98 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.
382 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…
397 days ago
I am working like a demon picking blackberries with Joshua in order to produce as much blackberry cordial as possible. On Saturday we spent an hour picking at our two favourite sites and the amount we produced generated 600 ml of cordial which is enough to make three litres of ice cream. But with both Sharestock and Joshua’s birthday party looming I need about 6 litres, plus some for normal family use. And fear not there will be other ice creams at both events (lavender and rhubarb & ginger). So it is all hands to the coalface.
507 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.
693 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.
730 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.
748 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.
752 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.
757 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.
903 days ago
Here in Holt, the last village in Wales, where snitching on your neighbour with unfounded allegations is deemed fair game but something that cannot be discussed openly, a bright sun shines this Tuesday morning revealing another night of, modest, frost. So far this frost season the blossom on the fruit trees has survived and peas and beans planted a few weeks ago, grow unaffected.
938 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.
967 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?
977 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.
986 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.
987 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.
991 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.
2677 days ago
Ten days ago I was, via lovely Eleni, telling the shepherd about the lush green grass up at the hovel and urging him to bring his flock up to graze lest they miss out. When I see him next I shall be begging him to bring his sheep up out of pity. The green grass has almost gone. Almost everything is brown.
Driving up the grass track to the house I was horrified. It was as if the whole area had been affected by a great heat. But as it happens that is exactly what has happened. Down by the sea at Kalamata today it is 33 degrees. Up at the hovel it is over thirty. It is wonderful weather to work in but the grass is burning away.
The purple flowers,