ASDA garage proposals are food for thought.

TO say that Asda’s proposals to build a garage on the edge of its Boot Hill site in Weymouth have caused alarm and despondency ranks as the understatement of the year.

That small but blighted area has seen more tears shed by motorists than any other spot in the entire town.

First the Olympic authority and Dorset County Council went to great lengths to tell us all just how lucky we were to have 20 years of road “improvements” telescoped into a single year ahead of the Olympics.

Then they ripped all the town centre roundabouts out and replaced them with the sort of traffic light system you might find in a packet of cornflakes….if you were unlucky.

If the roundabouts struggled to cope with summer traffic then at least, when things slackened off, they worked perfectly well without delaying motorists in autumn, winter and Spring. The traffic lights delay all motorists on any journey they make at any time of the year….and we still get massive queues in summer!

Now the whole debate about transport and traffic flows in this part of Weymouth is literally being refueled by the prospect of a new petrol station on Asda land just yards from the worst motoring point in South Dorset.

Asda’s argument is that it will fit comfortably on its site albeit with the loss of a score of parking spaces in what is already a manic parking area. They also say that most of those filling up their car’s tank at the new pumps are expected to be its grocery customers taking advantage of a new facility on the site.

All well and good, but these petrol customers would formerly have been people who arrived, did their shopping and left.

Now we are being told that they might well hang around on site so they can put a few gallons of fuel in their car which is only going to increase the concentration of traffic on site.

And all this doesn’t even mention the strong possibility that a slower exit may back traffic up even more among those shoppers trying to use the entrance area to get in to Asda and buy their toilet rolls, spuds and the family roast.

We career towards a decision by next week’s Weymouth and Portland planning committee which is being recommended by its officers to grant Asda’s application.

But I think, that if councillors’ debate will be a hard one, then it could be harder still to actually get into the meeting because this is a highly emotive topic and there may well be one or two disgruntled motorists and residents who want to honk a few verbal horns at the whole idea of such a garage in such a place. Fuel for thought, isn’t it?!

 

Bangers and mash

REMEMBER, remember the fifth of November, goes the line which refers to “gunpowder, treason and plot”.
That plot 409 years ago failed after 20 barrels of gunpowder were discovered under the Houses of Parliament which could have turned Members of Parliament into MPs or “Mostly Pieces”.
Instead the establishment of the time failed to find anything funny in the incident and later executed Guy Fawkes and seven other conspirators.
But not everything which has happened on November 5th has a sombre side to it.
Take November 5th, 1844, which apparently marked the first successful operation to remove cataracts from both eyes of a grizzly bear!
The same day in 1935 saw the introduction of the Monopoly game while in 1993 it marked the beginning of custody for one teenage thief who tried to rob a glue factory in Brazil. He didn’t resist arrest because he’d knocked over two cans of glue and glued himself to the floor!
Among those born on November 5th are English jockey Lester Piggott, singer songwriter Art Garfunkel, German footballer Uwe Seller and actress Elke Sommer and Indian Test cricketer Virat Kohli.
In America November 5th is the start of Dear Santa Letter Week and there are any number of mildly interesting historical events on the day including Hitler telling his generals in 1937 that he planned to go to war!
There will be localised wars of a different sort with bangers, air bombs and rockets to light up the night sky on November 5th.
If we are lucky enough to get a dry night then reactions to the explosion of colours will be mixed with pets and very young children getting scared out of their wits but most of the rest of us enjoying the show.
There will also be the usual band of heroes letting off blasts before and after the big night, but there you have it. You can’t really complain about that when shops are selling Christmas stuff in August!

