Weather cold, grey, grim; though they are promising spring by the weekend. Decided I must get out more, despite the chill.
The direct route to Sleaford, our nearest town, is along the very busy, very cyclist-unfriendly A17. So I go by the quiet, pretty back roads, a longer way round. It’s nice and flat, of course, but I’m not very fit and the seven or eight miles feels like plenty. So, after pottering around town, my bike and I go home to Heckington on the lovely train.
Above is a picture of the River Slea, not far from Cogglesford Water Mill (another working mill) where I get a cup of tea and a book of Lincolnshire Cycle Routes called On Your Bike!
In the week of Margaret Thatcher’s death, how can I not be reminded of her friend Tebbit’s famous exhortation to the nation’s unemployed? Echoing across the years, I hear that same cruelty and brisk scorn that ring through our politicians’ pronouncements about poverty today.
I arrive home glowing from my exercise and musing on our divided, unequal, materialistic world. A hapless courgette from today’s vegetable box becomes a focus for my frustration (wastefulness of transporting something mostly water around the world etc etc).
The courgette meanwhile gets on with doing what courgettes do best; it is delicious in an omelette, with tasty chard and potatoes.
p.s. It’s easy here to buy good, locally-grown vegetables, but the ones we get in the weekly box from Woodlands Organic Farm are particularly nice, maybe even as tasty as if we had picked them from our own garden. Highly recommended.
A vegetable box arrived bright and early this morning from Woodlands Organic Farm at Kirton, in the fens near Boston. When still back in Manchester, I asked famous Unicorn Grocery about their Lincolnshire suppliers (of whom there are quite a few, this being the vegetable basket of England). They put me on to friendly Pam, from Strawberry Fields farm and she told me about Woodlands.
I’ve never done the veg box thing because in the years that box schemes have really taken off, we (or rather partner) have been growing our own. The vegetables look very nice (especially the fine cauliflower), but I’ve been eating off an allotment, very seasonally and very locally, for so long that I am disconcerted by red pepper and courgettes in January.
I have a strange urge to hide them; so into a soup they go. Also in the pot are onions, a red chilli and squash, all grown on our old plot at Southern Allotments. The squash (pictured above) is a beautiful Crown Prince, grown from seeds given us by a kind friend who also has an allotment.
Crown Prince, with its lovely grey-green, ridged skin, reminds me of a pale green teapot I bought many years ago – contemporary English pottery but with a celadon glaze and very Chinese look about it. I wonder if it is only coincidence that the squash looks like my teapot, or if perhaps some long-ago Chinese potter was inspired by a squash.
Also into the soup I put a couple of bay leaves from a tree which came with me from my Brixton garden nearly 23 years ago. So absurdly pleasing that it has flourished in its pot through all the Manchester years and is here with me in this new place: my continuity girl.