joshua and the Mrs have been working hard to create a patch here at the Welsh Hovel.
1233 days ago
What is it with annoying folks in the world of IT making spurious complaints about me? Having seen off gender fluid, Jew unfriendly, Bidstack owning, libellous moron Mike Turner who oddly reported me to the Old Bill after I exposed him, now it is E an Irish IT chappy who lives up the lane leading to the Welsh Hovel.
1249 days ago
Daughter Olaf sent me on a bread making course a couple of Birthday’s ago. Of course, I have forgotten everything I learned but as I was up late last night I thought I’d make some dough and this morning I baked a loaf. Okay it may not score that highly for artistic impression but it tastes so much better than the crap from the supermarket and its so cheap. The Mrs, I kid you not, said “you are amazing” as she enjoyed her first slice.
1256 days ago
I seem to have messed up on the social distancing of my planned orchard so will be out with my tape measure repegging it this afternoon. But the first of 20 plum, pear, eating apple and crabapple trees has now been planted. The whole batch is pictured below. Because they arrived a bit late in the season, some are already flowering.
1256 days ago
I start with the arrival of 20 fruit trees at the Welsh Hovel then look at the economic hit of the Government’s Coronavirus policy and ask if it was really worth it? Then I do the work on the RNS statements issued by Ascent Resources (AST) and Iconic (ICON) that their advisers should have done but failed to do. Needless to say there are massive questions that need ansewering. Finally a look at the valuation of Novacyt (NCYT). I have seen this sort of thing before and it is bonkers.
1264 days ago
I mentioned yesterday that three weeks of beard had been removed. But, pro tem, the moustache stays on and with no-one to cut my hair it is very much back to the good old days of the 1970s.
1268 days ago
So far the Betsi Cadwalldr health district seems to have been relatively unaffected by the Coronavirus. But there have been deaths around here in North Wales and there are many more folks who have caught Covid 19 and survived. In order to boost my immune system to improve my odds if I do catch it, I take Joshua for a walk each day first over our fields and then further on along the River Dee on the Welsh side and heading downstream.
1307 days ago
I start with the rising flood waters here at the Welsh Hovel, which are now about two or three yards from the bottom step leading to the back door. Then it is onto Coronavirus, where it is starting to sink in as to how bad it could be in terms of fear and our behaviour if not actual deaths. Then onto what filing management accounts means and the question of possible securities fraud at Dev Clever (DEV), which I have flagged up with the FCA today. Then, as per the screenshot below, it is the changing behaviour of Neill Ricketts at Versarien (VRS) and what that tells us about the regulatory hole he is in and why Canaccord quit as Nomad. Finally a comment on Bahamas Petroleum (BPC), its piss poor death spiral and crazy valuation.
1308 days ago
I have not decided, or rather the Mrs has not decided, whether to install a wood burning stove or two in a couple of the 17th century fireplaces at the Welsh Hovel. We may just go with an open hearth. And we will not be troubled by new batshit crazy plans from the Tories to ban the sale of domestic coal and most logs. We have enough of our own wood in our fields and in the old barns and sheds to last not just ourselves but also our neighbours, for a lifetime. However, we are unusual and lucky.
1314 days ago
I discussed the flooding of the River Dee at the Welsh Hovel earlier with photos HERE. I drive Joshua to his nursery in England ver a 700 year old bridge about three quarters of a mile downstream from our farm. The photos below are from the English side of the bridge. The first two look upstream towards the hovel and, yes, those are our fields underwater. The final three are from the other side of the Bridge.
1314 days ago
In this podcast from the Welsh Hovel as it is battered by Storm Dennis I discuss Nostra Terra (NTOG) ahead of a podcast with former site editor Flip Flop Ben Turney on Monday, Gervais Williams and his rile in this sorry tale and his problems and the fate of Sirius Minerals (SXX) and why certain tedious establishment suits need to start being honest with folks who have lost millions.
1314 days ago
The Dee at the local measuring station hit 9 metres 28.4 centimetres in the early morning just 8 centimetres below the 2000 high. The effects on the Welsh Hovel were, as you can see below, dramatic.