World War III is getting closer

CAN anyone spot an increased likelihood of World War III coming slowly over the horizon?
We have Hamas and Israel at each other’s throats, Russia’s stock has never been lower, North Korea hates America’s guts (no change there then) and the United Nations is wringing its hands so often they may soon be torn right off.
Much was made of North Korea’s provocative missile testing but the world seems to have almost missed US claims that Russia has broken the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by test firing a ground-launched nuclear Cruise missile.
Now don’t get me wrong. Maybe America is right and maybe it’s wrong – no more details were provided about the test – but simple logic dictates it is likely to be true since such an event cannot easily be hidden and if the Americans say it happened then it probably did.
If proved true, the launch is at best appalling timing by Russia in the wake of the missile strike against an airliner over Ukraine which cost nearly 300 lives.
At worst it is Russia flexing its missile muscles to show it is not intimidated by worldwide condemnation over the tragedy and that countries would do well to remember that the Soviet Bear has other more powerful weapons at its disposal than those it is claimed to have loaned to pro-Russian Ukrainian rebels.
Whatever the true scenario, tensions are being ratcheted up with arms movements, displays and use on a wider and wider scale to match heavier consumption of tranquillisers at the UN.
The more the world digs the more it uncovers including claims involving British supply of arms to sensitive areas. And I doubt it will stop there.
The only thing at the moment distracting world attention from the Russian nuclear missile is the alarming outbreak of Ebola virus in Africa which is rapidly threatening to catch and overtake the death toll in Gaza.
It is ironic that airlines are now refusing to both fly over Ukraine or into West Africa while you’d have to be suicidal to fly anywhere near Israel.
Fortunately those well-meaning ditherers at the UN have tabled a motion to form a committee to look at making “strong representations” to a man whose second cousin has a nephew whose mother “cleans” for Vladimir Putin to ask if the world can have its peace back….pretty please.
What the UN can even contemplate about Gaza never mind actually do is practically beyond the wit of man to conceive.
In a nutshell, Israel says no ceasefire until we’ve destroyed Hamas’s tunnels, Hammas says no ceasefire until Gaza’s economic blockade is lifted and – although this is unspoken – both sides would like to say: “No ceasefire until you are all dead!”
With such seething hatred it is no wonder that the lights are burning late at the UN.
I personally believe it will be a cold day in hell before the whole Gaza situation is sorted out and I certainly don’t believe there will be any lasting peace in my lifetime.
As for the Ukraine, well I think Russia will just go on being Russia. It hasn’t exactly shown abject terror at what the West has “sanctioned” it with so far and the only real casualty has been Second Cultural Attache Stepan Dekowpat whose import licence on a floral toilet bowl for his mother-in-law has been frozen.
I’d suggest that that leaves the rest of us hoping diplomacy shows a bit more common sense than one schoolboy who asked an adult if the famous World War II 1,000 bomber raid on Germany had used ordinary bombs or nuclear bombs.
It was made plain to him that if they’d used nuclear bombs 70 years ago then we’d still be able to see the glow at night now!
Let’s hope we don’t see any glows at night in 2014.

Seaside holidays

WHAT makes the perfect seaside resort?
Is it the sand blown into your eyes, the sunburn on your back or that dodgy tub of winkles which had you on the toilet all night?
There is probably no such thing as perfection in seaside terms, but there are a number of things which can help make your visit a memorable one.
Take accommodation, for instance, be it hotel, guesthouse, holiday flat, caravan or tent.
With hotels and guesthouses, everyone expects a reasonable standard of facilities so it comes down to the quality of the people looking after you as to whether or not you have a quality stay.
Get a place with a curfew and rules such as “don’t crease the newspaper” and you are unlikely to beat a path back to their door, but get a few unexpected extras such as your favourite cereal, a leaflet map of the town to help guide your stay and a few helpful tips about where to eat and drink and that welcome feel may bring you back.
Holiday flats are great for independence but not so great if they are next door to a 5am disco, so check location and also ask about whether “extras” include things such drying up cloths, washing up liquid and bed linen which really should be standard.
Caravan owners need a site with power and decent bathroom facilities while those opting for “the Great Outdoors” in a tent will also welcome bathroom facilities and a site which doesn’t flood since British weather rarely offers a rain-free holiday and soggy underwear rarely features high on holiday memories.
When all’s said and done you go on holiday to relax, have fun and see a few sights and that doesn’t – as happened to me recently on Crete – include a ruined factory being one of the sightseeing stops!
Check before you go that, if you have kids, there are things for them to do such as a beach with good facilities, a park, an adventure site, farm or other attraction to occupy them. For those parents really determined to relax then those nice people hiring children to pick strawberries may be an option!
Also pay attention to food. If you are self-catering then check there is a decent big supermarket close by or your housekeeping bill may cost more than the holiday and if you are eating out then check that there are family eateries available which don’t break the bank.
If you’ve driven on holiday then transport is taken care of but, for those arriving by train or coach then make sure your destination has decent public transport to ensure you are not totally trapped in the resort of your choice.
You work hard all year, so the summer holiday getaway has to be a highlight of that year and if you put in a bit of research before you go then it vastly improves your chances of having a good time.

