Posts filed under ‘great people’

gardening with kids (during a heatwave)

It’s over 3 weeks since our last Saturday morning allotment visit and we didn’t make it yesterday either. It’s been unseasonably hot in the UK for weeks now and our weekends are such a precious balance of down time versus adventure.  Yesterday was the first day of the school holidays and we relished sitting around […]

Continue Reading July 23, 2018 at 6:32 am 14 comments

gardening with kids – sunny Saturday mornings on the plot

We made our Saturday morning visit to the allotment yesterday. The day before I’d received a text from Dave to say our runner beans were coming up so we were excited to go and check their progress and see how the rest of our seeds were doing.

brothers at the allotment
I love how random and unexpected nature is. Out of 15 runner beans planted 2 weeks ago a handful have surfaced but most are still hibernating. Our first sowings 4 weeks ago are showing varying signs of progress – the lettuces are coming along beautifully but there’s no sign of watercress, carrots or kohl rabi yet. I had it in mind that carrots took 3-4 weeks to germinate but when I checked the archives for the first carrots I ever grew it was more like 5 weeks before they appeared.  It’s always a bit of a guessing game as to whether they’re just slower growing from year to year or whether it’s a failed sowing. We’re at a wedding next weekend so if there’s no carrot life signs in 2 weeks time we’ll either sow another row or switch to dwarf beans which always germinate pleasingly quickly.
brothers working at the allotment
This week we arrived mid morning and Luca was awake and was actually quite helpful.  He still can’t grasp not walking across little plants but it was a chance we had to take.  Last week arriving at the plot with a sleeping toddler was useful but it was so much hotter arriving at lunchtime. George was working away and not available for a lift home so we knew we’d need to have enough power for the walk home. Luca spent a happy 10 minutes poking soil around with his trowel while E and I watered and planted shallots.
toddler weeding at the allotment
toddler running at the allotment
Dave gave us some Roma tomato plants the sweet scent of which fills me with such joy (it’s all down to my love of green tomato chutney and needing to grow my own for that).  Dave finds it amusing I think that I love growing tomatoes over and above all else!  As we’re not around next weekend I took a chance on bedding in the tomato plants rather than waiting for them to get bigger in their pots.  We’re so lucky that Dave takes care of our plot when we’re not there otherwise I doubt I’d take such a chance.

One of the most wonderful things about being part of an allotment community is leaving the plot with freshly picked produce even though your garden isn’t producing anything edible yet.  Dave gifted us asparagus, cabbage and lettuce and you probably don’t need me to tell you that it tasted better than any you’d buy in the shop.
freshly picked allotment grown asparagus
allotment grown lettuce

My favourite photo from our visit yesterday is this last one.  There’s something so wonderful about fresh, vibrant green vegetables – as beautiful as any flower to an allotment grower (if you’re thinking ”that’s a bit weird” don’t worry, my husband thinks so too!) 

I’m going to share our muddy rooted lettuce with Darren at Photalife as part of his #mysundayphoto link up.  It’s our first time joining in and there are some terrific pictures from other families if you find yourself with some browsing time on a lazy Sunday afternoon

Photalife

May 20, 2018 at 12:15 pm 18 comments

gardening with kids – watering, wigwam making and wise words from an old friend

On Saturday morning the sun was shining, the sky was blue and there were whisperings of ”allotment, allotment” in the air. It was already 2 weeks since our last visit to sow our first seeds of 2018. I knew there wouldn’t be many signs of life in our seed beds but I wanted Euan to understand the importance of being habitual with our visits, especially to water on sunny days. It’s a about a 25 minute walk for little legs to the plot and I’ve accepted Euan can only really do it one way on a hot day to remain moan free. Last time we got a lift down with George on his way to work but that meant we were there an hour before our allotment guardian Dave arrived and toddler Luca was full of energy, excitement and mischief. On Saturday I decided it would work better to play at home for a bit and walk to the plot when Luca was ready for his nap. It wouldn’t give us much time to work but on a hot day our visit would be cut short anyway as there’s little shade on the plot. I set my sights on achieving one task of sowing some new seeds and anything else would be a bonus.