1321 days ago
My neighbours told me that it does not rain in Wales all the time and I guess they were right after all. It is now snowing. The ground and the snow are too wet to settle but it makes a change.
1321 days ago
Power was restored to the whole village late afternoon. Good news thought I: light, power, internet all I need now is to turn on the heating and I can be warm too. And thus the cats and I retreated from an upstairs bedroom with two duvets on the bed to turn on the gas.
1328 days ago
This is a rarity, getting the Mrs to assist in the garden, but the lure of a strawberry patch got her on board and also Joshua who was given a new gardening kit for Christmas by “aunty” K.
1330 days ago
The 12 EU flags I had bought to burn on Brexit day seem to have disappeared. I have my suspicions. The Mrs may have voted the right way but has still not dared to admit as much to her lefty pals who, being public sector workers, have nothing better to do than post comments on facebook about how 17.4 million of us are stupid, ill educated racists and how they are considering a permanent move to Tuscany. She does not wear her beliefs, on this one, on her sleeve. That is probably wise as it cannot be long before University lecturers who are found to have voted for Brexit are no platformed and accused of being members of the alt right. But I am not a man to give up easily as you can see below.
1333 days ago
The photos below show the two boxes of Slimbiome that arrived today at the Welsh Hovel and also one of the sachets, 21 of which sit in each box. I have used a standard loo roll in the pictures to give you an indication of size.
1344 days ago
It was very late, nearly eleven at night, and very dark but a large mammal was moving off the badly lit road ahead of me to my right and off into the fields. I was two or three miles outside Whitchurch in Shropshire, heading back to the Welsh Hovel and I swear that the animal was bouncing along like a Kangaroo or Wallaby. I am convinced that it was the latter.
1355 days ago
There are no guests in this week’s show which is sponsored by Open Orphan PLC (ORPH). It is just me once again sitting in the Welsh Hovel. As I note in the podcast the reason why I think Open Orphan is such a good company with undervalued shares is explained HERE. In part one I look at corporate lying citing a number of different examples and why some lies matter more than others, some are red flags but not killers others are investment case killers. Then I offer up a number of macro reasons to be very cautious on all asset classes this year. Do not believe the idea that Bojo will usher in the roaring twenties. He got my vote but that is tosh..If you like this podcast and can’t wait seven days for more of the same and are tired of being a cheapskate you should listen to my Bearcast every day.
1363 days ago
Some of you have suffered only three years of being branded thick, ignorant, xenophobic, narrow minded and racist since you voted to leave the EU. For my family there is 45 years of hurt. But on January 31 it is all over and so I have today invested a few quid for my own personal celebration, which I will – of course – record though it will probably be classed as a hate crime.
1364 days ago
Firstly, an apology to those owed olive oil from the Greek Hovel. Logistics, spillage, the sofa, less trhan domestic bliss, you get my drift. Anyhow I have found new containers and will be posting out this week. You may remember that as well as bringing back 15 litres of oil from my trees at the Greek Hovel I also brought back 35 edible olives.
1375 days ago
A day of triumph at the Welsh Hovel sees me discuss Sound Energy (SOU) whose hand I forced last night with this article, Bidstack (BIDS) which has finally come, partially, clean about the mess it is in and Iconic (ICON) which has yet to ‘fess up to its woes but will do so soon. I also discuss one very good company, Optibiotix (OPTI)
1375 days ago
Well that made my day. Lovely Eleni from the Kourounis taverna in Kambos called to wish my family a Merry Christmas and to say thank you for the books for her two kids which arrived today. I am not sure what her son will make of Tin Tin but if it helps his English a bit all is good. Eleni asks how I am? Cold say I.
1379 days ago
A stream of articles on this monstrous lie was followed by lunch with Big Dish (DISH ) founder Aidan Bishop and his PR spinner the Sith Lord Zak Mir here at the Welsh hovel. I urged the company to make a full apology and to make serious boardroom charges. Today it has gone only half way there. It is not enough to make the shares investable.