Louis Suarez: Putting the bite on a flawed genius

LOUIS Suarez has been described as the flawed genius of football.

Everyone has been temporarily denied that genius after FIFA banned him from the rest of the World Cup for a now infamous biting incident – his third – which this time saw him tuck into the shoulder of Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini.

Nothing happened at the time despite Chiellini’s furious and indignant display to the referee of teeth marks in his skin.

But Suarez’s dark history of such incidents could not be ignored, the bandwagon of retribution gathered pace and he was duly punished by football’s highest authority.

What is more worrying is that not only was the incident blatantly obvious for what it was but that Suarez opened himself up to ridicule for a pathetic claim that he “lost balance” and that  Chiellini “bumped into me with his shoulder”.

Presumably, Louis, that was while you were tucking your knapkin in for a quick snack!

Because football is such a circus there must be more than a few fans left totally bemused by later events which have seen Suarez’s ban criticised……even by Chiellini!

My own feeling is one of great sadness that such mesmerising talent is marred by a mind which more than one senior football figure feels needs urgent help.

Let’s not mince words about this. When printing had finished for the football book of rules there wasn’t a single word devoted to guidance on when it was permissible to bite an opposing player.

There were plenty of obscure rules such as goalkeepers not being allowed to roll their sleeves up or wear short sleeved shirts, but the rule makers felt no guidance was needed about biting because even the most dim-witted of footballers should automatically know it wasn’t allowed……..but not Suarez.

I am minded of the old saying: “Once might be happenstance, twice might be circumstance but third time does for all.”

Suarez has certainly been done and quite rightly too, but apart from the small pool of people who feel he has been hard done by for such a lengthy ban, is it actually severe enough?

Let’s forget, for a moment, that we are talking almost incredibly about an incident on the field during a game of football and let’s imagine that Suarez is walking down a street.

Suddenly he chooses to bite someone, the incident is investigated, he is hauled before a court and his solicitor urges magistrates to be lenient because his client has never done anything like this before. The magistrates are swayed, Suarez is ordered to pay £50 compensation to his victim and the court gives him a conditional discharge for six months.

All too soon Suarez is again walking down the street, fancies another nibble and a second person is injured. He is again hauled off to court only this time his solicitor must adopt a different tack because his client has history with a similar attack.

So he tells magistrates that his client has voluntarily gone on an anger management course, that he is extremely remorseful, that he has personally written and apologised to the victim and that he will never launch such an assault again.

This time magistrates are less inclined to be lenient and they give him a suspended three-month prison sentence, order him to do 200 hours community service and to pay his latest victim £250 in compensation.

With awesome inevitability Suarez is walking down the street when he strikes for a third time only this time he is remanded in custody for reports with a warning that he is likely to go to prison.

That’s how it might go in a civil court, so I believe he has been fantastically lucky to get away with only being banned for a few games and losing a few sponsors.

