Wednesday 15 August 2018

New Wheels Again

Be not afraid - I have not parted company with my wonderful Jaguar  - Puss is safely residing in her garage. It is my everyday drive that is the subject of this post!!

The other day, I part-exchanged my Land Rover Freelander 2, after owning it for just 9 months and 10,000 miles. I liked the Freelie's chunky styling, the solid all-leather interior, and the feeling that the car could go anywhere... but my car was flawed. It had a seemingly impossible-to-rectify fault which caused the car the lurch or hesitate on gentle acceleration from a standstill. This fault completely spoiled any enjoyment in driving the car. I also disliked the agricultural ride, and the rather heavy six-speed manual gearbox. An automatic would have been so much better.

Here's the now-departed Freelie...

And so...

I have bought a BMW X3......

To give it its full title, it is a 2013 X3 X-drive 20D M Sport Auto.

What???!!! I've bought a BMW..???  Urrrrgh!!!

To me - the X3 is a bit of an 'old man's car' (so maybe I now have the perfect vehicle...???) Yes, the X3 is very smart and superbly comfortable, if not very pretty to look at...  It has more power than the Freelander, has a larger load-space, yet is more economical on fuel (and cheaper on vehicle excise duty too...) After just a few miles of driving it, it is very apparent that the X3 is leaps and bounds more refined than the Freelie (better finished, smoother, quieter, more comfortable). I acknowledge that the Freelie would be the far better vehicle off-road... but I don't drive off-road... The auto gearbox in the X3 is superb - and works just like the Jaguar, with steering wheel paddles for manual gear changes when in sport mode.

What's not to like...??? Oh yes - it looks like a beached whale...

... but it's a nice place in which to sit!

Tuesday 14 August 2018

Allotment update - August 2018

It's a long time since I posted an allotment update, so here I offer a late-summer overview on what has happened veg-wise this year.

I generally plant the same veg each year, though might vary the variety. This year, with some determination, I tackled the cabbage root fly with plastic bottles and home-made carpet collars. The young plants were grown inside plastic bottle 'greenhouses' and once a decent size, and released from the bottles, I placed a square of carpet offcut round each plant stem to prevent the root fly from getting in and laying her eggs.

The ploy was very successful, and I lost no plants to root fly this year.

But then - we had a rabbit....!!!!

The rabbit decimated the broccoli, and also did some damage to the outer leaves of some of the kale. Mr Bunny didn't seem to like the sprouts, and left them untouched. But he did nibble the tops off every one of the runner bean and pea plants as they came up - so we had no crop from them this year. For now - Bunny seems to have departed (I only ever saw one) so fingers crossed that is the last we will see of him!

The other problem this year - unusually for Skye - was a lack of rain! The carrots struggled, and about four-fifths of my first planting simply disappeared. I planted another row later, and we will certainly get something of a crop from them. The potatoes seemed unaffected by the lack of rain, and have done brilliantly again. The broad beans were wonderful, and were harvested and frozen yesterday. The onions are OK - but no whoppers - mostly just medium size. The kale is also fantastic, and the brussels sprouts are looking like they will produce a good crop later in the year.

Front left - potatoes. Front right, rhubarb (just ready for pulling for a second crop this year) and strawberries
Middle bed - brassicas - kale on the right, sprouts in the middle (also carrots, barely visible in this photo)
Far left - onions and swede, far right, more potatoes
The furthest bed (not really visible) is now cleared - it was the beans and peas...