Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Orchard Selection.

My embryonic orchard/nuttery presently has four cob trees; three cherries; three pear trees; six apple trees; three plums and a quince. I still have an area to clear of its willow and brambles. Hopefully I will be able to denude it before the end of March. I commenced the task today and managed to cut down four willow saplings each of which was approximately twenty feet tall. It is surprising how little wood they provided for next year's wood pile. Probably not much more than one night's supply.

Cutting them down was the easy part. Digging out the roots was much more difficult. I did however leave myself with a five foot length of trunk to provide leverage. If I do manage to clear the balance of the orchard area I will be able to plant another eight trees. What to purchase? More apple trees? Well probably two or three more. I think that I will also opt for another couple of quince. A mulbery tree would be a nice addition as would some medlars. I would also like a walnut tree but its size dictates that it is not appropriate for the nuttery/orchard. Perhaps I will plant one along the boundaries of the lower garden, I must turn my gaze to the online catalogues and determine what types of trees and varieties require to be purchased.


Monday, 28 December 2015

The Inconveniences of Christmas Training.

I didn't manage to go for a run on Boxing Day. I have to concede that that was a definite downside to the day. I have been running for so many years that there is an inherent need to go for a run, or at least get an hour's workout on a daily basis. Without that fillip to the day I feel, however unrationably, that I am putting on weight and becoming unfit. If you aren't a runner or into fitness you won't understand this worm of worry. If you are you will completely understand the worrisome vacuum that is created by a day of inactivity.

Thankfully yesterday and today didn't flash up any obligatory visitations and I was able to enjoy my daily exercise fix. That's not to say that such social interludes can't be and indeed are enjoyable but I dont remember a Christmas when I truly determined how I was going to spend the entirety of the Yuletime period.



Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Replacement Wellies


I consigned my five year old wellingtons to the black bin this morning. This was something that I should probably have done several months ago. The heals of both the boots had worn away to such an extent that they weren't waterproof and both sides of the right hand boot had splits. I accept that I had worn them for a few thousand working hours but I still felt somewhat aggrieved that they had now failed me and forced me to find replacements. Still a wellington that permits the ingress of water is definitely not fit for purpose.

The search for replacement footwear took me to the hardware emporium that is called Workmans. Not for the first time I was ushered up one of their wooden staircases which had probably been constructed more than a hundred years before building control regulations had been thought of. The wellingtons and other boots were housed in a bare stone walled storeroom. I ultimately selected a pair of Goodyear Stream Wellingtons. The thickness of the thermal lining, (3.5mm) and that of the outsole were probably the factors that determined my selection. The price of my new wellingtons was £40. One is always being told that the cheapest deals are on the Internet. I have to concede that I did find one website selling these boots at a cheaper price. I could have saved one pence but I would have had to pay for postage!


Saturday, 12 December 2015

Londonderry Street Names - Part 2

At page fourteen of the Street List and Key to the Ordnance Survey Maps for the City and County Borough of Londonderry of 1940 is a listing of streets which had two distinct names in current use. The first listed names were the authorised names. Three of the first cited names are marked with an asterisk. In those instances one side of the street was referred to by the authorised name whilst the other side of the street was referred to by the second name. Very confusing!


Beechwood Avenue. - Beechwood Park

Carlisle Pass. - Breakneck Steps

Chapel Road. - Chapel Brae

*Cooke Street. - Gordon Street

Derry View. - Bridge View

Fahan Street. - Bogside Street

Limavady Road. - Clooney Road

*Mary Street. - Cooke's Terrace

New Street (Rock). - Rock Terrace

North Street. - Cottage Row

Rossdowney Road. - Kilfinnan Road

St. Columb's Road. - Browning Drive

Shipquay Place. - Guildhall Sq.

* Stewart's Terrace. - Charlotte Crescent

Strand Road (part). - Pennyburn Road

Victoria Park. - Dunfield Park


Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Londonderry Street Names - Part 1


In 1940 the City Engineer and Surveyor for the City and County Borough of Londonderry published a small linen backed booklet entitled, "Street List and Key to the Ordnance Survey Maps." As well as listing the streets within the Borough, the name of the nearest main Street is provided along with the length of the thoroughfare, the class of road and its position on Ordnance maps. A fairly prosaic exercise at the time but the passage of years and the planned or enforced redevelopment of the past seventy five years has meant that many of the streets are no more. Even more interesting for those who delve into local history is the inclusion of the old names of various streets. Some examples of these are set out below.

Haw Lane - now Academy Road

Greenslaid's Row - now Aubrey Street

Rosemary Lane - now Bennett Street

South Street - now Bishop Street Without

Carabine Place - now Carlisle Place

Breakneck Lane - now Carlisle Pass

Ponsonby Street - now Clarendon Street, (Upper).

Corbett Street - now Pilot Row

King William's Square - now The Diamond

Gratuitous Street - now Ferryquay Street

Gilmour's Lane - now Hawkin Street

Middle Passage - now Guildhall Street

Rosemary Lane - now Linenhall Street

New Walk - now Foyle Street

Silver Street - now Shipquay Street


Monday, 7 December 2015

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow and .......

Another year clocked up and thankfully still no major repairs needed to the human bodywork and no pills or potions required to keep the pistons and engine functioning. That said I know that I am getting older no matter how much I might rail against the thought.

Every year it becomes harder to retain speed and to keep ahead of those very average younger runners. Occasionally one of the blighters will knuckle down to training and highlight my decline. That doesn't help the old psyche but for the moment I don't intend to go gently into the dark night of the former runner. I will attempt to be more specific with my training; target particular races; rest when I can; train with younger runners and push myself for as long as I can.

On cold wet nights it is very tempting not to pull on the running kit and venture out for a run but I know that if I don't do it that I will be angry with myself and equally I know that I will be missing out on that precious hour when I am able to forget, albeit so very transiently, the sucking quagmire of the, "what if," and, "what will happen," questions that otherwise fill my waking hours and gnaw away at the rest.


Saturday, 5 December 2015

Christmas Sprouts


The oft maligned brussel sprout is probably the vegetable which is most closely associated with Christmas. I don't know why so many people dislike the humble sprout. Equally I don't know why it is regarded as such a necessaire of the dinner table on the 25th December. True it is a winter vegetable but so are carrots, parsnips, turnips, swedes, leeks and cabbage. Whatever the reason the shopper for Christmas sustenance seems obliged to throw a bag of sprouts into his or her wire basket.

I truly enjoy the crunchiness of the raw sprout and whilst I am more than happy to consume several or more on Christmas Day I also enjoy consuming their brethren before and after the festive period. I grew on some two dozen brussel sprout plants this year. They aren't quite as good as last year's specimens but they have been providing the vegetable imput for a couple of meals per week for the last month and I expect that this production will continue until the end of January.