Latest posts by obelixx


Posted: 20/11/2014 at 17:20

OH and I have birthdays between now and December 7th and, since we live in Belgium, we also have St Nicolas to contend with on Dec 6th which meant Possum had to have presents then too so as not to be even more different than the other kids.    Possum's birthday is in January so Xmas is something we get around to eventually and we keep it low key.

Nowadays we have dance classes too and I am president of the club so can have some fun.   The last Wednesday before Xmas is a rum and nibbles Salsa class and the last Friday is ballroom with Santa bonnets, mulled wine and nibbles (they're getting mince pies this year). 

Belgians have their main feast with family on Xmas Eve.   We still do ours on Xmas day but there are just the 3 of us and none of us likes turkey so I cook duck breasts with a spiced wine sauce and naughty gratin dauphinois.   OH does his own sprouts and gets a small Xmas pud.  Possum and I have something chocolatey.

We like a proper tree with decorations picked up here and there at various Christmas markets and lots of lights plus candles and garlands but no tinsel or streamers.

We exchange gifts after breakfast and take the dogs for a long walk and then I play Christmas carol CDs while I cook.    Always listen to the carol service from Kings too.

Boxing Day is a working day here but OH always takes it as holiday and we do more dog walking.    Nice and quiet and restful.

New Years is a huge feast here and for the last few years we've gone out dinner dancing but this year we're hibernating and staying at home



Talkback: Cooking green tomatoes

Posted: 19/11/2014 at 12:43

I like the sound of a green tomato cake but for me I'd have to save some for fried green tomates as served at the Whistle Stop Café.

I didn't get any tomatoes this year.  All the plants were clobbered by a freak hail storm in late May so too late to buy or sow replacements.   Three chilli plants survived though so all is not lost.

Sparrowhawk dilemma

Posted: 18/11/2014 at 23:48

Sparrowhawks are beautiful and only catch the weak or stupid birds so are also part of natural selection.   Our visitor doesn't get much at my feeding station but when he/she does, often as not it's a collared dove rather than a tit or sparrow.

I have friends who have 4 ponds, one of which is visited by a kingfisher.  They actually buy small goldfish to stock it for him.     They have bigger specimens in the upper ponds and are philosophical about herons. 

Overgrown climbing rose

Posted: 18/11/2014 at 21:59

As long as you've tied in as many branches as you can, it's safe to prune off any excess growth now to prevent if being damaged by winter gales.   The main pruning to encourage flowers is best done in spring.   The RHS offers this advice:-


Talkback: Trees for small gardens revisited

Posted: 18/11/2014 at 11:42

Never mind the trees.  It's the way he writes that is so entertaining and informative and he mentions interesting plants which can be researched if not known.

I shall miss the blog but wish him well.

I trust his own blog will continue once his house move is completed.

storing chili's

Posted: 18/11/2014 at 11:40

Freeze them whole or make chilli jams for adding to sauces.  Flavour oils and vinegar with them.   Blitz with butter and some garlic if you like then roll up like a sausage in cling film and freeze. 

Strictly 2014

Posted: 17/11/2014 at 17:51

I watch it when I can as it's good for tips on choreography and technique but I'm out at dancing myself 4 nights a week - line dance on Tuesdays, salsa with OH on Wednesdays, looking after Hip Hop on Thursday and then we have ballroom on Fridays.  

You certainly do need to remember all the steps to do them well, especially when learning new ones each week.   We had a special class of Viennese waltz yesterday afternoon and I can now do the open steps, left turns, right turns and a flekker.  Now to perfect the technique and posture over the coming weeks at our regular practice sessions and also find a cure for OH's Viennese sea sickness......

We found the Argentine Tango routine very impressive and loved all the others except Sumetra whose samba was weak and Judy who, though it was her best dance yet, will not a dancer make.   The right people were in the dance off and the right person went this week.   


Blooms in November

Posted: 16/11/2014 at 10:15

I have a Red Ballon clem which has one  or two flowers left but most are over and have become lovely silky seed heads.  It starts flowering in June and the bees love it.

Blooms in November

Posted: 15/11/2014 at 17:57

There are still some roses in the old rose garden at Great Dixter.  He liked roses, just not as monoculture and it's true taht growing to many together invites pests and diseases.

I have Teasing Georgia, Sceptr'd Isle and Generous Gardener roses still flowering well.   Clematis Princess Diana, Sunset, Nelly Moser and Rahvarinne have flowers on them too.  I have a home sown white agapanthus which is flowering strongly and pots of acidanthera and persicarias, rudbeckias, Japanese anemones, pensemons and verbena bonariensis if flower..

More seasonal stuff is the winter flowering jasmine and hardy cyclamen plus, as I found today, the first of the snowdrops are out.

No doubt tomorrow I'll find more in flower when I tackle other parts of the garden - in between baking chocolate cake and biscuits for our Viennese waltz class in the afternoon..

I cannot wait for the first frost

Posted: 15/11/2014 at 17:45

It would be error here.  Mine will be lifted tomorrow, drained and then wrapped in newspaper and stored in the garage which never freezes.   My two hardy fuchsias have been transferred to a window box with 4 of the tender trailing varieties and they will all spend winter together in the attic - under a Velux till they lose their leaves.

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