But I also believe that his luck has run out.

One more biting incident and I think football’s authorities will have no alternative but to ban him for life if not for his sake then for the sake of his footballing opponents whose troubles deserve to be confined to worrying about his skills not worrying about his teeth.

 

Can England win a penalty shoot-out?

 

THERE can be few more chilling words calculated to send fear into the heart of a fan watching England than – “It’s all on penalties now!”

We have the worst World Cup record for losing on penalties of any other team in the entire competition.

The Three Lions lost on penalties in 1990, again in 1998 and also in 2006 and, while Italy have also lost three times, they at least have the satisfaction of winning one World Cup penalty shoot-out in 2006.

So it is perhaps inevitable that fans get a bit twitchy when the dreaded “p” word crops up.

It doesn’t stop them talking about penalties of course, usually with a fervent prayer that the match doesn’t go that far.

But if it does and England are involved – which knowing our luck is a real possibility – then you’ll need to decide how you are going to watch the penalties being taken.

The following are a few suggestions, but you’ll have to make your own mind up which category your nerves are most suited to.

Group 1, the “Come on England!” This category contains the die-hards, those too loyal to allow reality into their thinking or too mentally scarred from crying after watching the three previous England penalty shoot-outs.

These fans don’t cheer in case it disturbs the England penalty taker. They just stand still as statues holding their pint as the spot-kick is taken. If you hear the sound of smashing glass and calls for a first aid kit then England have missed their first penalty.

Group 2, the drunk “Come on England!” This category is often so befuddled that they don’t actually realise England have missed a penalty or, indeed, that full and extra time are both over.

The last they can remember was going to the bar to get four John Smith’s, a Guinness, two ciders and a port and lemon for Daphne who was well up for it! That plus a trip to the gents means he will likely need serious convincing when he comes back that the match is hanging in the balance with England trying to score in one of the two goals his double vision is now showing him.

Group 3, the “Come on England!” shirt. This category often hunts in packs with some shirts showing crude stitching where they were badly mended after being torn in half following the last England penalty shoot-out defeat.

For such fans it’s all in the chant. This sounds something like “ING-GER-LAND” at the start of the game, “NGLAND” during the game and “BUNCH OF TOSSERS” after we’ve lost the penalty shoot-out.

Group 4, the “Come on England!” 1966 Brigade. This category is not only relaxed but usually offers philosophical comments such as: “Is that Geoff Hurst in the crowd? Could do with him on the pitch”. Jeers of “Who’s Geoff Hurst?” tend to upset them a bit.

They’ve also seen it all before as World Cup winning fans, but they’re all over 50 now because that’s how long it’s been since England fans tasted glory. When it goes to penalties and England miss they’ll think it’s all over….and it probably will be.

Group 5, the “Come on England!”: A New Hope. Like Star Wars, those in this category are light years from home but still feel the Force is with them as they support England in Rio.

So Barrie’s got the Tostao trots, Duncan’s lost his ticket and Pat’s gone to the wrong stadium, who cares. It’s Come on England! all the way.

So I’ll leave you with this thought. Surely we’ve got to win the penalty shoot-out this time!!

 

Condor: Ferry nice work if you can get it

Condor: Court them or abort them?

 

WEYMOUTH’S relationship with the ferry company, Condor, has all the tiffs of an ardent suitor courting a flirtatious woman.

The attraction between the two is clear since Condor gets the port most suited to providing its ferry service and Weymouth gets much needed revenue and the headline position as the Gateway to the Channel Islands.

But – just like true love – the course of ferry courtship never did run smooth.

Weymouth is now a less than able-bodied suitor, needing to use a stick having shot itself in the foot over poor future planning which saw major harbour wall repairs suddenly required at a cost of more than £4 million. Work to Berth 3 was carried out against an embarrassing backdrop of Condor moving to Poole while it was carried out.