6 year old watering at the allotment

Sometimes knowing you are short of time is good for concentrating the mind and in the 30 minutes that Luca napped we managed to water our seed beds, sow a row of beetroot and make a wigwam for our runner beans. As expected there was no sign of our carrots (they usually take about 3 weeks to germinate) but the lettuce was peaking out of the ground and the water cress was showing some signs of surfacing.

handful of runner beans for planting

Euan was excited about making a runner bean wigwam and surprised by how quick and easy it was. We borrowed 6 bean poles from Dave and pushed them into the ground in the shape of a hexagon. We used 2 cable ties to fasten the poles together at the top and then planted a bean either side of each bean pole and a few spares in the centre. Euan was intrigued to see the different varieties of beans Dave had saved from last year and said he felt like Jack in the story of the magic beanstalk as he popped them in his pocket to walk back to our patch to plant them. I’m not quite sure how the 3 varieties of beans we planted (white, purple and black and brown) will differ in appearance and taste but that’s half the fun of gardening using saved seeds isn’t it!

6 year old making a runner bean wigwam

Dave offered us some greens to plant as he always sows more than he needs so he can share plants with other allotment holders. We declined the offer as we only have a small amount of space and I wanted Euan to grow things he enjoys eating. He was quite keen to grow a cabbage, inspired by a photo in Dave’s shed of him holding a giant 36lb cabbage, but he was easily persuaded not to when I pointed out it wouldn’t be ready until summer was long gone. Each year Dave tries to beat his 36lb record and there’s a friendlyand informal giant cabbage growing competition that goes on among other growers on the plot that starts with donations of Dave’s seedling cabbages.


Dave's giant 36lb cabbage - nipitinthebud.co.uk

We’re saving the last bit of space on our patch for some tomato plants Dave is currently bringing along in his shed. Tomatoes are my favourite produce to grow and the reason I took on an allotment in the first place (thanks to my love of green tomato chutney and not being able to source green tomatoes anywhere). I’m really hoping our tomatoes don’t suffer blight again like they did last summer. At least when you only have a small patch the loss of 4 plants doesn’t feel as great as the year blight destroyed over 20 previously strong, healthy, fruit giving tomato plants.

We were delighted to see our friend Henri at the plot on Saturday. He’s a familiar figure during harvest time when he leaves the plot pushing his bike laden with his allotment grown produce. Henri will celebrate his 94th birthday this year which is amazing having undergone a triple heart bypass operation 7 years ago. He’s in pain every day and beginning to struggle with some of the heavier allotment tasks but his plot is still immaculate and abundant. Henri is Italian and grows grapes on his allotment that he nurtured from seeds smuggled insidea hanky in his pocket when he arrived in Gloucester soon after the second world war had ended. His brother had been a prisoner of war in the Forest of Dean and stayed here when he was freed having fallen in love with a local girl. Henri decided to join his brother in Gloucester and he took on his allotment not long after. It’s amazing to think his grape vine is truly one of a kind in England and he makes about 14 litres of wine each year from the grapes he picks.

6 year old and 93 year old allotment buddies

Henri is so knowledgable and we all love to hear his gardening wisdom. When I asked if I could take a picture of him with Euan he said ”Of course” and reached his arm out for a hug. I loved the picture I snapped but there was something missing. I took a second picture and this time got Henri’s bike in the frame. If you know Henri you just can’t picture him down at the allotment without his bike!

6 year old and 93 year old allotment buddies

I think this second picture could be one of my all time favourite allotment photos now. I love what it says about Euan’s delight at simply being on the allotment. I love the ease of these two allotment buddies, born 87 years apart, in front of the camera and with one another. And it reminds me of a picture I shared in another post featuring Henri called ”I is for … inspired by older people”.

