Latest posts by steephill


Posted: 11/12/2015 at 14:02

Loch Lomond has frozen a few times since the '20s - some great photos here

I remember the complete freeze in 1963 when we walked out onto the ice. Some local lads drove a Mini over the ice to Inchmurrin so I expect the wallabies were able to escape quite easily. Especially if they remembered to bring their skates.




Posted: 11/12/2015 at 12:39

Re: Loch Lomond wildlife  Back in the '70s there used to be a bear park near Balloch on the banks of Loch Lomond whose inhabitants regularly escaped ( a large tree overhung the fence!) and went for a wander in the village. I was walking past a local restaurant when I saw what I thought was their big Newfoundland dog in the back garden. Then I thought "that dog is getting very big" before having a Holy S***! moment. Thankfully they were fairly gentle creatures and no-one ever got hurt that I can recall.

The wallabies are even older though having been introduced back in the '20s. The local police were fed up with motorists calling up to say "you'll think I've been drinking but I haven't and I just saw a wallaby!".


Posted: 08/12/2015 at 12:07

I discovered that enzyme based stain removers like Vanish etc. do a brilliant job with greasy ovens left too long .  I soak the removable panels, shelves and the inner glass door for a few hours and the baked on gunk comes off like they pretend it does in adverts for squirty cleaners.

Why can't I buy leaf mold from garden centers?

Posted: 31/10/2015 at 22:05

Simple economics I think. It would be very expensive to collect the quantity required for a commercial operation. Add on the time it takes to rot down and you would have to price it like gold leaf to make money.

Sick Vine

Posted: 28/10/2015 at 12:55

I would have a look for vine weevils. Try an exploratory dig around the root zone to see if there are any grubs. The adults above ground can be hard to spot but a close inspection might reveal some. If it is the dreaded vine weevil then nematode treatment next year and possibly following years too will be needed.

Cultivating an outdoor vine in North England

Posted: 28/10/2015 at 09:46

You will get better grapes with it in the greenhouse but will it fit? How big is your lean-to greenhouse?


Posted: 22/10/2015 at 23:12

Might be frost damage which can cause russeting like this. The depression on the apple on the right might be winter moth caterpillar damage.

The last of the Bordeaux mixture

Posted: 16/10/2015 at 10:03

Bordeaux mixture isn't fairy dust and its toxicology has been extensively tested - for example

So there are good reasons for stopping its use even if it is inconvenient for us gardeners.

what's best item you've ever won?

Posted: 14/10/2015 at 10:17

A holiday in Paris - twice! OH won one and I won the other. That was back in the 80s when mortgage rates had gone up to 15% and we were stony broke so the prizes were very welcome. 

Also won a high end hifi set and OH won skis and boots back in the 90s but nothing since apart from bottom rung Premium Bond prizes.

Fidgetbones - Hen party

Posted: 07/10/2015 at 00:04

I can bring 5 gallons of 2 year old organic Sussex garden cider for the chaps - only 6.5% ABV though. I also have some white wine for the ladies - genuine Sussex chardonnay! 

On my way to the cloakroom on the way out!

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