And just like a woman who feels she’s hooked her man, Condor is now pushing the boundaries of that relationship with the shock news that it suddenly doesn’t want Berth 3.

Oh no! Condor wants Berth 1 and has stamped its foot and warned it could go to Poole if it doesn’t get what it wants.

This is because Berth 1 is bigger, because Condor is buying a huge new ferry and because that new and larger hydrofoil is a massive 102 metres long instead of the more modest 86 metres of its existing ferry.

All this has seen a certain cooling in the relationship between the two lovers with Condor refusing to sign an agreement with Weymouth.

Lowering the temperature has been the spectre of a £10 million bill for the conversion of Berth 1 to suit Condor’s bigger needs.

This includes the minefield of a Harbour Revision Order which might see Condor operate from Poole for up to two years while the niceties are thrashed out and berth conversion work is completed.

The council says it can’t and won’t pay that sort of money, Condor says it won’t foot the bill and both sides are now “holding talks”, presumably in an attempt to keep the relationship smouldering.

Such a volatile partnership is nothing new and Weymouth must now seriously weigh up whether Condor really is indispensable or whether it should be cut adrift to carry out its threat to go to Poole.

Moving to the eastern port is not in Condor’s interests because of weather and fuel consumption problems which make it a poorer commercial prospect not least because Condor will face  a serious problem if the Navitus wind farm gets the go-ahead off the Dorset coast since Condor’s Channel Islands route goes right through it which could force very reluctant – and expensive — diversions.

But Poole isn’t stupid and recognises an opportunity when it sees one.

The authority has applied for £11 million worth of harbour works and that project includes new deep water quays which will obviously interest Condor.

So their Poole threat is not as empty as it was, but surely Weymouth has a few shots in its locker as well.

There are more than 70 European ferry companies operating more than 1,000 routes, so it cannot be beyond the wit of man to see if one or more of them might be interested in running a service from Weymouth to the Channel Islands from Berth 3 without the crippling cost of converting Berth 1.

And as if all that is not enough to think about there is the question of just how long – if at all – Condor might commit to Weymouth if it does get Berth 1. It certainly isn’t committing to anything at the moment.

For once Weymouth does not seem to be seeing life through rose tinted Condor spectacles and it has gone on record that the ferry company seems to be trying to hold Weymouth to ransom and that the council will cave in to their demands.

The council has warned that they are wrong, that Condor is “not indispensable” and that there has to be a limit beyond which the council will not go to keep them.

We must be pretty close to that limit now.

Sexy on the Beach?

MOST people have been on holiday to a beach, but are you sexy on the sands, fat on the foreshore or just cuddly by the kiosk?

All too soon people will be bringing out the bikinis and mankinis and checking them for winter moth holes ready for summer showing off.

But this isn’t an option for everyone, some of whom will require a tent rather than a T-shirt to cover their torsos.

Those caught betwixt and between – myself included – face an even worse dilemma since it’s nice to relax on a beach and enjoy the sun but not if you are uncertain whether or not your six-pack relates to your stomach muscles or what you drank last night.

So I’m providing a brief guide here to let all you beach bashers know where you stand and what category you should lie down in.

First come the belles of the bikini. These women can strip off with confidence, knowing that they aren’t going to wonder if last year’s outfit the size of a couple of postage stamps will still fit them.

As long as breasts and groin are adequately covered then they can strut their stuff with confidence on any beach, knowing that men’s heads will be turned. They don’t even have to look and see if they have been noticed. All they have to do is listen for the clattering sound of slaps being delivered by other women who feel their worse half has wandering eyes.

The other side of the coin in this category is the mankini, not as rare as it was, but still fringe fun for the man who wants to make a statement, even if it probably is: “Don’t touch this one with a barge pole!”

For the more mainstream male confident of his physical appearance then he will no doubt appear in some form of shorts, allowing his muscular upper body to make its own waves. Sadly such shows often reveal the need for an optician because choice of shorts can often look like an explosion in a paint factory…and a particularly bad ass paint factory at that.

