Rinse and Repeat TWTW # 102

Well here we are again. Our second national lockdown started this week. Not a surprise to most people, except some politicians, but certainly avoidable. It does seem quieter but the reality is that many of the shops that had to close in the first lockdown are actually open this time, although how you might justify and “essential” trip to them isn’t clear.

I received news this week that there has been an outbreak of Coronavirus at my Mum’s care home. At the time of writing there have been a handful of infections amongst the staff and residents but Mum has tested negative and is symptom free. This could of course change at any time but the home are doing everything that they can.

There is very little that I can actually do apart from provide some moral support from a distance. Given the lockdown arrangements at the home, I’ve not actually seen Mum since the end of August but we’ve been talking regularly on the phone.

The above news and trying to get a few things done before lockdown started has occupied most of my week. I had medicine to pick up from the vet for one of our dogs which I managed to do on Wednesday, combining it with another job, the collection of our own prescriptions from the pharmacy and paying a cheque into the bank. I’ve done our regular grocery run and got petrol for the car – the car hasn’t moved since and probably won’t until I next have to go for groceries. Otherwise from Thursday I’ve been out to walk the dogs but have been observing the lockdown rules.

Also at the time of writing the American election has seemingly been resolved in the favour of Joe Biden, which means the time of Trump is coming to an end. Of course it’s unlikely that this is truly over given the orange idiot’s lack of maturity and use of Twitter.

We’ve had a few frosty mornings (and some lovely sunny days) this week which is good for the allotment, particularly my parsnips and garlic. The latter need a certain period of cold temperatures to properly form cloves within the overall bulb, otherwise what you get is one massive clove.

I did dig the first parsnips though, as they do taste better after a frost. They were certainly sweet and I made an onion and parsnip soup from the couple that I dug. Very tasty.

I also dig some more digging and spreading of manure yesterday and today my body is telling me all about it.

I’ve been reading a mix of things this week, but not really been able to concentrate on any single one of them. My mind has been elsewhere.

We’ve been watching more Inspector Morse and also some Dick Barton Special Agent.

I’m not entirely sure what the week ahead holds. With lockdown obviously things are probably going to be pretty quiet, but I’ll be waiting for more news from my Mum’s care home.

Whatever you’re doing this week, stay safe and take care.

Of Wonky Veg

As I was peeling parsnips for dinner last night I was reminded of watching “Hugh’s War on Waste” that was on BBC TV earlier in the week.

CS9lF5jXIAAnYWtThe programme highlighted the statistic that as a nation on average we throw away the equivalent of a days food per week per household. Quite a shocking statistic, and one that I am determined won’t apply in this house. I feel that we are already pretty good in terms of making sure we don’t throw away anything that is still good to eat, but there is always room for improvement and I’ve therefore signed the pledge at http://wastenotuk.com, I encourage you to do the same.

I think what shocked me more though was the further statistic that supermarkets reject over 40% of produce grown by farmers each year for being the wrong shape or colour. Parsnips were the example used in the show, and the shocking story of one struggling farm that has 20 tonnes of parsnips rejected by Morrisons every week because they don’t fit the supermarkets exacting standards. (Here’s what Morrisons had to say)

Cosmetically, this is the supermodel of parsnips, but it has no flavour
Cosmetically, this is the supermodel of parsnips, but it has no flavour
Now I mostly grow my own veg, at the moment I have a gap in my parsnip supply due to poorly timed seed sowing on my part.

My first sowing have all be harvested and although I have plenty of parsnips growing, but they’re not yet ready to harvest, so I had to buy some this week.

They are cosmetically very pretty – unlike the ones I normally grow, which tend to be a bit misshapen and odd looking, however they have absolutely no taste to them. My first harvest of parsnips this year from the allotment were sweet and very tasty, despite their outward appearance, the ones that I bought from the supermarket to supplement the allotment supply are not.

Now I know that won’t come as a surprise to many other allotment holders or those that grow their own veg, and I’m sure that it is as much to do with the time from harvest to plate that is as important, as well as the growing conditions, than how the parsnip looks, but for heavens sake why does cosmetic appearance matter? It’s taste that counts.

I’m for wonky, tasty veg.

EDIT: Incorrect hyperlink updated

Frosty Start, Sunny Finish


After a busy weekend on the allotment, with my early spuds going in the ground as well as shallots, radish, lettuce, parsnip and a complete set of brassica plants that arrived last Friday, I was hoping for them to escape any significant frosts. Knowing that to be unlikely I did make sure that they were all under cover. I made good use of the cloche that I built a week or so ago.



This morning I woke to a proper frost however. The roof of our house was white, as was the ground, I hoped that my preparations were enough. 

After work this evening I walked down to the allotment with the dogs to check how my new plants were. By now the sun was out and the Mercury had risen. Everything appears well, all of the brassica plants that went in only a few days ago seem fine, my cloche has done a good job. I’m sure they’ll be more frosts to come, but it’d good to know that my preparations seem good.