Thursday, December 31, 2009



A Boxing Day Swim

IMG_0603 I know that a lot of my readers on this blog, live in the southern hemisphere, particularly coastal Australia and to all of you, I apologise for writing an article on such an everyday thing.

As I have previously mentioned, I have left the Kitchen Garden in France to fend for itself whilst I visit friends and family in the United Kingdom.

Over the Christmas period I have been staying with my family in a beautiful, Victorian coastal resort on the Isle of Wight, on the south coast of England

There is an old tradition here where people go for a swim in the sea at noon on Boxing Day.  This year was no exception and with temperatures around 5°C and the sea temp about the same there was a surprising number of volunteers, all prepared to swim for charity.

Prior to the swim it had been raining quite heavily but for the few minutes of the event, the sun broke through and temperatures raised ...ooooooh....probably to 6&176;C!!!!!

I spoke to one middle-aged lady who explained that she had swum in a full penguin costume and that once she was in the sea, she had to ask her sister to pull her out as the costume was so heavy.


My congratulations and support go out to all those who took part and also to those foreshore cafes who opened up specifically for the event offering hot drinks to those elders amongst us who felt the cold rather more than the copious numbers of ladies in their teens and early twenties who were sporting their best bikinis.

It was a great day.  Thanks Ventnor.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Kitchen Garden in ....

The kitchen garden in France has been left to more or less look after itself for a few weeks whilst I visit friends and family in the UK.

Recent events made it necessary for me to to visit a property I own in the UK and I decided to turn the trip into a longer vacation and visit both family and friends, at the same time.   I shall be here until into the new year when I shall return to the garden in France and try to make a more concerted effort to write on here again.

I arrived in the UK recently and was greeted by some pretty awful weather.   Those that follow the UK news will have heard of the devastating floods that came to Cumbria during November and my thoughts are with all the displaced people that live in that region.  My own family hail from a neighbouring county and I have an uncle who currently lives in Cumbria and has been affected by the flooding, although not to the terrible extent that so many people have suffered.   Apart from the obvious suffering of people losing their possessions during the floods, my heart also goes out to them as they lose a much less newsworthy but equally important thing....their gardens, many of which will have been under several feet of water for many days.

The property in France is some two and a half hours drive from the coast and one of the joys of being here is the ability to walk down to the beach on a regular basis.  During some of the recent storms, when winds in excess of 100mph (160kph) lashed the coast in this part of England , I was truly impressed by the raw energy of the waves crashing along the coastal defences and throwing spray high, high into the air.  One day I walked to the cliff, intent to take a path down it to the foreshore but the winds were so strong I was unable to stand as I neared the edge of the cliff and decided that I would be more than foolish to attempt the path in such conditions.

During this sudden, unplanned, vacation, my own garden is being looked after by a good friend who is also keeping me abreast of developments by email.

Whilst I'm in the UK, I'm trying to find time to help out in the gardens of my family and perhaps even some of my friends will be brave enough to let me loose!!!!!!

I know it's a bit early, but my access to the Internet is quite limited whilst I'm here, so I'm going to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas, great New Year celebrations and a wonderful 2010.  Many thanks for reading this blog during 2009 and I am looking forward to seeing you and hearing your comments during 2010