At the other end of the scale are those men and women who know they have toes but haven’t seen them for some years due to the large overhang between their eyes and their feet.

Such people know they have beach problems when entire families use them as a windbreak.

So how can the “larger sizes” among us have the confidence to enjoy some beach time?

The answer is simple. Just brazen it out. If you are too big to fit in a deckchair then pat sand into the shape of a deckchair and sit in that. If you are worried about exposing rolls of flesh then don’t. Simply cover them up with beach towels or get friends and family to sit in front of you. There is no reason why obese people shouldn’t enjoy a beach with the rest of us. Just make sure someone doesn’t try and moor a boat up to you when the tide comes in.

Finally there are, if you’ll forgive the pun, the bulk of us mere mortals, those who aren’t model material but also don’t cause an eclipse as we move about.

What can the ordinary person do to make sure that beach visit is as enjoyable as possible?

One answer may lie in shifting focus. If you have a particularly luscious ice-cream, aromatic bag of chips or swirling display of candyfloss then the fat third of the beach will only have eyes for the food while the fit third of the beach won’t deign to even look at you.

Sounds like a result to me and it does allow us middle rankers to get on with the serious business of relaxing. You just can’t put too much effort in to that!

Does MP mean “massive Payday” and MEP mean “Many Euros Plundered”?

AS we near European elections with a general election not that far off, it is interesting to consider the question of MPs’ expenses.

Some of the allegations of more bizarre claiming include former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott’s £312 for fitting mock Tudor beams and two toilet seats in his constituency home and the Marquess of Lothian who repaid £98 he had claimed for servicing his swimming pool’s boiler.

Believe it or not, there was actually a £380 claim made for horse manure, another MP allegedly claimed £1,645 for a duck house while yet another MP felt entitled to a refund for a trouser press he bought!

Those are just some of the more outlandish claims for expenses, but they are certainly not the most serious which often involved huge sums of money linked to claims centred on where an MP might live, rent, property purchase and property renovation. That was where the big bucks were claimed.

Still you must have some sympathy for MPs who have to exist on a paltry £67,000 a year.

The question I’m interested in is not the public vilification for a series of questionable expenses we know about. It is, what expenses don’t we know about?

These are people who get their £67,000 wage to represent us in Parliament, so how does it feel for people in other countries to view MPs’ antics as representative of the rest of us?

Leaves a nasty taste in the mouth, doesn’t it, because I certainly don’t view some of the claims – which can run into tens of thousands of pounds – as representative of myself other than the fact I’m having to pay some of it through my contributions to the Government!

To be honest – no pun intended – I don’t know what the solution is.

MPs are clearly entitled to claim expenses, but that assumes a whole ballot box of things including not just that the MP is honest and the expenses claim is genuine but that the claim isn’t engineered to be honest.

There have been many angry accusations that a number of “expenses” have been tailored so that, while members of the public might be incensed if they knew about what an MP was trying to get a refund for, that refund is not actually outside the guidelines set by Parliament.

Many such claims have been publicly highlighted and the defence has always been that, while people may not like or approve of such expenditure, it doesn’t actually break any rules.

When all is said and done, our MPs’ financial antics pale into insignificance when stacked up against those of MEPs whose £180,000+ average income does not include a £217,000 office allowance available to each of them not to mention free haircuts and 52 gallons of petrol per month!

The trough is clearly open to abuse as a number of MEPs are happy to turn up at Euro HQ for just a few minutes to ensure they get their 300 Euro a day attendance allowance!

All in all, high level politics seems a nice job if you can get it.

