Sunday 6 October 2013

As sure as eggs is eggs.

Having posted on Friday that Ireland had gone to the Referendum Polls on the 2 subjects of whether to abolish the Seanad (Senate) and whether to establish a Court of Appeal, it seems only fair that I now tell you the results. The Court of Appeal vote went through seamlessly so I presume that 'we' will now get that. The vote to abolish the Seanad had a more troubled passage and got a bit tangled up in arguments about how much money might actually be saved by getting rid of it. There were also some concerns about the double-negative wording on the voting paper which asked, more or less, 'are you in favour of the constitutional amendment' with in smaller writing in brackets added (which abolishes the Seanad) so you had to vote 'No' if you wanted to keep it. The amendment was narrowly defeated (51% plays 48%) so the Seanad stays and the Government gets a bloody nose plus, apparently a bill for €20 m which is how much it cost to stage the Referendum.

I should add, for my Irish readers, that I am not meaning to be at all superior about this, or belittling it in any way; I am fully aware that our own (UK) House of Lords is possibly even worse being made up of large proportions of people who are there by accident of birth (Hereditary Peers)  or by pure patronage (the 'Tony's Cronies', (Maggie's Mates and Dave's Faves?) thing and that there is no provision in our "constitution" (or precedent in law) for putting a possible abolition to the people in a Referendum. Nor can we vote our monarch in and out, of course, even if we wanted to. This statement probably just goes to show that I am no political scholar and should probably stay out of all this anyway!

I'll stick to the subject of eggs. There are all these eggs now starting to come our way. The geese are now laying one a day, the Sussex Pontes are still at it sporadically and the 8-Ball girls are starting to pump out eggs a bit too small for the Steak Lady's fancy box, so they live in a bowl on top of the box. So, it had to be done. Sooner or later we had to try doing the toast soldiers thing with a goose egg. Liz had been experimenting and reckoned that 6 minutes was the best timing bet. As to egg cups we put into action some small Greek coffee mugs which were a gift from Liz's (and Diamond's) friends on the Island of Poros, Vesalina and Maya. These are the perfect size for these big eggs. The results of this vote were wholly positive - the eggs were lovely! Possibly they might have done better on 7 minutes as the whites were not quite set but there were oceans of lovely soft yolk and we ended up feeling like we'd both had a 3-course meal and were completely put off any need for lunch!

We have had a further surprise from our allotment. I've been  nicking the odd leaf now and then from some big, vigorous plants I had assumed were some kind of flat leaved kale (very nice too). I went out a couple of days back to gather more leaves for supper and was surprised to find the spiky spiral shaped curds of Romanesco Cauliflower looking at me from the top of the plants! I knew I had sowed some Romanesco seed way back but had lost track of the plants or labels and assumed that they had been slugged , chicken-scratched or droughted out of existence. Liz was on-line like a shot looking for likely recipes (we didn't want to just go down the cauliflower cheese route) and found a surprising new way in the New York Times cookery pages, would you believe? The cauli got broken up into its florets, tossed in a little salt and hot oil, then baked in the oven (hot) for 20 minutes. They were beautifully savoury and different. Liz has also been getting into fruit-cake style tray bakes and sticky toffee puddings too, but that's another story. We are not starving here.

With the two existing freezers now nearly full of fruit and veg after a very good summer on the allotment and in the hedgerows it became obvious that we would need a third, 6 foot, stand-up freezer to cope with the lamb meat when that is ready. We nipped into town to our local 'white goods' outlet and ordered on (it was around €450) and met a whole new problem of which we had been blissfully unaware.

We had intended to stand this in the unheated concrete out-building we call the Tígín but the shop lady told us that you can no longer do that with domestic appliances. They now have fancy electronics in them which do not take kindly to the freeze/thaw/condensation of unheated rooms, so they quote a minimum working (ambient) temperature of between 10 and 16 degrees. Dryers are particularly a problem apparently, where the wash/dry cycle used to be controlled by a click-round, clockwork-style mechanism but are now electronic. Freezers for use outdoors are a whole different (and pricier) animal now. Ah well, back we came to shorten my bespoke shelving in the (nice warm) Utility Room to take the 60 cm freezer and its 10 cm breathing space.

In the garden we have now received our first batch of ordered Spring Bulbs via our joint-ordering system with Mentor Anne (saves postage). We are going this winter with some first crocuses  and fritillaries in the lawn, some more fancy tulips and a clump of our old Faversham gravel-garden chum, Nectaroscordum. We had already received a generous donation of daff and iris bulbs from Pud Lady. I also ordered some 'Electric' red onion sets for autumn planting so these too have gone in to the lovely warm soil of the allotment. It feels like my 2013/14 Season is well and truly started. We have also ordered 4 more trees for the orchard (we have space for 6, so I can cope with 2 more!) another Braeburn, a black sweet cherry, a crab apple and a mulberry.


Mr Silverwood said...

Have to come up soon, seems ages since we have been up.

Cinque Cento said...

You're always welcome. I'm planning a descent once October is cleared away.