It was a lovely day today; a chilly start, granted, but a very pleasant day to be out, and not a bit cold. Friday was lovely once the sun broke through, warm enough to be in short sleeves in the afternoon. However, sandwiched between the two near perfect autumn days was yesterday, and it was horrid! Grey, cold, then wet, colder still, and frankly miserable. Standing at the farmers’ market became something of a war of attrition for the stallholders, because most of us were caught out by the drop in temperature, and were lacking in over-garments appropriate for the conditions. In short one was flipping freezing. On the journey home I had the heater in the van on full blast, directed straight at me, resulting in rosy red cheeks akin to Enid Blyton’s Noddy. By the way, can you see how much Big Ears looks like Noddy Holder from Slade in the picture above?

That is something of a coincidence, because tomorrow Noddy meets Mr Plod the policeman at my speed awareness course in Bury. I still feel somewhat miffed at being ‘nicked’, considering that I am such a steady and considerate road user; NAB THE SCROTES THAT ARE A MENACE ON THE HIGHWAYS, not little old me. Sorry about that, that little outburst could be considered as road rage. Anyway, the medicine will be taken, and I will drive back to Moyns Park feeling cleansed, absolved of my crime…..and a hundred quid worse off!

Going back to Friday afternoon, did you experience the invasion of the ladybirds? For no apparent reason clouds of them descended for a short while, before mostly disappearing again almost as quickly as they had arrived. Queer.

This morning I had my annual half hour of frustration when I sat at my laptop computer constantly pressing refresh in a vain attempt to procure hens teeth, otherwise known as tickets for Glastonbury. Once again I didn’t even get on to the website proper, as 44 zillion people vied for 3 tickets…..or that’s how it feels. It was reassuring, and highly amusing, to see equally frustrated punters venting their spleen on twitter as they pulled their hair out along with me.

Today I began the big apple pick, with the help of Jennifer and my sister Sandie, who came over for the day from Bedfordshire; she’s a good old girl. I was mostly up the ladder while my helpers were picking from terra firma. We picked in excess of 350kg of fruit, most of which will go off for juicing. The trees are well laden this year, but the size of the fruit is generally smaller than usual, a consequence of the long dry summer. However, if the early pressing is anything to go by the juice yield is pretty good. I will do a much later pick of the varieties that are still well adhered to their branches.

Let’s talk about veg baby. But first, as the subject of apples is fresh in your mind, I can tell you that this week’s eating apples are ‘Spartan’, an almost purple/red type that is firm and crisp, and ‘St Edmunds Russet’ a popular locally bred cultivar. There are cooking apples too. The other fruit news is that there are now Italian kiwi fruit, so they appear in the shop this week. European citrus fruit will soon follow. As for the rest of what’s available; tomatoes are very limited, as are red peppers, and it could be the last week for both. Courgettes have finished for this year, but didn’t they do well? (said in a Bruce Forsythe voice). There is still Swiss chard, carrots, leeks, onions, broccoli, turnips, beetroot and ‘Little Gem’ lettuce. This week there will also be purple Kohl rabi, and purple cauliflower too; they are expensive, but a nice treat.

Since Daphne died we have made Doris sleep in the other coop with Ethel and Ivy, which has put the latter two’s beaks out of joint, because they had stopped laying….or so we thought. Having said that, I suspected that they had gone rogue and were laying somewhere else; this suspicion was confirmed this morning when I stalked Ethel, and discovered a nest in the hedge containing 5 eggs. A short while later Ivy went missing, and lo and behold, there she was in the same nest, laying a sixth egg. Tomorrow these three are going to get some new sisters, as 4 new point of lay girls join the flock. They will be confined to their own coop and run for a few days until the old birds get used to them. Apologies to my vegan customers, but we love our girls, and their eggs.

The medical establishment has turned its back on me, at least it has with regard to my knees. At last weeks consultation I was told that there are no further surgical procedures available to me, and that I should just learn to live with my painful knees….such a sympathetic touch. Well if that’s what I’ve got to do then so be it; because I’m not about to give in to this setback. Maybe I will go the alternative route if the pain becomes more acute. No surrender!

We will be back at Ridgewell farmers’ market as well as at Wyken next Saturday, so do come along and support us, and the markets.

Have a good week



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