A View (Miles Away) From The Greenhouse; 1,000 Cuts, The Destruction Of A Nation

In His Perfect Space
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2024

Took a little ride out with the camera club up to Ashness Bridge and then walked up to “Surprise View” where I came across this handsome fellow taking a (probably) well earned break from his not so onerous winter duties. Out of shot there was a small flock of high quality Herdwick ewes, it isn’t always easy to tell with sheep, but they all seemed to have smiles on their faces.

Annual Tidy-Up, Commencing Soon
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2024

Any road up, this bi-weekly diary’s supposed to be about the trials and tribulations of growing older whilst trying to maintain a greenhouse which is also, and ever increasingly, showing its age. This table (one of last years new additions) would be moved to its new spot later in the week, but first it needed to be utilised to take the strain whilst I sorted out the mess under the potting area. I’ll reveal all, next time around, but I’m thinking about using this bit of “grund” for the climbing and runner beans this year, it’s had a season off and had spuds in it in 2022. It’ll get rotovated & fertilised over the coming weeks. Watch this space for more riveting updates.

Essential “Rough Gardener” Reading
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2024

Dave (Retired Forester Dave) popped in on his way past the shed the other day, I was just trying to warm my toes after spending an hour picking up broken glass, so it wasn’t an imposition of any kind (it’s always good to see him). He’d been having a clear out and he brought me a couple of books which he thought might be of some use to me. I can see his point, I need all the help I can get. A combination of laziness, forgetfulness and Northern cussedness means I’ve never been more than partly sure about anything I do where plants are concerned. I’ve already delved into “The Greenhouse Expert” and found a couple of useful tips, as averse as I am to the opinions of “experts” in other fields, I think Dr Hessayon may be a fellow to take a bit of notice of.

Geology Lesson, 101
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2024

Talking about Dave’s, Dave the geologist continues to stimulate the early evening conversations of the Tuesday “beer and bullshit” club with his rocks and fossils, which have now become something of a weekly ritual. Over his many years in the business (primarily Petro-Chemical geological research) Dave has assembled a large collection of samples, his depth of knowledge on the subject of the earths structure and make up is quite eye opening. The sample on the left isn’t tarmac from one of the local potholes, although you could be forgiven for thinking it was, it’s actually volcanic agglomerate. It’s around 450 million years old and was found near Coniston. The sample on the right is a fossilised stigmaria (carboniferous) tree branch and it’s around 320 million years old. One thing geology (probably more than any other branch of science tells us) is that “extreme” weather events aren’t a new phenomenon and have little or nothing to do with carbon dioxide, “man made” or otherwise. When it comes to “Klimate” I’d rather listen to a real scientist than a bought and paid for GB News sponsored “meteorologist”.

Raised Beds Moved, Glass Broken
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2024

The weather continues to stall progress in the greenhouse, although we have decided on a new position for the three raised beds, which I’m going to persevere with this year. I’ll limit them to leeks, onions and peppers, as to whether I grow through membrane or not, in an effort to control weed, the jury’s still out. I’ve never tried it before, but there’s a first time for everything. I’m certainly seriously considering it for the strawberries, which could help with both keeping the weeds down and reducing the amount of rotten fruit.

A Trip To The Tip’s In Order
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2024

Just an idea, for those of you that have never had to deal with large(ish) amounts of broken glass. When it comes to picking it up, there’s far more of it than you could ever imagine one single pane could make, and it all has to be disposed of. Thick gloves, metal buckets and a level of wariness are prerequisites for the job of tidying up. Sad to report that these four buckets have since made their way to the tip and will soon be ready for their next visit, courtesy of the latest period of strong winds. We’ve been down this road before. If my memory serves me correctly it was 2015 (although I could be wrong), whenever it was I remember Norm (who coincidentally would have been 90 this week) saying, in his taciturn way, “It isn’t first time it’s happened lad and it likely won’t be t’last, now get that bloody glass picked up”.

