Winter Crops

I live with the hope that my crops next year will surpass the fine specimines I admired in a Paris street market.

Winter Crops

My first season as a gardener is almost over. I have preserved as much as I dare and am slowly working through the crop of potatoes I grew in whisky barrels. Because I didn’t want to leave the barrels empty over the winter I have sown them with turnip, cauliflower and onion seeds and today deposited a garlic bulb into a tub near the back door in the hope I will have a fine crop in June.

This week’s success is the harvest of alfalfa shoots and bean sprouts. Both of these can be grown all year round indoors and only take a week to grow. The crisp alfalfa has a crisp nutty flavour of the alfalfa complemented, in taste and texture, the carrots I mixed in with it. It is satisfying to have fresh crops straight from the airing cupboard.

The bean sprouts were a little messier than the alfalfa; they were grown in a tray filled with damp loose woven cloth. They required more handling and cleaning but made a fine addition to a stir fry. Both will be on the menu for the next few months.

il postino – DVD

This weeks offering from the Amazon DVD rental was il postino, the Italian made film about the visit of exiled Chilean poet Pablo Neruda to a small Italian community and how that visit effected the life of his postman. The film starred the wonderful comic actor Massimo Troisi who tragically died two days after the film’s completion in 1995. But the star of the film is the stunning poems of Neruda. I own a book of these poems and tingle in awe at their perfection. Like the postie in the film, I am inspired, yet again, to pick up pen and compose.

Just Read – To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee.

I first read To Kill a Mocking Bird at school too many years ago. And of course I remember the powerful performance of Gregory Peck in the film.
My reason for choosing to read this a second time came from a need to experience the voice of a child to help me build up my characters for novel two. And this must be one of the best examples of a novel narrated by a child.

Told through the eyes of eight year old Scout Finch, TKa MB tell the story of three children playing and living in a small town in Alabama before the civil rights movement changes the ways white people view black. The story is about fun and adventure and even contains a bogie man in the guise of Bo Radley, a recluse who lives in Scout’s street. But it is when Scout’s lawyer father, Atticus, defends a black man accused of raping a white girl, that the novel takes on its true purpose and uses the children to expose the injustice and warped human values around at that time.
Although this novel has a large number of characters, they are expertly drawn and nothing is lost in the telling. At times the eight year old’s vocabulary seems too mature, but she is the product of a legal household, which makes it easy to excuse.

I don’t normally read books more than once but I have a feeling this novel will be read for a third time in a few years.


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