1382 days ago
We harvested 1.15 tonnes of olives for olive oil up at the Greek Hovel last week. These are the small olives you might see in a tree at your local garden centre, perhaps a centimetre in length. But there are three or four trees on our land which we do not harvest for they produce much larger, black, edible olives and, as you can see below, I brought 35 of them back to the Welsh Hovel.
1397 days ago
At last, two and a half days after leaving the Welsh Hovel I have arrived at the Greek Hovel. Can I top last night’s views of the Acropolis? Yes I can!
1405 days ago
The scene below is from the front hall at the Welsh Hovel. The paints and other materials belong to the decorators who are hard at work on the final touches to the restoration of what will be a magnificent living room from the mid 1600s. But the half barrel? That is me being just so goddamn green.
1405 days ago
I thought I had one saved from last year. But I guess it either got lost in the move or my memory is playing tricks on me. And thus, yesterday, the Mrs, Joshua and I all made a wish as we stirred as I created two puddings for various family gatherings.
1420 days ago
It is only a few days ago that I was bemoaning how the true meaning and heritage of All Soul’s Night or Hop-tu-Naa had been lost into another alcohol fuelled consumer-fest that is Halloween. Now the Mrs thinks that I am turning into Peter Hitchens as we approach Guy Fawkes Night, or as it is known these day Bonfire Night. My thoughts turn to my childhood, forty five or more years ago and a different world.
1422 days ago
It was the A Team at the coalface yesterday, myself and Brokerman Dan. For some reason he thinks that the idea of someone he dubs “the Oxbridge Intelligentsia” picking up a hammer or a crowbar is rather amusing. Anyhow we both got stuck in to the wall at the back of the main living room, where we unearthed an enormous fireplace last week. When the Welsh Hovel was built first in the 1600s it was far smaller and the living room was on three sides facing external wall: the fireplace wall faced the river, the sash windows wall faced the lawn and the back wall was just a back wall. It was that wall we tackled as you can see below.
1422 days ago
I was going to cave to that ghastly American imported idea and buy a pumpkin and make pumpkin pie. I bought the molasses and cream and was ready, all I then needed was a pumpkin…
1426 days ago
The 1600s fireplace revealed by Brokerman Dan at the weekend is now shown in its full glory… can you see how large it is? Joshua is very excited as it now means that Father Christmas has an easy way to come and visit us. Meanwhile…
1427 days ago
Yesterday I showed you a before and after shot of the 1600s fireplace Brokerman Dan had uncovered behind a 1970s monstrosity at the Welsh Hovel. The great man wants you to see all the steps between and the photos below show that, starting with the end result. You will note the piles of birds nests he removed from the chimney.
1428 days ago
I suspected that we would discover a gem here and I was not disappointed as Brokerman Dan removed the ghastly 1970s fireplace you can see below from the living room at the Welsh Hovel. This room was part of the original part of the house so pre-dates the window tax of 1696. It has another gem which Dan and I will uncover next week but today’s gem is also below.
1428 days ago
A day of delight for Joshua as we head off to meet Thomas the Tank Engine at Llangollen and for me as Brokerman Dan makes a truly amazing discovery at the Welsh Hovel. Then it is onto Gabriel Grego’s latest triumph, why we bears do such great work and the forces of evil ranged against us.
1428 days ago
The water that passes through Llangollen today flows past the Welsh hovel less than 24 hours later. And after heavy rains the Dee upsteam is, as you can see below, already raging. Meanwhile at the Welsh Hovel it has again burst its banks, rising at least a yard and a half, starting to flood our orchard and turning the first field in England, on the other side, into a lake.
1437 days ago
I should stress that the photo below was taken after our Welsh decorators had stripped what is the master bedroom but before they had decorated it and that I can look smarter as I hope you will see later today. Watch this space. In that light almost all entries to yesterday’s contest which suggested that either the Welsh Hovel or myself need a lot of work were disallowed. You can see the abuse here. The winner is:
1439 days ago
In light of today’s news and the 100% vindication of our 1000 + articles and podcasts since 2015, do your worst. Entries by midnight tonight in the comments section below…
1440 days ago
The Jungle is where we told my young son Joshua that his beloved three legged cat Oakley had gone when he er.. went to a better place. There Oakley plays with the lions and tigers and is happy. But, rather confusingly for Joshua, there is, or was, another jungle here at the Welsh Hovel.
