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Charlie November

Latest posts by Charlie November


Posted: 11/12/2014 at 19:32

Brian Cooper:

No Scrooge, I! I love Christmas ...

... starting after Saint Lucia's Day on 13 December.

Kids fizzing with excitement, families meeting up, tinsel and little paper dolls and twinkling lights everywhere, the youngest being held up to put the fairy on top of the tree, the growing pile of presents, the mobs of children singing Silent Night in 12-part harmony ... It's wonderful.

What I don't like is the way it starts in August. Let Lucia have her day. Save Christmas for Christmas.


What are you getting rid of...?

Posted: 25/11/2014 at 17:12

Re: weeping sap:

What is bacterial canker?

Bacterial canker is a disease caused by two closely related species of bacteria that infect the stems and leaves of plums, cherries and related Prunus species. It is one of the few important plant diseases caused by bacteria in the UK.

Cankers begin to form in mid-spring and soon afterwards shoots may die back. Shotholes appear on foliage from early summer.


You may see the following symptoms:

  • On stems and spurs: Sunken, dead areas of bark develop in spring and early summer, often accompanied by a gummy ooze. If the infection spreads all round the branch it will die rapidly
  • On leaves: Small brown spots appear which are often round and fall out later to leave holes – as if the leaf had been hit by shotgun pellets, leading to the popular name of ‘shothole’
Control Non-chemical control

Where possible, carry out all pruning in July or August when tissues are most resistant. This is also the best time to prune in order to minimise the risk of infection by spores of the fungus causing silver leaf disease. Cut out all cankered areas, pruning back to healthy wood and paint promptly with a wound paint to protect the wound from re-infection. Burn or landfill the prunings.

The cherries ‘Merton Glory’, ‘Merton Premier’, ‘Merla’ and ‘Merpet’ and the plums ‘Marjorie’s Seedling’ and ‘Warwickshire Drooper’ have some resistance.

Chemical control

Copper-based fungicides (Fruit and Vegetable Disease Control and Bordeaux Mixture) are effective against bacterial disease and are permitted for bacterial canker control on plums and cherries. Make three applications from late summer into mid autumn. These products are not approved for use against bacterial canker on peaches, but the use of these products to control leaf curl disease on peach will give some incidental protection.

What do you have left to do in the garden this year?

Posted: 24/11/2014 at 17:41

Left to do this year: maybe prune this end of what's left of the privet hedge. Loosen the screws on a bird box on a tree. Probably rake up another load of leaves. Plink any more rats that find their way to the bird feeders. Get a tree surgeon to deal with ... several issues.

Left to do some day: remove what's left of the privet hedge and replace it with a sweet box hedge that's more resistant to honey fungus. That's going to be a brute of a job, because ... because ugh. Also because the hedge is between a fence and a flower bed. Also because if I want to extend the hedge to its proper length I need to somehow plant through the Akebia that was under it when it started and is now a full metre from its end. Also because at least some of that hedge is rooted under tarmac! I tried to remove the dead trees to inflict a major setback on the honey fungus and I found a layer of tarmac under the lawn. Apparently the builders spread rubble over the drive and turf over the rubble.


Posted: 24/11/2014 at 17:32

Thanks for the offer, LesleyK, but I'm working today up to Christmas Eve and Boxing Day up to New Years' Eve, so the bird feeders are about as far as I'm likely to go.

As for that song, it took some searching (through some lists of really bad song titles) but ...