Talk to old people, they know cool stuff

Conversation connects and encourages people. We all have cool stuff to share and we need more ways to bring people of different generations and cultures together. All over the country this is happening on allotments and I feel so lucky to have been welcomed back into this beautiful allotment community with my boys.

© ‘‘Talk to old people, they know cool stuff you don’t. Talk to young people, they know cool stuff you don’t” image was from a website called ‘We are what we do’ which is sadly no longer on-line. The brilliant book created by them called Change the world for a fiver’ can still be found pre-loved though.

Keeping it real logo - debsrandomwritings.com copy
design3

May 11, 2018 at 8:28 am 15 comments

gardening with kids – our first allotment sowings of 2018

21-4-18- allotment-first sowings 2018 - nipitinthebud.co.uk-12.jpgI’m so happy to be returning to the allotment this year thanks to our friend Dave giving us a small patch of ground on his plot, just like he did last year when 5 year old Euan tried allotment growing for the first time.  I was a bit dubious about how productive it would today with a wandering toddler in tow so set my expectations low to avoid any sense of frustration.  If nothing else we’d enjoy some fresh air, sunshine and chats with lovely allotment holders.  We did just that having arrived an hour before Dave with no tools or seeds (our amazing plot guardian Dave he even shares his shed palace with us so we can just rock up without having to bring things with us!).  It was so lovely to chat to our old plot neighbours Pat and Robin.  I had feared I might feel wistful for the days when I was able to spend all day at the plot but I obviously love my kids more than gardening which is good to know! I love being at the allotment but enjoy it in a different way now.
21-4-18- allotment-first sowings 2018 - nipitinthebud.co.uk-4

It’s beautiful to see how much Euan loves being there too. Admittedly he loves exploring more than the actual gardening at the moment but he shows interest and diligence with the latter when he does help because he gets to have some free time to play first. Pat and Robin are very gracious about him doing laps of their plot via the secret path behind the shed and zig zagging along the pathways between their vegetable beds. On this occasion, between playing hide and seek and pointing out plants he recognised, Euan assisted Pat with planting her seed potatoes (she didn’t need the help of course, but E was thrilled to be given the responsibility of tucking the potatoes into their trench).  This is what I always loved about the allotment – the sharing of knowledge between generations and the relaxed and easy sharing of time.
21-4-18- allotment-first sowings 2018 - nipitinthebud.co.uk-11

Euan correctly guessed the name of the rhubarb plant and happily helped to tug some stalks from it when Pat offered us some.  We also received some forced rhubarb from Dave so we shall have to decide how to use our two kinds of rhubarb.  The beauty of blogging is that there is never a shortage of ideas so a quick look at my post 5 ways with… a ton of rhubarb will be a good place to start!
21-4-18- allotment-first sowings 2018 - nipitinthebud.co.uk-721-4-18- allotment-first sowings 2018 - nipitinthebud.co.uk-821-4-18- allotment-first sowings 2018 - nipitinthebud.co.uk-9

We wandered over to Dave’s plot to await his arrival and saw that he had prepared the ground for us so we could get straight on to the business of sowing our first seeds (I know!  how lucky are we?)   We rummaged through Dave’s seed tin and Euan chose kohl rabi after his success with growing it last year, Autumn King carrots, watercress and lettuce.
21-4-18- allotment-seeds sown

Luca was actually quite interested in what we were doing but had to be distracted with invitations to dig holes away from where we were working.   He just couldn’t grasp the concept of walking around the seed beds every time he decided to make a beeline for me.  He loved the watering can but found it a bit ‘‘big, big” .  I admired his determination to keep returning to the watering can and check whether it was still to heavy.  A couple of lines of seeds later and it was just the right.  He looked so pleased with himself as he dragged it over to me.
21-4-18- allotment-first sowings 2018 - nipitinthebud.co.uk-13

