Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Coldplay in my place

I returned home yesterday to find the air filled with Coldplay. Their mild-mannered music bounded around the hills of Crystal Palace like an echo in the Swiss Alps and, no matter what you did it was impossible to avoid it.

I noticed my courgettes and tomatoes had buckled a little under the strain - Mozart it clearly ain't – and after another round of earbashing tonight, I'm wondering if my peas might also take offence too.

So when people say Coldplay are totally inoffensive, they're wrong. Plants hate them (although it might simply have been the exceedingly hot day...).

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

No such thing as a free lunch

I think I'm thinking too much about thinking this week.

I started to wonder why, after the lunchtime dilemma of my last post, it isn't made law for all companies to have a recycling facility or scheme in place. Sure, companies can sign up to paper recycling schemes, and no doubt gain a tax break somewhere, but what about all the plastic containers and plastic bags that are used each day when people buy lunch? Why is our goverment so willing to let us get away with not recycling everyday junk?

I try my best. I collect any plastic bags that come my way, store them in my draw at work and use them over and over - despite the staff in Sainsbury's determination to give me them. (The manager once greeted my Tesco carrier bag with disdain, but his wrath was tempered when i explained that Tesco bags degrade and his don't.) But why aren't plastic bags taxed? Why aren't all sandwich companies made to use card containers like pret a manger? Some use them on 'special' lines, but come on, card must be cheaper than plastic surely?

If you're going to make bad laws, make some good ones too.

I think I'm going to stop bleeting now.

One final aside though: I'm wondering, if there's a hosepipe ban, does that affect people with allotments? or even, people like me, with veg patches? Does anyone know?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The long last unethical goodbye

I was recently introduced to Planet Organic, a supermarket just a short walk from where I work in central London, near Tottenham Crt Road. I went and bought lunch there, sat and ate it, and was suddenly struck by a calamitous carrot of conscience. (You get a lot of these alliterations when you grow vegetables.)

It's become a major part of my adult life to eat organic fruit and vegetables (local stuff of course, no asparagus from peru thanks!), and i only ever buy free-range meat. It's an obsession, and I'm sure my friends sometimes get annoyed at my preaching. But now I find myself in a desperately tricky position. When I'm at home it's always simple to act like this. But when you're at work, it's impossible to know how good the food is when you buy lunch.

So I get free-range egg sandwiches regularly (can't have them every day though - think of the smell), but anything else i buy is ultimately unorganic and unethical. I think I've become comfortable with this, and the fact that it's a damn sight cheaper. It's always been easy to say 'it's so difficult to eat ethically when you buy lunch', and excuse myself of the organic duties.

But now it's not difficult, yet I'm torn. Now I'm in the position where it's all to easy for me to buy organic and ethical lunches. I'm in the position where my whole daily life can be an organic pasture of whimsy and happiness. Leo Hickman in the Guardian manages it, but there's a part of me that's clinging onto this small bastion of bad food and living. And what a thing for me to say!

I'm frightened of stepping onto the organic gravy train. It's like putting the last piece into the puzzle, and I really do want to finish it, but my hand has gone to sleep. I'll hate myself forever if I don't take the plunge, but why does it feel like it's one made from the highest diving board?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Stag Beetle

We had a rare treat last night by witnessing the drunken flight of two Stag Beetles in our garden. Seeing such large, extremely rare and stunningly beautiful creatures flying around like they didn't know their arse from their elbows, is something I'll cherish forever.

I'll remember it equally as much as nibbling on my first sugar snap pea this morning. Where that came from, I have no idea, but it made a lovely supplement to my toast.

My plot

My plot
Originally uploaded by Al Milway
And finally, after being urged by my dear friend Asha to put up a picture of my plot, here it is. Tomatoes,peas, leek, courgettes, broccoli, cabbage and carrots,oh, and my neighbour's smelly washing that she left out on the line all night.

lupin III: Castle of Milwayostro

And the Lupin is flowering. After such a terrible fate smote my first flower head, the second and third are now going crazy, making up for the loss of their brother in barrowloads.
Hah! The Lupin killer has been foiled. Revenge is mine...

My first purple pea

My first purple pea
Originally uploaded by Al Milway.
My level of excitement is currently knowing no bounds. I have a purple pea pod. And it is just divine. Look what you've got to look forward to Mum!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

pretty in purple

pretty in purple
Originally uploaded by Al Milway.
Here's one of my pretty purple podded pea flowers.

Just beautiful.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Hello Flower!

This week has all been about work. Now you could normally accuse me of being one of those 'whistle while you work' type characters (although I'm more likely to be found pretending to be a trumpet - much to the chagrin of fellow workers), but it's been heavy going these past few days, leaving me with little time to think. So when I had to rise at 6 this morning to finish an illustration, I was feeling a tad down on the world.

But then two things happened that reheated the very tired cockles of my heart. First, I casually looked out of the window and spotted not one Woodpecker, but two. And then one of them started feeding the other on our fence. It was a baby, with a bright red cap, and it was a most delightful experience. Then I saw a wren, a lady chaffinch, and even the friendly greenfinches came to say hello. (ok, so that's a lot more than one thing, but for the sake of this post, it'll do!)

And then as my heady descent into apoplexy was starting to ease, I went out to water my peas. As if seeing two woodpeckers wasn't enough, jumping out from the pea plants were my first two flowers. A gleaming white frilly thing on a sugar snap pea, and a bright reddish one on a purple podded pea plant.

If only all days started like this!

Although I then had to deal with the Crystal Palace ticket office being closed and not being able to renew my travel card. No matter how good you can be feeling about the world, British Rail will always strive to ruin it for you.

And since then I haven't made a single trumpet parp.

Monday, June 06, 2005

My very thin plot

Sunday morning was a *big* day for me as far as my veg plot goes... I've filled it up! Totally rammed. No more space left to swing a trowel!

I must admit, I dug myself a rather smallish plot in the first place and so was limited in terms of what I could grow, but for a first attempt I had to set myself some limits! And now when I look out my window I no longer see a grave, or a load of earth with potential. Now I see crops. And a large amount of cat poo humming in the early morning sun - but I think I can deal with that now.

So the final things to go in were red cabbages, broccoli and a second row of carrots, this time of the scarlet horn variety. There was something wonderful in putting my last few seedlings out to pasture, and now I can sit back a little and learn how to keep them all alive.

I forgot to mention that I was offered some brussel sprout plants last week. Aghast at my initial reaction of 'oh yes that might be nice to have in my plot', I feel that I should repent my sins. I swore to never deal with those devilish little green balls of bile, and for the feelings of my blog alone, I am truly sorry to have even contemplated the matter.

To anyone interested in the Lupin killer, it's taken a third victim in the shape of a very late about-to-flower daffodil. Rest easy in your beds at night though, for I am undertaking the employment of a nightwatchman in the form of milo the cat. If anyone can catch a bug, it's that little curly haired monkey!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Murder in the flowerbed

I awoke to find my blossoming lupin had been savagely beheaded this morning. I was absolutely heartbroken. Some cruel beast had nibbled right through the thick stalk, leaving not so much as a thread between the plant and the flower head.

And this wasn't the first time such an act of wanton destruction had taken place in the last week. Just before the weekend I found our one-and-only foxglove - that had just opened its flowers - scythed down and lying on the floor. It's now splinted upright by some tightly wrapped brown paper, but how long that will last is anyone's guess.

The only thing I do know is that both crime scenes bore the marks of the same murderer. Something so foul and hideous that it even left a small poo on the lupin right next to the wound.

I will find that beast. And it will pay for its crimes.