Gardening thyme is here again

GARDENING time is here again as householders search long grass and overgrown borders for their “lost” mower, fork and spade.
You can’t start too early because those ignoring Nature and succumbing to the lure of the armchair may finally discover their plot has grown so much that they can’t get out of the back door to deal with it.
Believe it or not, the key to success is that humble pockmarked patch of weeds and rubble, your lawn.
If you can get on top of that and stay on top of it then you’ll always have a clear area to retreat to if the borders and vegetable garden get too rampant.
Looking after your lawn can provide hours of reward later relaxing on a bench, chair or recliner on a smooth expanse of green under a sunny blue sky….but you have to get there first.
Never leave the initial mower cut too late. Do this and the grass will be lush and long and will rapidly become obscured by clouds of smoke as your mower engine burns out trying to chew through conditions more suited to silage making. Kicking the mower won’t help. You’ll need it later in the season.
Ideally you need to put the mower on its “stilts” highest setting so that it only trims the top of the lawn for a first cut. Later cuts can slowly bring grass levels down to the height your lawn should be for the summer. This can be judged by dropping a beer can on to the grass. If you can’t see it keep mowing, first removing and drinking the can of beer.
Having established a forward base in the garden you can turn your attention to the flower borders.
These are willful areas which need a stern hand. Plant a flower billed as “good border backing” and you could wind up with something so big you can’t find the shed.
Equally it is no good planting “small, delightfully coloured flowers” at the back of a border where you risk another growth, Wife’s Wrath.
This perennial and bitter presence is the bane of all male gardeners who never seem able to create a garden without it.
So make sure flowers are graded in size from the front of the border to the back to ensure wives are happy and the scent can obscure where cats have gone to the toilet.
Not all gardens are plagued by cats. It only seems that way, but a few simple and humane measures can deter felines and ensure flower borders can reach maturity in safety.
Deterents can include the careful siting of anti-personnel mines for night cover to the more usual daytime cover provided by a handy shotgun or a carefully aimed brick.
Finally, for the true gardener, there is a patch of ground kept for the production of vegetables.
This really does sort the men out from the boys because such areas are not only prone to Wife’s Wrath and cats but to a common disease affecting many gardeners called: “Sod this for a game of soldiers!”
The only weapon which can help the gardener in this war is his shed, a haven to retreat to or a camouflaged bunker from which to launch a pre-emptive strike against Tiddles.
Some vegetable patches are no bigger that a tabletop while others are almost of allotment size, but they all produce one thing, a feeling of satisfaction when vegetables are harvested.
What you plant is up to you but there can be no better way to start than by making sure neighbours can’t just hop over and grab a tureen or two full of beans, sprouts or spuds for their Sunday lunch. You’ve put the effort in and you want the reward. Try planting a boundary hedge of pyracantha. That should do the trick.
Whether you turn the ground over with a spade or a cultivator you’ll need to mix in compost. Leftovers such as last night’s evening meal, Surprise Legumes et Maux d’Estomac, should do the trick.
Once reduced to a fine tilth, don’t just go bull-at-a-gate and start planting all over the place. Mark out which areas are for what and tread in narrow pathways between different vegetables so later on you can get at them to weed, water or start all over again if you have a serious cat problem.
As for choice, asparagus is nice…..but do you really need it? Think main meal. Whatever you normally eat then have a go at planting some be it carrots, runner beans or even potatoes.
I say even potatoes because they take a lot of space and next year, unless you’ve laboriously sieved out every last tiny potato, you suddenly find yourself growing potatoes you never knew you had. They really are prolific in open ground, so perhaps try them in tubs or plan them for an allotment if you are lucky enough to be at the top of the 15-year waiting list.
Once you’ve finished planting then really the only thing to do apart from an occasional liquid feed (that’s food for the plants not a pint for you) is to make sure everything is kept well watered.
Water butts are very useful for this and stave off the need for a hosepipe until drought orders come in. Everyone uses a hosepipe then, usually to fill up their now-empty water butts.
So that’s it, the garden sorted for another year. Must go now. The front doorbell has just gone and the gardener wants paying. You didn’t think I exhausted myself looking after my own garden, did you?