Luca definitely worked up an appetite for his snacks after all that effort.  He’s not a big eater but loves nibble sized fruit and veg and chomping his way through apple slices occupied him for a little while at least.  I can’t wait until our allotment growing starts bearing fruit as I always loved snacking on green beans, peas and berries freshly picked.  I think Luca will too so it was very thoughtful of Dave to give us some space right by the blackberries.
21-4-18- allotment-first sowings 2018 - nipitinthebud.co.uk-14

The allotment provides a sense of community for us that is lacking in the street in which we live (as home owners in a street of tenants and students who come and go). We have history at the allotment and there’s an ease in conversations as we stop to chat with people tending their plot. Although we had a 5 year gap after letting go of the plot when Euan was a year old it feels like we never left. Only now we have the privilege of enjoying the space and growing again with 1/10th of the effort it would normally take.  It makes it a joy to be there with the boys and we are ever grateful to our wonderful allotment friend Dave. Gardening with kids is fab!
allotment gardening with kids_toddler wandering
design3

April 23, 2018 at 10:02 am 12 comments

living with intention – 10 questions that help

Happy first day of Spring. I’m sure I’m not the only one for whom 2018 seems to be flying by? I was flicking through my journal this morning as my daily thought dump has fallen by the wayside. I was reminded of this lovely little reflective ritual I adopted for the first time at the start of the year. I’m sharing it to remind me to make it an annual habit from this year onwards and because it might be something you’d find useful in 9 months time. I think it’s a nice alternative to making well intentioned new year resolutions to review the year you’re saying farewell to. I highly recommend reading the full article article by Daisy U on the No Sidebar blog click here

Luca wowcam with Happy New Year glasses.jpg

10 questions to live with intention – an end of year review

1. What makes this year unforgettable?

2. What did you enjoy doing this year?

3. What/who is the one thing/person you’re grateful for?

4. What’s your biggest win this year?

5. What did you read/watch/listen to that made the most impact this year?

6. What did you worry about most and how did it turn out?

7. What was your biggest regret and why?

8. What’s one thing that changed about yourself?

9. What surprised you the most this year?

10. If you could go back to last January 1st, what suggestions would you give your past self?

I don’t wish to share my answers to all of these questions (perhaps I will come January 2019 when I’m comparing notes) but here are the first 3 answers at least. It’s certainly good to be reminded of the things I’m grateful for. It may change day to day but ultimately the rock on which all my experiences are grounded is the strength of my relationship with George. Ever grateful to be going into each New Year with him by my side.

”Some of the things that made 2017 unforgettable: Euan turned 5. I celebrated my birthday with friends for the first time in over a decade. Luca had an earthside birthday and then a 1st birthday. We went to the Isle of Wight, camped on Exmoor National Park and visited family in Germany. Euan and I grew veg at the allotment. We had a half term adventure to the Science Museum with cousin Kian. Euan won best costume for his BFG outfit on World Book Day. I chose not to return to work. A dear friend got married. One of my photos was published in the Children in Need ”This is Britain” photo book. All sorts of terrific things. The realisation that I don’t need to give energy to upsetting things. I started to let go”

”I enjoyed all of the above. Getting back into blog writing. Taking photos. Having a really good connection with the boys. Committing to a monthly Hand in Hand parenting group.”

”I’m grateful for George. Supporting me with the tough stuff even though he doesn’t always get why anxiety makes it tough. Gifting me Tuesday mornings for time alone. Working full time so I don’t have to. Telling me I’m a great Mum. Loving our boys as fiercely as I do.”