1443 days ago
Yesterday I showed the first signs of a hidden seventeenth century fireplace, behind a Victorian one HERE. Today the fiull glory of the old fireplace is revealed below, togther with decades and decades of birds nests which clog every chimney here bar the big one above the one fireplace we use. In the good old days young Joshiua, having just turned three, would now be the right age to send up the other chimneys to clean them out. But what with political correctness having gone mad and all of that I guess we will have to hire a professional sweep.
1443 days ago
I start, to annoy NoGold, by describing another hidden gem we have revealed at the Welsh Hovel. Then it is onto Castleton (CTP), Bahamas Petroleum (BPC) and Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT). If, like the Sith Lord Zak Mir, you are going to the AIM Awards Dinner tonight just remember who ultimately has paid for your gluttony.
1444 days ago
There are seven fireplaces at the Welsh Hovel. One is an enormous beast with an oak beam across it – a 17th century offering in the oldest room in the house. There were five which had ghastly modern constructs from the 20th century on them which the listed buildings folks have consented for us to remove and explore what is behind them. And there was one on the master bedroom which had a Victorian fireplace which we planned to treat with paint stripper but leave in place. However…
1450 days ago
The excitement is now over, for now. Two floodings in five months makes me think that winter could be interesting. What you see below is the high point from Wednesday. As you can see, the orchard was flooded and in photo two the field over the river in England was a lake. The wooden fence at the end of the formal lawn was not breached, in June as the Dee got to a nine metre depth, the waters encroached about two or three yards up the lawn.
1454 days ago
One of the joys of life at the Welsh Hovel is that, compared to our old home in Bristol, we are surrounded by wildlife diversity.
1463 days ago
Tomorrow is Tuesday so it means a whole day with Joshua my son who turns three today. And term having started Tuesday means an Under 5s group here in the village where the Welsh Hovel is located. Suffice to say Joshua is the only under 5 who brings his dad not his mum.
1463 days ago
In today’s podcast I look at Xeros (XSG) as I consider the disruption of my own washing machine at the Welsh Hovel, Sound Energy (SOU) and EVR Holdings (EVRH).
1483 days ago
Apologies for the background noise in the Thomas Cook (TCG) segment, a workman at the Welsh Hovel has not quite understood how I have to pay his bloated fucking wages. I also discuss Rutherford (RUTH)_and how it will destroy the reputation of Neil Woodford but not in the way Nigel suggests and Optibiotix (OPTI)
1494 days ago
Young Joshua loves blackberries. But it seems that the summer rains mean that this year’s crop is late. So we have scoured the numerous bushes around the Welsh Hovel and in its fields and most are still green or red. But God works in mysterious ways…
1523 days ago
My fat, drunken, friend Jono from Zimbabwe arrives at the Welsh Hovel shortly and I shall try not to allow him to lead me astray. I also await Gabriel’s next bombshell dossier I am to publish tomorrow morning. In this podcast I look at the wider implications of the RM2 (RM2) debacle for Neil Woodford, at IQE (IQE), at Fevertree (FEVR) – hat tip Leon Boros – at St James House (SJH) and at Diversified Gas & Oil (DGOC).
1523 days ago
I explain the unusual location of my studio today. The welsh hovel is amok with workmen including Brokerman Dan who has explained to me his thoughts on Union Jack Oil (UJO) as he clears away asbestos. I also look at IQE (IQE) and at Idox (IDOX) both of which SHOULD have placings and neither of which I’d bottom fish.
1527 days ago
Sian, short tail female, is on top of Quincey (long tail, male). Amazingly they seem happy to sleep with their bodies so contorted in the, as yet unrenovated, dining room at the Welsh Hovel where I work at my laptop each day, when not sanding floors or hacking away at the jungle which will, one day, be an orchard or a vegetable garden.
