Hot yellow sun chutney: limited edition





This is it. The one and only reason growing yellow tomatoes. I wanted to make a yellow tomato chutney relish thing. This is an recipe for chillied tomato relish that I have adapted. You will see from the image what has been added. Whilst I have failed to grow any orange habaneros, two hot Thai chillies did find their way into this relish as well as one big red one and two green birds eyes. I have plumped it all out with yellow peppers.

Doesn’t look too bad, but perhaps too many mustard seed. A bit tart at the moment, but it will be sitting for at least a month.

Sampling Shakespeare: loves labours lost

If you like downton, the village, Jeeves and wooster. You will like this. The setting of the stage, is brilliant. Well crafted and reminiscent of the Edwardian-I think-era.

Then there is the story. Two, interwoven romantic narratives. Tugging at the heart strings, you also feel your sides split with hysteria. Never has The Bard been so funny. Well, the propeller company’s Midsummers night dream is the closest comparison.

The setting is good, lavish, resplendent. When the ladies of France and the princess arrive, you are transported back to a window in history. The age of aristocratic elegance. The king, his courtiers, have the most beautiful dressing gowns as they swoon over their respective ladies on the roof.

The Spanish fella, and his valet, offer the second love struck story. No idea who he is, but that is the role that would be Stephen Fry’s if he fancied it. Or Alexi Sayle, for that matter. His story does lose a bit of weight and just fizzles out. I did find the scenes with the curate and master a bit superfluous. Perhaps my hearing is bad, but the master was barely audible.

The ladies do not swoon, they have the stiff upper lip here. They have the swagger of champions as the boys huff, puff and basically trip over their tongues. The boys, are in the full throes of love; as the girls push and pull without flexing a thing. They play games to agonise the boys. Shakespeare’s women, are in this instances, strong, wilful, and independent.

The play descends into a mirthful farce, song dance. The play within a play. With a cracking soundtrack, that gives the whole show a level of opulence that one wouldn’t expect for Shakespeare.

Not knowing the story, I fully expected the couples to end up together. That doesn’t happen, more fool me. Big surprise for me, given the romance. There was a lump in the throat as at the end; four soldiers march across the stage. A reminder, of how it’s partnered play ‘much ado’ is set in the same house after the Great War.

Looking forward now to ‘Much ado’.


Blue moon rose: what a misery


Don’t get me wrong, I love my roses. They are beautiful, and mine have been really productive. A real pleasure.

Except this one.

This bloom, the blue moon hybrid rose. This has to be the most miserable rose I have had the misfortune of cultivating. It grows rather spindly and slowly, throwing up only a handful of blooms. Compared to the rest of the plot, this is a fairly bottom set rose.

Miserable year for chillies




This has to be the least successful year for me regarding chillies. Not a single one has been borne to fruitition, even with the poly tunnel. I had more success last year with out one! The orange and chocolate habaneros, bengle and Dorset nagas, serrano, jamaican jerk are lovely and green. There are clutches of where flowers. But not even a smudge of fruit. They are warm, mostly with the mild temperatures we have been experiencing; watered too. But this year I have experienced a complete and abject failure.

Sunshine yellow: tomatoes and a cauliflower

yellow toms

The sunshine has helped mature some of the tomatoes. As I await the vast majority to go red, there are a clutch that have gone a lovely bright yellow. Most of these are yellow stuffer. Whilst they are not the same size as yellow peppers, they are a similar shape. There is not a lot of tomato-y stuff inside, as they can be stuffed. These are a nice fleshy, firm fruit through. Not particularly delicate. I guess as they have a large cavity, they might not be full of tomato taste as one would normally expect.


Ma has harvested a cauliflower, she tells me that was football sized. I say was, as it has been eaten.

Bond and his beautiful addled brain

‘The man with the golden gun’

Yeah, M is definitely Bond’s surrogate dad. And I’m having to read M as Ralph Fiennes. As much as I like Dame Judy. It’d be Fiennes all the way. And Daniel Craig. A slightly skinnier, Daniel craig, though. And maroon5, their latest studio album ‘V’ is the on loop soundtrack to the end of novel franchise.

Right from the off, the novel hits the ground running. Continuing from it’s predecessor, the transition is clear.

Plus bond is a mess. You just know he is. The last mission and his already broken brain, of course Bond is in pieces. He is bond, and not superman.

The opening, is brilliant, but a case of yes, what else did you the reader expect. Again, keeping up with the arcs is necessary. M voices this plainly, he obviously saw it all coming.

Above all. This is James Bond.

You do not rule out anything.

As a teacher of Psychology and student of counselling theory; I nearly choked on my iced lemonade. bond is treated by Sir James at The Park with ECT( the reasons for which are the brilliant beginning). Perhaps a reference to the developments within Psychiatry at the time at which Fleming wrote; the description of the procedure is strangely evocative of ‘one flew over the cuckoos nest.” I’d want to give Bond a big man hug, but in terms of counselling ethical boundaries want to listen to him. That would be an interesting situation. Bond and the person centred therapeutic approach.

We have the episodic encounter with the villain. The infamous Scaramanga. I found it clunky, and some what long and windy. Unsatisfactory, to say the least.

As ever, Bond is flesh and bone. A mere mortal, it would be rude for bond not to get damaged, dented and some what defiant. For all the poop that bond has to wade through, he should of course receive a pat on the back. The way in he says thanks but no thanks, is funny. Chiming in beautifully with how previously, bond hated being a faux aristo. One can only imagine what the Queen might say. She might even shove him out of an aeroplane.