March 20, 2018 at 2:52 pm Leave a comment

a Dr Seuss birthday party

Our big boy turned 6 in January! I can hardly believe it really as it still only seems like a blink away that he finally made his wonderful entry into the world. We wanted to give E a party to celebrate this milestone birthday (each year feels epic but this one was accompanied by losing a his first baby tooth and gaining 3 molars!). He chose Dr Seuss as a theme following on from the standard set by his 3rd birthday and we returned to the same venue, our local community cafe Roots to celebrate our fab boy with family and friends. What a wonderful time we all had thanks to Steph and Tom from Limitless Kids coming to do some party games and E’s buddies embracing the request to dress up. Even making the party food was fun as G and I made our best efforts at Seussian names for the nibbles.


February 8, 2018 at 10:38 pm 1 comment

musical stories inspired by life in Gloucester

Imagine it’s 2010 and you’re reading this in the week that I actually wrote it ….

‘Sorry I haven’t a clue’ on BBC Radio 4 was broadcast from Cheltenham a couple of weeks ago and Jack Dee set the scene by saying ‘Cheltenham is often referred to as the gateway to the Cotswolds‘.  Proud ‘mmms’ rippled through the audience and then laughter when he added ‘and if that’s the case then Gloucester is the ASDA of the Malverns’.  Having lived in Cheltenham for the first half of my life and Gloucester for most of the second half I can happily say I’d choose ASDA City over Cotswolds Town! Gloucester has a lot of heart and is a down to earth patchwork of people and cultures and with a rich history.  

We’ve lived in Gloucester for over 12 years and made some good friends here.  The naming of ‘best friends‘ that seemed so important as a child ceased being necessary when I married my best friend in 1998.  Our dearest friends come hand in hand with lovely others now so how could I possibly single out any one person, other than G.  Well I couldn’t but I completely understand the affection with which some people are able to name that one special ”best friend” in their life.  G is one of them when it comes to our friend Dan.  And what makes Dan worthy of this title?  Well, I won’t embarrass him by sharing all his wonderful qualities and endearing quirks here but the strength of Dan and George’s connection is tied to their shared passion and talent for music.  They’ve created some of the most moving tracks I’ve had the good fortune to smile, sway and cry to and I’m sure the quality of their music making is rooted in the depth of their friendship and their openness to love and let go in equal measure.  Music reviewer Stephen Morris said ‘their music is as sumptuous and gorgeous as it is poignant and imaginative”.

Nocturnal City Journal album cover copy

(click on the album cover to listen to Nocturnal City Journal)

The music Stephen was referring to was ”Nocturnal City Journal’‘ , an album of 10 tracks telling the stories of imaginary residents of the old worn out historic English city of Gloucester.  Big Blue Sun made a limited run of CDs and once these sold chose to make their music as widely available as possible on-line.  So you can listen and download any of their 4 album recordings from Soundcloud or Bandcamp.   

One of my favourite Dan/George collaborations is ‘Wisdom is Blue’ which contains the thought provoking lyrics

”How come making war can be called keeping peace? 
How come lovers are the ones we mistreat? 
How come everything is equal till you’re sitting in my seat? 
Wisdom’s a colour and the colour is blue.” 

Thanks for bearing with me if you’re still reading thus far. It probably seems a bit random to have tweaked this post rather than hitting delete on 7 year old copy. But it serves to remind me how G’s need to craft beautiful, meaningful music runs through him like the writing through a stick of rock.  Although Dan no longer lives in Gloucester G continues to be inspired by the City we live in and has been awarded funding by the Arts Council to develop his creative practice making music inspired by and performed in 8 iconic spaces around the City.

G recorded his first piece of new music last week in St Mary de Crypt Church with a choir and string section.  It’s going to be an amazing musical journey you can follow each month via his Musical George Moorey Instagram page.

G is such a natural networker and collaborator and his SPACES project is bringing together not just musicians but writers, poets, photographers and film makers.  Each performance is being filmed and will culminate in an interactive trail next year as part of Gloucestershire’s History Festival.

Image credits:  Dan and George with guitars on the beach in Brighton in 2007 – shot by Tom Oldham.  Photographs on Big Blue Sun album cover and the Spaces project photographs – shot by Shane Young.  Film maker Chris Watkins discussing documenting the St Mary de Crypt recording.