1537 days ago
The deal here in Wales, as it was in Bristol, is that the Mrs works full time filling the heads of impressionable young folk with left wing nonsense, Joshua goes to nursery two and a half days a week and I look after him the rest of the time. But until today I had somehow managed to avoid going to the young mums play group in our village. Today I made my debut.
1544 days ago
I sense that the folks who owned the Welsh Hovel in 1696 when the, otherwise good, King Billy introduced the Window Tax, shared my own view of tax, that it is state sponsored theft. as you will see over time, the then owners managed to dodge King Billy’s tax in two ways, one of which was simply to brick up windows with the idea that they could be re-opened when this ludicrous tax was repealed. These days the listed buildings regulations mean that you cannot unbrick them. Anyhow three new such windows were revealed over the weekend as you can see below.
1547 days ago
I discuss the double standards of those running the LSE Asylum with reference to UK Oil & Gas (UKOG), its lying CEO and some poltroon who asserts I take bribes. I ask Nigel if he still thinks Sosandar (SOS) is a buy at sub 20p as it is sub 20p. I’m not sure. I look at greed and rewarding failure at Staffline (STAF), pass on rumours about Union Jack Oil (UJO) and comment on Bluejay Mining (JAY) and Dev Clever (DEV). Now it’s back to hard work at the Welsh Hovel.
1552 days ago
The first photo below is the wall that meets you when you enter the Welsh Hovel. When it was originally built this was an external wall. It needs a bit of work replacing some concrete infilling between the bricks with lime plaster but it looks fairly splendid
1553 days ago
At the Welsh Hovel almost all of the old beams and walls have been covered up in some way or another. The one below runs the length of the room known as the library. The before and after shots are below. I sort of picked at the plaster, my friend Brokerman Dan jabbed in his screwdriver and started to expose a wonderful old oak beam almost a foot wide and still strong and intact. He did more exposing and I shall post his next work tomorrow.
1554 days ago
Today’s bearcast is a little late thanks to the amazing work of Brokerman Dan at the Welsh Hovel. Photos later. I start with the bluncders of Julie Meyer’s latest lawyer. Then I look at Chesterfield Resources (CHF) and other mining tiddlers and explian why Doc Holliday (a bull) is either very right or very wrong and why I think, but do not know, that it is the latter. Then more questions for IQE (IQE) including when is the placing?
1556 days ago
The big excitement today is the foiling of the plans of the Mrs to turn our cats into vegan, Guardian-reading, little darlings. I discuss that and the arrival of the tile polishing man at the Welsh hovel - photos HERE. Then I look at BCA Marketplace (BCA), Neil Woodford, Brave Bison (BBSN), Big Dish (DISH) and Dev Clever (DEV) as well as the general market frothiness.
1556 days ago
I have removed so much ghastly carpet from the Welsh Hovel exposing wonderful old floorboards but also tiles. Today the tile polishing man arrived to do some tests b efore offering up quotes. His work is below. First up is the floor of the room known as the Mother In Law’s bedroom, a part of the hovel from the eighteenth century. The one clean tile shows just how dirty the others were.
1557 days ago
Sorry for the late podcast but I have spent most of the day renovating another room in the Welsh Hovel. I may post some pictures later but it is far more entertaining than even writing about Neil Woodford’s woes or Julie Meyer’s lingerie. In today’s podcast I look at Thomas Cook (TCG), Audioboom (BOOM), Kier (KIE), Staffline (STAF), Dev Clever (DEV) and the Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT), where, of course, I remain a loyal shareholder. Ho. ho. ho.
1561 days ago
The room next to where I sit right now is not part of the original house. It was added on in the 18th century and together with the room above was once, I believe, the servants accomodation. For the past sixty years – or more – it has been termed the annexe and treated as a seperate property, boarded apart from the main house. That boarding was removed and so the annexe has been reunited with the main house. It is where my mother in law may one day reside. With that in mind I am cracking on with its restoration and what I have discovered in the past 24 hours is shocking.