There are two more Fleming ‘Bond’ novels remaining. The question posed beyond these two, is will I continue with the non canon books?

I dunno. Any advice?

Bond Book: the green fingered villain

‘You only live twice’

Of all the things to have in a ‘Bond’ novel, a garden being used as a weapon. ‘A garden of death’, pronounced Tiger, the head of the Japanese national secret service.

Okay, to set it into context, Bond is widowed and falling apart. Bunkered off to the Far East by a beleaguered M, Bond is trying to turn himself around. And that means Sake. Lots I of it. At least eight flasks, for one double martini.

But the horticultural aspect is amusing. Gardening is meant to be good for you. With a whole litany of positive effects.

My money, as I swiped the pages, was of course on Blofeld reoccurring. Swiss fella with an ugly wife, you start adding these things up. It does help if you read these books in order. As the reader, you are not as naive as bond; you can grasp the omniscience of Fleming as the writer. For all his braincells, Bond doesn’t seem to clock on.

He does eventually, as Tiger gives him an education and makes Bond a honorary Japanese. There is of course, a Bond girl. This one is not naive, having courted Hollywood and met the lovely David Niven.

There is of course the show down with the villain; bond having figured out who it is. All well and good, this appears to be a Fleming device. A laboured, protracted build up and wham. An episodic window where bad guy and bond meet.

The tail end, I did not see coming. It does however lend itself to the next book, ‘The man with the Golden gun’. What I did not see coming, were the words attributed to M and Mary Goodnight. A reminder, within context, of Bond’s human frailty. Summed up neatly by Blofeld terming Bond a thug directed by dolts in authority. Then there is the Bond girl, her actions are described in a vignette that makes you smile. All because the lady loves bond. Since he dressed as a ninja, that famous sales slogan seems apt.

Three more to go.

Grafting through Grafton

I have got as far as ‘L for lawless’, the alphabetic instalment of Kinsey Malone’s Private Eye detective series. I am aiming for a ‘Grafton day’ where I can read a good few of them and get through the books.

Having read some but not all of Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe novels, Kinsey Malone is the eighties, non noir crime equivalent gumshoe. Yes, the novels are formulaic, they plod through procedural stages as Kinsey pootles through in her well loved and fairly pranged automobile. But they are readable. There is the ability to be transported away to the fictional town of Santa Therese where you meet the varied strata that make up the spectrum of the local populace.

Having arrived half way through the eighties. I have few salient memories of that era and graftons description stucco houses and parcels of lands, evokes images of papier mâché models that architects might build. Reading, it does feel as though Grafton was sat in the cabinet war rooms in London. Moving Kinsey, the bad guys and the plot along, as though she was discussing a game of ‘Risk’.

Even at the K stage, we don’t know much about Kinsey. Yeah, she’s been married twice. And one of them, is a feckless toad with musical tendencies. She lives in a shoebox outhouse thing built by her landlord Henry, who I always imagine to be one of the fellas from Goonies. Her family, of which there was a only one aunt; is now coming into the picture. Kinsey is skittish and hesitant about what she might uncover. So yeah, she can go rattle the closets of crooks to shake out the skeletons, but her own cupboard under the stairs has a very a sticky door. Being an ex-copper, Kinsey has a yeah but no relationship with the local police department. Guess that works, even Batman needed a copper and so did Angel in the Whedon-verse.

Bond and the books

Going slightly crispy in the Ibizan sun, lends itself to reading more of the Ian Fleming ‘Bond’ Novels. Steady headway is being made through the franchise. With Octopussy/living daylights, you only live twice and the man with the golden gun remaining, the journey has been something of a roller coaster.

‘The spy who loved me’ was not the best. Mainly as Bond is reduced to a bit player, who conveniently just turns up. The female protagonist-the book is written through her eyes-is clunky, naive, scared and a sap. Characteristic, of all of Flemings females. I dislike his construction of female characters. In my humble opinion, Fleming would have benefited from a chat with Joss Whedon. Whedon, knows full well that strong female characters are more than capable of having a mind of their own, without having to drop their knickers. Often displaying bigger, and better balls of steel than their male counterparts.

So I was a bit cheesed off; not particularly relishing ‘on her majesty’s secret service.’ I have always known that there was a Mrs.Bond, albeit briefly. So this was the kicker for the book. How does the worlds ultimate diamond geezer get the girl?

Well, he has an epiphany. It is that simple. James-M calls him that from time to time-has a moment. And for all his toss pot ness, you could almost give him a hug and tell him well done. He is after all, slowly killing himself. Mrs bond-Tracy-is pretty much doing the same. Two kindred spirits who could mend each other.

Alas, is still a damsel in distress. And you will have to read it to know what happens; if you like me, are not likely to watch the film.

The plot itself is far fetched. I did laugh, and at bond being a faux aristo. Especially, when the movies give him that feel anyway. There is brief mentions of skyfall and world is not enough. A very short shutter lens moment into Bond’s background. Christmas dinner with M, is a cosy window that reminds us of how alone James Bond is and always will be.

Blofeld is indeed there, but a broad brush stroke. Reminiscent, actually, of ‘Thunderball’. The one thing that kept me going through the book though, was the sketch from the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics. The one with Her Majesty and James Bond parachuting from the plane. Now I see the link!

Reading ‘for your eyes only’ was a disappointment. A little fish, that hildebrand rarity, is all it hinges on. A book, that I really didn’t get. Oh, and guano. I think there was poop involved.

It will be a year at Christmas, I chose to investigate Bond. The investigation, continues.