Top of the pile(s)

The top of the pile

There’s not much gardening been done in good old London town this week due to the Christmas festivities/very wet weather but this morning I did rip up a few big cardboard boxes from the kid’s christmas presents (image above with brandling worms posing at the top of the pile, the vain gits!) and whacked them in the compost bin in layers in between some kitchen waste (remember to keep your pile well-balanced, man!) And the more varied stuff you put into the heap, the better quality that will come out of it and all that good compost is free (and you can never have enough of it!)

Compost bin number 1 can’t take much more now so the other darlek type one I’ve just emptied (bin number 2 which I got gratis off the council, so check if you can do the same!) will now be the one I’ll start to fill again. Talk about full circle!

While down the bottom of the garden I noticed there’s still a massive pile of cuttings/prunings that couldn’t go in the bins and that I need to get rid of, so as soon as it all dries out (some chance with this blimmin rain) I’ll be getting that incinerator back into action (cue neighbours complaining and slamming their windows shut!)

Also one last thing. I’ve got some assorted herbs on my kitchen windowsill (Basil, Lemon Balm, Coriander and the like) and it’s attracting a lot of mini-flies even in this climate. Any ideas how to keep them away?

Cloches over the Westway

Um Bongo

I was rummaging through some boxes in the loft for some horticultural fleece the other day and found a cassette by a band called Bongo Joe featuring a cover of “Sympathy for the Devil” that I acquired many moons ago in 1983. The band featured a couple of members of St Alban’s legendary punks The Tea Set (Nick Egan and Nick Haeffner), samples of Florence Nightingale and Neville Chamberlain and backing vocals from one of Bananarama, a bonkers combination to say the least (more on the St Alban’s punk scene from that time here.) I then became misty eyed while I recalled how I think I might have obtained the tape. People who dislike punk nostalgia please look away from your screens now…

Cloche city rockers

In 1978 me and a mate decided to hitch-hike to Bury St Edmunds to see local heroes The Specials supporting The Clash. I haven’t much memory about the actual gig but I do remember coming out of it with my mate and being surrounded by an angry gang of hairy bikers (not those two chefs off the telly who I’d like to think would rather give you a pork pie recipe than a good kicking.) These lot were hell-bent on inflicting some damage on us, the largest and more leather-clad one out of them all screaming at the top of his voice  “You f-ing punks are dead,” nice! My 16 years of life flashed in front of me, then out of the blue a punk came to our rescue, grabbed both of us and whisked us away. The next minute we were in The Clash’s hotel room and I remember being very excited being there and seeing Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon dancing around to some mad dub coming out of their ghetto blaster (something off Joe Gibbs – Chapter 3 possibly?) I was very shocked as well (being a very naive 16 year old at the time) to see quite a few girls sitting outside in a line outside the band’s room later. Mary Whitehouse wouldn’t have been too happy about it.

After a short while in the hotel (the party being quite a tame affair by the way) we got a lift south from the punk who introduced himself as Nick Egan and told us about his band The Tea-Set, (their grafitti used to adorn a motorway bridge on the M1 around Hemel Hempstead, ever seen it?) We also found out that The Clash got their stage gear made for them by some nice little old ladies in North London, great eh? After our lift I kept in touch and I am sure it was Nick who sent it to us.

I’m now feeling very nostalgic, spiking up what hair I have around the sides like a post-punk Roger De Courcey and contemplating doing the punk kicking dance, even though I could only manage a minute or so these days! I’ve just thought wouldn’t it be great if the remaining members of The Clash (R.I.P. Joe Strummer) are now enjoying the delights of gardening in their older age…

Anyway, have a good old xmas holiday and remember it’s not long before those potatoes have to be chitted!

Dubbing it in a festive style

A big festive greeting to one and all! As Saint Nick’s on his way it’s only fitting that we post up this oldie but goodie after hearing it again on last week’s Echo Beach (which also features Madtone’s Dark Dread amongst other good stuff. Cheers for the play Terry C!)

We’re trying real hard to feel festive tonight as the rain is in horizontal mode and there’s a cyclone blowing outside (watch out for those flying cloches and greenhouses!) One show that’ll get us in the mood is Dr Strangedub and DJ Baby Swiss’ Echo Chamber on KFAI. Click here for their great Christmas in dub special.

Big up all our gardening/musical friends around the globe and we raise a glass to you all!

Life is sweet

Sly and Robbie, Lenky, Chico and the Taxi Gang – El Cumbanchero – Taxi

Two tunes to brighten up this Saturday night on the run up to xmas. It’s tipping it down outside and cold as hell. Two to whack on full blast while perusing those seed catalogues and supping a double Baileys!

Tessela – Hackney Parrot Special Request – Houndstooth

One from the balearic bailiff

Test Pressing_4Here’s a great podcast that’s been on rotation all this week at Weeds HQ. Test Pressing Radio Show 4 featuring Apiento and our old mate (the balearic bailiff/toothgrinder/facepainter) Phil Mison which is available here.

Some top tunes on here including these two killers! One to play while cleaning soil off those Dahlia Tubers!

One scotch, one bourbon and one (special) brew

I'm only humusPopped out in the back garden for an hour and a bit this afternoon while the sun made a suprise appearance. I mainly tidied up and “tipped around” with a hoe (as my good mate Leo used to say at the council, and I tell you a lot of “tipping around” was done on a friday afternoon!) I also made up the levels on the raised beds with some top compost now ready from one of my bins. You always could be doing with more of the stuff when you see how good it is and there is never enough! I still haven’t perfected the recipe yet as there still a lot of unrotted eggshells and slivers of potato shoots but that isn’t much to complain about as the stuff is well rich and will do the garden well!

Liquid coshI also made my first batch of “One Deck special” a combination of comfrey liquid and the muddy stuff that comes out of the bottom of the wormery (essentially worm wee!) It has a dubious look and I wouldn’t  advise you to smell the stuff as it’s well putrid and I’m sure mine has maggots in it too (nice!) but I’ll be feeding me plants a watered down version of it next year and I’ll let you know how I get on.

jamaica conqueredEarlier this week I found a great site called “How Jamaica conquered the world” which has some great podcasts featuring how the Island has influenced the world from sport to music and more. Click here for the list of the episodes which range from Arthur Wint (Jamaica’s first gold medalist), The fair city of Birmingham, The birth of Hip Hop, Easy All Stars, Toronto, Lover Rock and much more. Well interesting stuff from Roifield Brown delivered in a different style!