Wednesday, May 17, 2006

So what has been happening the last few days?

On Saturday Ann and I headed off in the car to Portsmouth and caught a P&O ferry "The Pride of Bilbao" for a trip down to Spain. The Bay offs Biscay was calmish going down and very calm coming back. The conditions were perfect for spotting whales and dolphins. One juvenile fin whale breached vertically out of the water several times in front of the boat and several times as If passed along the side of the boat. It became very addictive watching for whales blowing and rolling in the water and watching for the splash of dolphins as they raced in to ride the bow wave. The ferry has a wildlife officer who made regular announcements as new sightings were made.

When we got to Spain there was only time for a very short bus ride tour of Bilbao and about an hour to get some refreshments and do a very quick walking tour. Bilbao is a very pleasant city with numerous parks with flowers in bloom. The Railway station for the Santander and Bilbao railway is very ornate as seen in the photograph. Many of the buildings are interesting and also ornate outside as well as inside. The creamy yellow building is the Cafe Boulevard and is amazingly ornate inside with coloured glass windows and mirrors, fancy gold leafed ceiling mouldings. The cup of cocoa and egg custard was good as well. Another interesting looking eating place was on the Nuevo square. Very ornate exterior and tiled inside. The waiter is always on duty although his posture is a bit wooden. As we wandered around we came across the pilgrim trail de Santiago at the base of the climb up to Begonia. No time to climb up there but we did follow the trail round to the church visited by the pilgrims. The visit was over all too quickly and we were back on to the coach heading back to the ferry for more dolphin and whale watching.

So what had been happening at the allotment whilst we were away. With the rain weeds were springing up so it was back to the fork for the thistles and get in there with the hoe to deal with the rows of onions. I planted some of the Dwarf runner bean plants between the cabbages to act as nitrogen feeders for the cabbages and hoed around the cabbages before putting the wire mesh back round them to keep the birds off. As I was hoeing a Robin kept coming in very close and grabbing any insects as they were disturbed by the hoe. As the compost heap had settled a bit I did three barrow loads of muck to top up the heap. We'll probably turn it over in a couple of weeks time just to keep the rotting process going. The Broad beans have put on a couple of inches of growth as have all the potatoes whilst we have been away. I think they are probably about at that maximum point where you can't get any more earth on them. I'll probably put a picture up tomorrow.

There is rather a lot of the white sprouting broccoli waiting to be picked and I went home with a bucketful and that was just from two heads. So teatime was a very quick vegetable curry using a tin of curry dahl chick peas, a tin of veg curry with some fresh broccoli cut up into it with some chopped ginger to take away the brassica notes. After heating it was piled onto a naan bread.
The next dish will be a spicy black eye bean and broccoli soup and then the rest will be blanched, bagged up and frozen for later use.

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