1562 days ago
The water levels here at the Welsh Hovel are about a foot up up on yesterday but the waters, while encroaching further into the main garden, remain at least ten yards from the house. So no panic. Yesterday Joshua and I went to inspect “Joshua’s fields” which run along the banks of the Dee up from the house to close to the bridge to England.
1563 days ago
I was unable to take photos from exactly the same spot as yesterday to show you how much the river Dee has risen as that would have left me in a couple of foot of water. But it has risen and will continue to rise as the rain from Bala makes its way down and because it is still raining. Joshua and I went to inspect it this morning and he is terribly excited and convinced that there are snakes in “his lake”. If that keeps him away so much the better. The far bank of the river, the English side, has now all but disappeared and so the “lake” streches almost without interruption, for hundreds of yards. Here in Wales…
1564 days ago
Sorry for the late bearcast, I enjoyed a long chat with Reuters (see Roger Lawson not all the deadwood press hates me!) on when Neil Woodford’s Income Focus Fund will be gated. It is a when not an if and I discuss what is going on under the surface. Then it is on to Pendragon (PDG) and BCA MarketPlace (BCA) which is more of a BIG SHORT - than ever. I look at Big Sofa (BST), Amphion (AMP) which looks like a zero and finally, in some detail, UK Oil & Gas (UKOG). Now back to the rising water levels at the Welsh Hovel.
1573 days ago
9 AM Wrexham, vets, booster jabs for cats Sian & Quincey. 7.45 AM Welsh Hovel, the Mrs lets Quincey escape from the confinement I had arranged prior to our trip to the cat doctor. Cue a few cross words from me and frantic searching for an errant cat.
1594 days ago
In twelve days time I will walk 33 miles from Horse Hill to Woodlarks with 11 other rogue bloggers to try to raise £40,000 for a charity that really needs that cash. So if you are yet to sponsor me please do so now HERE. Sagturday saw a training walk allowing me to explore the area around my new home, the Welsh Hovel, on the River Dee.
1594 days ago
I came home to the Welsh Hovel late last night to see cat Quincey sitting outside in the yard. In my absence the Mrs had, for a second time, let him escape his new home. after driving almost 400 miles in a day I let rip with a few choice words and then wasted an hour of my life coaxing the wretched cat back inside where I pounced and recaptured him. He has just rewarded me with another shit on the kitchen floor.
1594 days ago
In two weeks time I shall be at, or around the 18 mile lunch break point in the 33 Rogue Bloggers for Woodlarks walk with 11 others. As soon as today’s podcast is loaded I am off on a training walk from the Welsh Hovel along the River Dee, switching after three quarters of a mile to the English side. There will be photos later. As you consicder that PLEASE DONATE TO ROGUE BLOGGERS FOR WOODLARKS TODAY HERE. In the podcast I discuss the desparation of Neil Woodford and the bad choices he is being forced to make as a result.
1594 days ago
Sorry, I know you thought Joshua was better than i was yesterday but it is just me today. Good news arrives in the post here at the Welsh Hovel. I shall be able to vote for Mr Farage in the European Elections and, better still, the Mrs won’t be able to vote for the commies. In the podcast I discuss IQE (IQE) where Malcolm Stacey has it all wrong, Purplebricks (PURP), Eqtec (EQT), Argo Blockchain (ARB), Bushveld Minerals (BMN) and Dev Clever (DEV). And to the 75% of bearcast listeners yet to do the decent thing: we have now raised almost £19,000 for Woodlarks ( and have another £5,500 pledged) so please help us get towards our £40,000 target with a donation today HERE
1611 days ago
Since the sad demise of my once morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley late last summer, my two year old son Joshua has not stopped talking about his friend who used to sleep by his cot, keeping watch every night. Our old house in Bristol is “Oakley’s House” and while you and I know that the old boy lies at rest next to the body of Kitosh and across the yard from that of his long time companion Tara who is under the rhubarb, Joshua and his mother and I have agreed that the three legged one has “gone to the jungle” where he is happy. But there is a gap in all of our lives anmd so yesterday we told Joshua we had a treat.
1628 days ago
George the Architect sends over photos from the Greek Hovel where there is good news and bad.