July 2018 update:  George has completed all 8 Spaces recordings now and is releasing a film a week from now until the project launch as part of Gloucester History Festival on September 5th.  This first recording is the first release and is so beautiful.

It was 5.30am when George played ”The Quietness of Stones” video to me for the first time. I listened to the music while seeing familiar faces among the musicians and choir. As our friend Sebastian hit that first note I cried, releasing the feelings of isolation and exhaustion that had been building that I hadn’t shared with George for fear it would effect his music making. The feelings of overwhelm and anxiety and Mum guilt that hits hard when you’re parenting small ones on little sleep or company. It’s not always easy being married to a creative person but the George I’ve loved for over two decades wouldn’t be the same without the music running through his veins. I’m in awe of everything he’s achieved through his #spacesgloucester project.  If you have a minute or two to spare please taken a listen each week and RT the links I share on Twitter.

Best Foot Forward logoI’m linking this post with the supportive and positive blogging community that is #BestBootForward hosted by Kate on Thin Ice and Indigo Wilderness. It’s a weekly linkup for sharing positive celebrations of life, successes through challenge or simply spreading a little cheer.  Kate posted a prompt about friendship this week so if you have any posts to share on that beautiful topic please come and join us.

November 17, 2017 at 1:28 pm 6 comments

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About Nip it in the bud


Welcome to my blog about growing and cooking allotment veg since 2009 and growing sweet boys since 2012. Take a walk with us through our life in Gloucester with a boy, a baby and 3 cats.

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Cheery uppy post sent with love is always good but especially heartwarming when you know someone has sat down with a pen and paper and given minutes of their time to create something for you
I've always quite liked the "family rules" meme boards but never found one that didn't elicit a "yes, yes, nooooo" from me when I read the list of rules. I was in the right place at the right time today when I saw this one and offered it a home with us.
Tea for three. We're eating cashews and wowing at how they are grown and shelled. Worth a Google if you've never really thought about it!
Regrann from @elluminations - . @musicalgeorgemoorey has released the next Spaces track Illuminations (or should that read Elluminations?!) based on the story of a 9th century monk and his cat Pangur Ban (a favourite childhood tale of mine). Here's the original artwork I made in response to the track. Greetings cards available in my etsy shop! #spacesgloucester #pangurban #monk #blackfriars #originalart #artistsofinstagram #etsy #etsysellersofglos - #regrann
Regrann from @musicalgeorgemoorey. Me - piano. On Monday I'm releasing "Illuminations" - a song based on the story of Pangur Ban, a 9th century monk's cat - recorded @GlosBlackfriars. #spacesgloucester #lookcloserlistendeeper
The labyrinth at @gloucestercathedral
Regrann from @musicalgeorgemoorey - Stunning.
We visited @gloucestercathedral today and happened across the @workofheartgarden (click link to find out more). Claire created the garden after losing her husband Ken. You can download the pattern for a heart to donate and raise funds for @suerydercharity. We made a donation to buy two for the boys to hang while thinking of a loved one. Claire's had over 50k hearts sent to her - that's the power of love for you
This may be the best board game ever invented if you like the silliness of Dr Seuss stories! (Horton hears a who game!)
Luca in his happy place @sandfordparkslido - he just doesn't stop smiling when he's there and sings non-stop in the water. He is so super confident because even at just 2 years old he can stand unaided in the kids pool. So all we have to do is Bob about next to him pretending we're at a spa, perfect :0)
The Hawaiian goose whisperer @musicalgeorgemoorey (or as he said "not really, I've got a bag of seed") at @wwtslimbridge
Euan found treasure in the playground at @wwtslimbridge. Thank you Hannah , he loved rehiding them and secretly watching other children find them. #wwtslimbridge #gloucesterlife #loveontherocksuk

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