Well, a happy New Year to one and all; I hope that you have had an enjoyable festive period. Mine was rather more hectic than is ideal for me; curmudgeon that I am. On Thursday It was lovely to relax in a quiet and tidy house, after 3 days of the opposite. Early on Friday morning I donated blood platelets at Addenbrookes hospital, and then met with Jennifer to go furniture shopping in Cambridge. Well that was a joke! We should have known better though, our shopping expeditions have never been productive and always end in a stress headache. Actually since then I have not felt all that well, but I don’t think that I can blame that on a disastrous retail experience. It has meant that I haven’t been overindulging on the cheesy footballs, Quality Street,or the ‘Eat me’ dates; I’ve even had a nice bottle of red wine open for 3 days, and it’s still half full!

The weather has been a strange old mixture hasn’t it? Really mild in the run-up to Christmas, with enough rain to make it filthy everywhere, then a cold snap with snow and overnight ice, then milder with more rain and wind, and more rain; the temperature has been up and down like a fiddler’s elbow. The river Stour at the bottom of the hill from us has burst its banks on two or three occasions, so some of the meadows are picturesque lakes. I went to watch my grandsons do the ‘Park Run’ in Clare country park yesterday morning, but upon arrival we discovered that it had been cancelled because part of the course was under water. They didn’t mind, they still hared about the place, and must have run up and down the Motte of the castle at least half a dozen times; oh to be young with knees that work! Looking on the bright side, at least the days are drawing out.

Until today the kittens had left the Christmas tree alone, which was something of a minor miracle, but this afternoon Wilfred launched himself into the middle of the tree and began to climb! Baubles dropped and fairy lights were dislodged, and Wilf had to be shut out of the room for a while to sit on the naughty step. Oh, haven’t I introduced you to Wilfred yet? Here he is….

Wilf in the bath

Wilf in the Christmas tree

It’s January tomorrow, and you know what that means? Yes, it’s marmalade making time. I will have Seville oranges for you to play with this week, as well as Italian blood oranges, oh and you will need a lemon for your marmalade too. I am hoping to have some broccoli from Home Farm, Nacton, this week, but I won’t know if it has survived the weather until Tuesday, so if you would like some add it to your order, but it’s not guaranteed that it will materialise. There will be Cavolo Nero, beetroot, swede, parsnips, leeks, mushrooms, carrots, squash, and potatoes….plenty of potatoes. There are bakers, Cosmos (good for baking/chips), red Desiree (good all rounder), and the very nice waxy salad potato Ratte. I undercharged for Ratte before Christmas, so you will see that I have made an adjustment in its price; for reference Waitrose was selling the same variety 2 weeks ago for something like £2.20 for 750g – and they weren’t organic!

I apologise to, and sympathise with, whoever in your household is assigned the job of preparing Brussels sprouts for Christmas dinner. I am the nominated commis chef at Mizen Towers, and the sprouts took forever to prepare. This year they were generally very small and fiddly, and I was pleased to see the back of them…..though I do love to eat them; and the bubble and squeak wouldn’t be the same without them. Carrot parcels are my speciality of the season; and prepared with my new Opinel pocket knife.

Deliveries are all back to normal this week, but the farmers’ market is not on again until the 13th January, so there will be no collections from Wyken on Saturday.

So as we head towards the bongs, I have only to wish you a very happy 2018. My resolutions? To keep on top of the weeds in the garden this year, to be more productive, and to be a little less grumpy. Two of the three are achievable.

Phil

 

 

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