Allotment Adventures: Halloween Pumpkin Walk

Last Saturday was the Pumpkin Walk, we raised over £7,000 and I had a sore arm from pouring all the mulled wine.

Here are some pictures…

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Friday Links

Happy Friday!

I’m a relationship virgin. I’ve been in relationships but not for about 10 years, so although this doesn’t mirror my experience, I really understand it. Also the TED talk by Bella DePaulo is fab.

Fifty years on, the Abortion Act should be celebrated – and updated. I’m pretty clear that this was a good thing. Abortion is going to happen regardless of it’s legality and yes, I do know people who had backstreet abortions before 1967, and it was horrendous. That women don’t have to do that anymore is a very good thing but the law does need to be updated. If you are anti abortion, here is my response, first – don’t have one, second – when when all the children that are born are adequately cared for, when there aren’t children in care and on the adoption list, when there is no child poverty, when no parent of a disabled child is left struggling and unsupported by society and no children are caring for disabled parents, when children at risk of abuse aren’t. In fact when all children currently born are properly cared for and valued, then lets have a discussion about whether abortion can be banned.

While I’m at it, this about the man who shot David Gunn (an abortion provider) is scary.

The war against Pope Francis. I’ve given Francis a rough time, I’m still not convinced that he’s all that but having read this, he’s gone up in my estimation.

A story about book piracy

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Boiled Chicken

I talk a lot about how my childhood shaped the way I cook, but apart from Grandad’s Bread Pudding, I don’t have a lot of recipes from my childhood. I don’t remember Ma following them or having many cookbooks around and although she can cook, she doesn’t take pleasure in the process.

But there was food, there was a sausage casserole thing that we called roly poley, there was mince, there was corned beef hash, there were pies and there was boiled chicken. Which is exactly what it sounds like. A chicken boiled (usually in the pressure cooker) with onions, carrots and potatoes. It wasn’t a stew and Ma usually served with rice, although you can make dumplings if you want to but they tend to change the texture of it. It should be thin, like a broth with chunks of meat and veg in it.

It’s the food I want when it’s cold or I’m sick and after a few attempts, I’ve finally got a method that tastes like my mum used to make it. Is it as good as hers? Is there anything better than your mum’s cooking when it’s something you love? No probably not but it’s pretty close and it makes me happy!


4 chicken legs

potatoes – any sort, I usually half or quarter about 250g of new potatoes but Ma used bigger ones and peeled and chopped them

4-5 carrots – chopped into large chunks. Peel if the carrots are looking manky, otherwise throw them in unpeeled

2-3 onions, peeled and cut into 6 wedges


salt and pepper to taste


This is really easy. Put all the ingredients in a slow cooker, add water to the top, cook on high for 5 – 8 hours

Take the chicken legs out and remove the bones and yucky stuff then return chicken to pot. That’s it. I eat it by itself or with rice.

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Goals Recap, Goals Set – October/November 2017

November is the grimmest month.

My hatred of November is well known but this year I’m trying to remind myself that it isn’t all bad, some of my favourite people were born in November!

But before I start to wax lyrical about how I’d like to spend next month in hibernation, I need to talk about October…

In October I wanted to carry on with the good things so put an emphasis on sleep and maintaining the golden hour.

I also wanted to set good habits through unemployment, so aimed to get up by 8am and go for an hour’s walk each morning and I committed to three solid hours of properly looking for work Monday to Friday. 

Lastly I really wanted to turn my focus away from myself a bit and remember to practice gratitude for the live I do have and remember to help other people.

I didn’t set any plot goals but in the house I had a list.

  • Defrost freezer
  • Clean oven
  • Deep clean bathroom, bedroom and kitchen
  • Launder bedroom rugs
  • Sort/Rearrange the cupboard of doom

Honestly folks, it didn’t go well. I did sort out the cupboard of doom, I applied for 2 jobs and interviewed at an agency, I also helped at the Foodbank and volunteered at the Pumpkin Walk. I did yoga every morning for about two weeks until I lost the motivation, I haven’t even read that much.

I realised part of the way through the month that I was in shock. I’m not really unhappy about redundancy but it was a shock and the way I left was to put it mildly, brutal. Basically, I couldn’t say what was going on and I didn’t get to say goodbye to anyone. My manager didn’t even say thank you for the five years and 10 months that I’d been there. So I was in shock and while I’m ok about it, I needed October to hibernate (always my autumn go to) and recover my mojo a bit, you can measure how bad it was because there was much Netflix and not much reading!  Overall, I’m happy with October I did some of what I set out to do and I took time to adjust but November is time for action because it will make me feel better and the money won’t last forever!

November Goals

So November needs to be about focus and making sure that I’m occupied and active. First thing is the exercise, I have bought a new fitbit, they are not the most accurate measure but they do make sure that I move more. So 10,000 steps a day at least, no excuses and 30 days of yoga every day. I also really want to finish the cross-stitch that I’ve been doing forever and I have an idea of where, or more to the point, who it’s going to!

In the house, most of last month things and tidy out the chest of drawers in the living room and under the bed. This month I am doing something about my bed, it might be a new bed, it’ll definitely be a new mattress and it’ll be significantly less hassle if under the bed is clean! The rest of the house is in good shape but I want to get to the one off jobs before Christmas.

I need to reach out and start really looking for work, contacting agencies and applying for jobs so that will be a focus, I have this month and then I will sign on, I would like to avoid that, it’s a soul destroying experience but needs must…

Other things to think about, while I’m not working, I’m going to help at the foodbank on Monday afternoon and think about how else I could use my time well and for more than just lazing about…

The allotment is will wind down this month so, I’d like to paint the shed and cover the beds that aren’t being used, I also really need to get the garlic and broad beans in and burn some rubbish and cut back and dig up the raspberries. I’d also like to frame in a bed or two but we’ll see how that goes.

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Best/Worst 23 to 29 October 2017

Happy Monday!


Settlement money and being able to plan. This is a big deal for me. It also got me a new laptop, some debt paid off and a fantastic lunch with Ma. 


SlothI’ve been struggling a bit this month and not being very pro-active or positive and the beginning of this week, it hit it’s nadir. I’ve watched a lot of Netflix and done a lot of outlining of the cross-stitch but not a lot else. I rallied at the weekend but still!

Honourable mentions to signing up with an agency, my new laptop which came just at the right time as the old one gave up the ghost on Thursday night, baking, eating a winter squash that I grew, Netflix (Endeavour and Lewis apparently, I like a murder!), finally getting my mojo back and having ideas and motivation, the Halloween Pumpkin Walk and seeing my non-allotment friends turn up to witness my Ma’s cake selling skills, me as a bar maid and my decorated plot, dinner with Kathy and Adam, cinema trips (Thor: Ragnarok)

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Sunday Music

It’s been a while

I know of Hayseed Dixie but hadn’t heard this which is genius..why didn’t I know about it sooner

Also check out their version of the drunk rock classic Livin’ on a Prayer… (drunk rock because it’s the party in the kitchen classic at Mike and Christelle’s)

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Friday Links

Happy Friday! This week has been a bit cold and dull.

For those of you local to Ealing, the Halloween Pumpkin Walk is happening on Saturday from 3.30pm, I’ll serving at the bar for the first two hours, if you can please come and support us!

Here are this week’s links

Keep your pink out of my drink. I agree

Universal credit isn’t working in Inverness

Tory power is only sustained by cruel confidence tricks

If a local council behaved like the the govt would be screaming blue murder but have done nothing here. Collapsing Wakefield City Academies Trust asset stripped school of millions before collapse.

Five maps that show just how rammed London is.


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