Structural Concerns. Where’s Dave?
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2024

After a couple of years of fighting a losing battle to keep the thick black plastic “skirt” in place I decided, in consultation with Dave (my Dave) to remove it as it had become brittle with age and was serving no real useful purpose. I’ve been using gun-foam for several years now, in an effort to hold the blocks in place, which themselves are now showing their years. This section of the main frame of the house, which is what originally made it rigid and determined the overall shape, has rusted away and it isn’t the only that’s gone. Again, it’s fixable, but it’s something we could do without having to deal with. At least it’ll fill a paragraph or two here, once we get started on it. First thought is to carefully jack it back into position and replace the blocks and cement, making them into the main structural support. One can but try!

Rydal, From Above The Old Coffin Trail
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2024

All work (or worrying about work) and no play makes Jack a very dull boy, or so the saying goes. Accordingly I’m still getting out into the countryside (it isn’t that far away) when the weather, my sore hip and time itself allows. Rydal Water is one of the prettiest places in this part of the world and the old coffin trail (which runs from Ambleside to Grasmere) affords great views of it. It’s quite a low impact walk too, with several routes just off the main path if that’s what takes your fancy. The route itself dates back to medieval times and was used to carry the dead to the graveyard of St. Oswalds church, in Grasmere. Well worth a visit, if you’re ever in the vicinity.

Playing To His Audience
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2024

Last week I had the “pleasure” of attending a Reform Party gathering. It wasn’t massively well attended but it did afford those of us who did turn up the opportunity to meet Matthew Moody (the PPC for Penrith & Solway) and Richard Tice (currently the party leader). The PPC for my constituency (James Townley) didn’t make an appearance. It’s clear to see, once you hear him speak, that Mr. Tice isn’t a career politician but, apart from the bad jokes, he made a decent fist of getting his message across, although the “Starmergeddon” slogan is a bit crass. Along with my companions (Geologist Dave, Johnathan and James) I wasn’t in the least surprised by anything he said, but he’s fallen into the trap all politicians fall into, either by design or otherwise. This country’s on its backside following years of corruption, mismanagement, Common Purpose infiltration into all our major organisations, corporate greed, Globalist interference, low grade people in politics, uncontrolled low skilled and illegal immigration and (not least) the sloth brought on by the years of abrogation of responsibility for our governance to the EU. Tice clearly recognises all this and his promise of a “contract with the people” is laudable, in so far as it goes, I even think he “gets” the scale of the challenge but it all seems to be (here I admit I could be wrong) what he thinks people want to hear, rather than what he truly believes can really be done. Could he get rid of The Home Office and replace it with a “Department For Immigration”, would he be able to immediately reform the judiciary, would he be in a position to scrap “Net Zero”, all in the first weeks of an administration (however unlikely that may be)? I very much doubt it, and that would be just the tip of the iceberg.

I’m not going to labour the point, this is just my personal opinion and we all have a big decision to make some time this year. I know I’m not alone when I say I feel totally betrayed by this government and couldn’t in all conscience, give them my vote. Labour is a shambles, riven by infighting (possibly even more so than the Tories) and in thrall to the “Progressive Liberalism” that also pervades Lib Dems and Greens. I may find myself voting Reform by default, knowing, as I make my “X” that, in all likelihood, Tim Farron will be my MP and there’ll be a Labour government in power, a government likely to be even worse than the current one. Sometimes I get to thinking that, short of an actual revolution this nation, to all intents and purposes, is in its final death throes, a victim (in no small part) of the pervasive cult of said “Progressive Liberalism” and all that goes with it. Could Reform save the day? I’m far from convinced but the alternatives (currently) don’t bear thinking about.

Late Post Script: Getting involved in the Ukraine debacle & taking to “X” to crow about it isn’t the smartest thing an ambitious politician, relatively new to the game, could be doing. Being all things to all people rarely works out.

© Colin Cross 2024