10 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.
38 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.
43 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.
45 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.
258 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?
268 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.
300 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.
391 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.
391 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.
1955 days ago
Distil (DIS), the owner of premium drinks brands including Blackwoods Gin and Vodka, RedLeg Spiced Rum, Blavod Black Vodka, Diva Vodka and Jago's Vanilla Cream Liqueur, has announced results for its year ended 31stMarch 2016 and that “we look forward to further growing revenues and expanding the reach of our brands over the coming year”.