Saturday, 25 June 2016

Around the Athletics Track.

Today was the day of the Northern Ireland Masters Athletics Association's track and field championships. With the huge increase in the number of people taking up running in recent years one might have thought that there would have been a similar increase of numbers at this Meet. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to have been too many runners who have made the move from the ubiquitous 5k to the track.

I suspect that they don't want to be assessed under the running microscope that is the track. You are very visible throughout the course of your race. The inadequacies and deficiencies of your running technique and physique are diagnosed and dissected by the cognicenti and any bye passer with his dog. I imagine that this might be particularly off putting to the more mature female runner. Anyhows the number of competitors was not particularly large most especially in the older age groups.

I was very much in two minds whether I would make the trip to the Mary Peters Track but I ultimately, (this morning at 11am), decided to go and partake of the joys of an 800m and 1500m and join seven others of my Club. I can't claim to be particularly race fit but my fitness levels were more than adequate for the task. Championship races tend to be more a matter of tactics than speed. It is very seldom that you achieve a season's best at a Championship race.




Sunday, 19 June 2016

Egg Plants and Chillis.

A bit late in the year but I have finally planted the aubergines in their final positions in the greenhouse. As in previous years I plumped on a variety which promises large numbers of small fruit. Todays's efforts also resulted in the planting of fifteen peppers of which nine were sweet peppers with the balance being of the chilli variety. All of these have been planted in pots sunk in the greenhouse border. I have several chilli peppers remaining and I expect that these will end up in pots on the greenhouse staging.


Saturday, 18 June 2016

The Door to Tomorrow


So called experts say that people become happier and more content as they progress into their fifties and sixties. I used to think that that was probably the case or at least I hoped that it would be. I needed it to be. It seemed just that there should be some slack water in life's last quartile. Some payback for putting the hopes and aspirations of the moment on the back burner. Some dividend for decades of long hours working at something you ultimately learnt to resent and even hate.

True the angsts of youth disappear or more accurately they are smothered by the weight of the subsequent decades of perturbation and inner questioning and that is a burden that doesn't disappear. It gets worse and with that knowledge each day heralds further dread, further fear, greater unhappiness. The head band of worry tightens, clouding ones brain and pressing into your forehead and cheekbones. It hurts. It pricks at the lacrimal glands. Oh that the door into tomorrow presaged an entry into light not greater darkness. A vane hope. Exercise used to help and I suppose it still does but one stitch doesn't close a five inch gash. Life is definitely a marathon, painful and tiring. I lean towards Macbeth's analysis.


Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Tomato Growth.


It is now five weeks since I planted the tomato plants in their rings in the greenhouse. At that stage they were probably about eight inches high. Since then they have put on more than two feet of growth. I am always surprised at how quickly tomatoes grow. I shouldn't be. It's not that they are catching me unawares. After all I have been growing them for almost fifty years. But there is something so luxuriant and vigorous in their growth that never ceases to amaze me.

The plants have all thrown their third trusses and the lower trusses have begun to set their fruit. I will now have to start feeding them. Every three or four days I have been removing the side shoots so as to ensure that all the plants' energy goes into strong vertical growth and the setting of more fruit. Although I have what would be described as a large domestic greenhouse it doesn't have the height to allow me to get more than six trusses per plant even from the row next the central path. At the present rate of growth I would expect to be nipping out the leaders by the middle of July by which time the first fruit should be just about ready to pull. Tomato sandwiches beckon.