When I got home in the dead of night
I chanced upon an eerie sight
For there before me in the pilot light
Was my dear old white-haired gran
She looked at me with a glint in her eye
Threw back her head and let out a cry
She hitched up her skirt
And began to ride
Amongst the pots and pans

Get off the gas stove granny
You're too old to ride the range
Get off the gas stove granny
You're too old to ride the range
If the neighbours were to see you
They would think you awful strange
Get off the gas stove granny
You're too old to ride the range

Well she sucked upon her whisky
Like it was going out of style
Things were really heating up
Because she had been there a while
And I was getting anxious
In case she burst her piles
But she was revving up
To do another twenty miles

You're too old to ride the range
Get off the gas stove granny
You're too old to ride the range
If you go at it much harder
The hob won't take the strain
Get off the gas stove granny
You're too old to ride the range

Well granny kept on riding
Like she was on the pony express
But nuts and bolts were popping
The stove was under stress
The whole lot came crashing down
In one God Almighty mess
She caught her knicker elastic
In her walking frame
Choked herself to death

You're too old to ride the range
Get off the gas stove granny
You're too old to ride the range
To have her surgically removed
Was something to arrange
Get off the gas stove granny
You're too old to ride the range

Well granny she was buried
All the mourners stood and cried (boohoo)
And the preacher said
"She's gone to Jesus (hallelujah)
To walk right by his side"
But I know something different
So I couldn't help but smile
'Cause granny's gone a-riding
In that gas showroom in the sky

Get off the gas stove granny
You're too old to ride the range
Get off the gas stove granny
You're too old to ride the range
Now Granny's gone to Heaven
To ride with Jesse James
Was something to arrange
Get off the gas stove granny
You're too old to ride the range


Posted: 23/11/2014 at 11:32

KEF, she's not called Gretschen, is she?



Posted: 22/11/2014 at 13:38

Tradition says the tree and the decorations go up and the presents go under the tree on Christmas Eve, carols are sung on Christmas Eve, the presents get opened Christmas Day, the decorations all go away on 6 Jan and for the rest of the year it is not Christmas, I do not want to hear Christmas songs on the radio in November and I do not want 15% off the bird food company's Christmas range in August!

By 24 Dec I'm going to be so sick of it all I'll be looking forward to 7 Jan. I wonder what the public reaction would be if I went out shooting at the tacky ornaments that are still out after the Twelfth Day.

Family tradition is that at least one bottle of gin has been consumed by 10am, my uncle asks my father whether he's drinking that (125ml serving of) whisky or making love to it and my grandparents put as much food on the table as physically possible then insist on everyone having at least a little of everything, which means even if you're a 40lb sprat you're expected to eat at least some boiled potatoes, some roasted potatoes, some mashed potatoes, some chips, some carrot sticks, some grated carrot, some mashed carrot and swede, some boiled carrot, some boiled swede, some parnsips, some Brussels sprouts, some cauliflower, some broccoli, some stuffing, some white turkey meat, some dark turkey meat, some peas, some broad beans, some runner beans, some raw tomatoes, some cooked tomatoes, some roasted onion, some fried onion, some Christmas pudding, some brandy sauce, some Christmas cake, some trifle, some biscuits, some cheese, some chocolates, ...

It used to be presents for everyone. These days I may get Grandma a birthday present but everyone else can sod off. Everyone else except the birds. I feed them.

Christmas quiz questions

Posted: 19/11/2014 at 18:53

Just how many seats of government do have rose gardens? The White House has one, 10 Downing Street has one, ...

building houses on green belt land

Posted: 18/11/2014 at 23:01

Sure I've heard that line somewhere else before.

building houses on green belt land

Posted: 17/11/2014 at 17:05

Violent video games? As xkcd put it, if the games we played in our childhoods affected our behaviour as adults, we'd be running around in circles in dark rooms, eating pills and listening to repetitive electronic music.

Christmas quiz questions

Posted: 17/11/2014 at 16:50

As long as it doesn't hatch, you're alright. You don't want to meet what comes out of those eggs.

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Apple tree with white leaves

It seems to be healthy enough, if slow-growing 
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Not a lily. Not an apple tree. 
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Planning? Measuring? Me? 
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Leaving tulips in the ground

Can they be left in if the drainage is good? 
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Last Post: 13/05/2013 at 08:09
9 threads returned