Thursday, 28 January 2016


I spend, a lot of time sat at my kitchen table. It is the centre of my universe.
Over endless cups of tea the fortunes and misfortunes of our family are discussed at length.It is the backdrop for the majority of photos I post on this and other sites.
The table is round.
Our chosen positions vary. This adds to its attraction. There is no head of table to lecture from or bottom of table to be banished to.
3 O clock has the best view of the TV, but  also the closest to the sink and the dishwasher.
 9 O clock is closest to the cooking side.
Once nine has served the dinner three better think about clearing the dishes.
Sat at nine I could see the comforting light of the UV filter.
Shining in these cold wet January nights. All is well. The pumps are running. Fish are fine.
I no longer needed the UV light and decided to switch it off.
The dark January nights somehow seemed to creep closer to the round table.
Your thoughts turn to comfort food. Let’s be honest things mum used to cook.
Long, long ago in a camp in a very cold land my wife’s family survived on Babka. Today we eat it because we like it.
The recipe varies. Tonight. Two slices of pork belly. Diced as finely as I can be bothered. A couple of rasher of smoked bacon. Low heat. Do not add oil let the fat render out of the pork. Fry till crispy. Add the bacon towards the end. Set aside
Meanwhile Peel and grate about seven medium potatoes. Also one large onion.
I then put these into a plastic carrier bag. Add two eggs seven tablespoons of flour. Salt and pepper. The now cooled meat and rendered fat. Mix.
Turn out into a suitable baking tin. Bake for about an hour.
Slice and enjoy with your favorite pickles.
Add a small red/blue LED light to the pump circuit.

Comfort food

Purple Babka

Tuesday, 26 January 2016


The ruler descended at the close of  each and every  final syllable.
Amamas, amatis amant. I can still feel the smarting in my right hand.
Learning Latin a long time ago came with real time physical feedback.
Never have a use for this dead language! 
How wrong I was.
A wet cold afternoon. The remains of some American storm. Jonas?
Why can’t we have our own storms?
Almost without thinking I pull into a garden centre.
I want some Mealey worms for the birds.
£1.99/100grms thats nearly twenty quid per kilo! I must be mad.
I wander round the plastic storage boxes.
That CD storage box at £4.99 could make a three stage filter.
Or an inclined plane fines filter.
I am deliberately delaying the final moment. To heighten the pleasure.
The seed display.
I love seeds. One look at a Tumbler Fi Hybrid package and I can really see them in my garden.
My eyes are drawn to the bargain bin.
all reduced to £0.7 
Many are Italian seeds. In Italian!

Mr Murphey. Forgive me and; Thank you!

Wednesday, 20 January 2016


Overnight air temperature was, -8*C. I have a 30w aquarium heater in the sump tank. This morning the main tank thermometer was 3.4*C.
No time to look before going to work! Truth is I could not deal with it at this time of the morning.
Home around four pm.
The main tank has carp. The secondary trout. Phew! All good.
In the grow beds. Think cold frame NOT greenhouse. I have winter cabbages, beetroot, watercress, spinach and winter broad beans. Watercress looking a bit sorry for it self but all else not too bad. The winter BB were planted before Christmas and are about 15 cms tall. First time for this crop. So far. OK.

Last year has been tough. I decide to add carp. I used an online supplier.
Delivery after delivery were infected. IMHO with an existing fungal/bacteria.
They had a guarantee. So in fairness when I complained they were replaced.
I lost four months with fish dying in quarantine. I added a UV light to my Q system. Helped a bit but again IMHO did not treat the already infected fish.
Once again I went To Bibury Trout Farm. I have to say Martin the Fishery manager is great. To attempt to catch up I have overstocked the Q tank with larger trout. To cope with this I am a running a second pump on continuos flow. This pumps FT> pre-filter>bio-filter>FT The main pump is on 15/45.
Until recently I had kept the UV light on. It’s only 9W. I have now switched it off.
To return again to the carp.
The initial delivery was common carp. 50% survival. I then decided to switch to Crucian Carp. It was these that I had all the trouble with.
The fishery suggested that it was just too warm for transportation in the summer. Ice packs were included in the boxes. The October delivery 95% fatalities. At this point I gave up.
I don’t know.
I do want to stock Crucian Carp. 

Sunday, 10 January 2016


Back to reality after the holidays. System and fish all good thanks to my Grandson. Winter broad beans doing well.