About this web site, and me – what you can expect
If you are looking for a slick web site which specialises in one thing, and is well ordered, logical and tidy …. this probably isn’t it!
If you are interested different things, in collections of curiosities, then maybe you are in the right place, or in one of the right places, or perhaps have found a stepping stone on the way to the right place. I’m not really sure where I’m going with this.
I mainly cover allotment subjects and beekeeping but the site also reflects some of my other interests, such as food history, recipes, and Kurdistan. I also enjoy photography and include a few small galleries, mainly of daft stuff I’ve seen on my travels.. Oh and I reserve the right to inflict my terrible poetry on you at any time.
In the column on the left hand side there’s a list of ‘Coming Soon!’ articles I’m currently working on, collecting images for, making videos about, or recipe experiments. It’s a ‘work in progress’ list and there’s no telling which article which will reach completion first. Sometimes I suddenly start work on other ideas, and publish almost immediately, which then pushes the remaining stuff down the list a bit. If something crops up in my life then an article on here can appear shortly afterwards. I publish between one and three pieces per month, in my spare time, either on this web site, or on my YouTube channel. The list gives you an idea of what might be coming, but articles not listed on the left may just suddenly appear, if something suddenly grabs my interest.
By the way there’s an automatic glossary which highlights new, unfamiliar or technical words the first time they appear in an article. If you hover your mouse over such a word then the definition will pop-up. I tend to favour my own definitions, which aren’t necessarily the same as you would find in the Oxford English Dictionary.
There’s a list of all the words currently added to my glossary in the ‘Glossary’ menu above. I add more each time I write an article.
I hope you find something interesting, fun and/or educational.
So what’s on this web site?
ALLOTMENTEERING and GROWING
I aim for self-sufficiency on my allotment. You’ll notice that I used the word ‘aim’. I’ll never be completely self-sufficient because you can’t grow fish and chips, and courgettes will never, ever be an adequate substitute (for anything actually), but I do my best.
I only started a few years ago, from scratch, on a small strip of rubble filled disused land beside a car park, and then I was lucky to get an allotment. So I’m definitely not an expert, and anything I confidently state as fact should be immediately compared to what experts or small children think. With nobody to show me how to go on, I do lots of interesting experiments, and make many mistakes, but it’s all good fun, and even the failures can still be edible (if you boil them for long enough, and you like stews).
I really love my allotment.
As with allotmenteering, I only started beekeeping a few years ago but things are going in the right direction at last, after a stressful start (which lasted for over two years). I started by collecting all the relevant manuals, old and new, but it took years to realise that the bees don’t read any of them, and do exactly what they like (sometimes deliberately in my opinion). We seem to see eye to eye now (most of the time) and things are getting easier year by year. I’m pretty relaxed about most things now but you can never let your guard down with the little blighters.
I repair and make my own hives, catch swarms, and experiment with hives and techniques. I make mead from the honey and I also make stuff from beeswax: lip balm, furniture polish, creams, boot waterproofing, etc.
I also continue the ancient English tradition of telling my news to the bees, or as my mate calls it “Talking to a wooden box in a field”.
I’ve never been quite sure if I am keeping bees, or they are keeping me.
For fellow beekeepers I have gathered together all relevant links for articles and videos so that you can see what subjects are available without doing searches. Go to the ‘Beekeeping’ menu at the top of the page..
RECIPES, COOKING, FOOD PRESERVATION and WINE MAKING
I do all of these, mainly with produce from my allotment or from my bees. The amount of information on the internet is overwhelming so I research, then test, then simplify, and present my results here. I live on a boat so. I only have a single 3ft x 2ft worktop in my kitchen, two LPG gas rings, and no fridge, so things have to be simple and effective. But just like our ancestors we can achieve great results with limited resources. You don’t need a big fancy kitchen, though, if I’m honest, I’d love one.
The wine and mead making is virtually all done at my allotment. It was great when I just had a few demo-johns lying around the boat, they actually added to the character of the boat (in my opinion), but since I’ve upscaled to 5 gallon buckets the wine had to live somewhere else. or I did. It happily bubbles away in a shed now, summer and winter, and despite incredible temperature fluctuations, and almost total neglect, still provides me with amazing results year after year.
Other stuff on the site includes food history, traditional skills, trips and travels, poetry, and anything which takes my fancy really. You can get a rough idea from the categories list to the left of this page.
Many of the subjects on this web site are supported by videos on YouTube where I have my own YouTube channel.
Relevant links to videos are provided in each article, and are also summarised under the ‘YouTube videos’ menu above. This also includes videos which aren’t in any way linked to postings on this web site. You never know, I might not be the only one in the world who is interested in the Tom Pudding Hoist at Goole. I came across a widget which allows me to display my latest video in the sidebar on the left so that you can have a quick peek if you want.
I am currently (Sept 2018) working on creating my own online shop in which I will sell my book ‘Survival Advantage’ and also my beeswax products, and in particular my famous lip balm. If I get it right (and I haven’t done so far) then a menu entitled ‘shop’ should appear at the top, in the menu bar, when it’s done. It’s a bit more complicated than I initially thought. I need to get/buy/download all sorts of techno things which are referred to in abbreviations. Working on it!
Unless otherwise stated, all pictures and videos on this web site were taken by me, and all written content was generated by me. There’s nobody else to blame.
Please feel free to contribute to any article, or to leave comments on this web site, or on any YouTube video.
p,s, I have another web site called Kippers and Cobblers, which displays all my research on traditional British foods.
Thinking about web sites on the Pennine Way …… Honestly!