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Spring bulbs coming out

Feb 17, 2018

In the containers I have outside my flat, I have some spring bulbs planted, which are now coming out (photos taken today, 17th February).

There are crocuses, dwarf irises (not yet) and dwarf daffodils.

Meanwhile, the gooseberrys, blueberries, tayberry and blackberry are still in winter dormancy though some leaf buds are evident.

The strawberries are variable in their success, but time will tell as spring progresses whether they come back well this year.

Some plants appear to have died (such as the Coleus in the ground container which was attacked immediately by slugs after its planting and now is only a stick of a stem).

The crocuses in a tub with purple pansies which have now finished flowering. The remains of the coleus plants that had striking green and red foliage, which was also tasty to the local slug population are also visible. Some pots with daffodils are behind them, along with one of the blueberry plants.

A fushia showing some new leaf growth, along with crocuses, geraniums and a strawberry plant. The Callibrachoa on the left looks like it is dead.

Another one of the trough containers with daffodils and crocuses in flower, and the second blueberry plant.

The yellow pansies (now finished flowering) along with some more spring bulbs.

The tayberry and blackberry plants are tied to the trellis, awaiting the spring to return so they can come to life. They were planted last year and only produced a handful of berries but did grow these canes that should hopefully produce more this year.

More of the crocuses in flower.

This strawberry plant looks fairly healthy, and the primrose is also flowering.

The two plants in the large pots at lower-left are Chilean Guavas (Ugni Molinea). The hanging basket above contains alpine strawberry, parsley and mint.

Temperature monitoring of heated propagator tray

Feb 5, 2018

I was curious about what the temperature in my heated propagator trays where my chilli and pepper seedlings are.

I am using a Garland 7 windowsill propagator, which is heated but not thermostatically controlled.

This was on a cold winter's day with the temperature only a few degrees above freezing outside, but next to a south facing window, with the window closed. The room heating is only on for an hour in the morning before the recording started, and a few hours in the evening, and radiator is on the other side of the room from this window.

I used a Temper1 USB temperature probe.

The probe itself was on the side of the tray facing the window, buried in the compost. During the day, the temperature reached 32°C inside the tray, though this was at the side directly having sunlight shining on it.

The output of the temper1 sensor can be redirected to a .csv file, which I here plot using Python+matplotlib.
It may be better to place the probe further from the side of the tray where direct sunlight shines on it, to get a more representative signal.


The temperature on 6th February, when I placed the probe in the side of the tray, rather than the end facing the window. There was snow this morning, and not really any direct sunlight unlike the previous day.
The first stage of potting the chilli seedlings on from the propagator trays. Most of them have been placed 2 to each cell, with some in an individual cell.

Update on chilli and tomato seedlings

Jan 19, 2018

As of now, 12 out of the 15 cherry tomato seeds have germinated.

Since there are maximum three tomato seedlings in each tray, they can stay in the propagator trays for a while.
The chillis, both those that came from the seeds I saved from my plants sown in 2016 and 2017, and the mainly sweet pepper varieties I ordered from someone in Greece on eBay, are germinating well too:

1602 is a habenero, not sure of exact variety

1701 could be Yellow Cayenne or Aji Lemon. I quite like these usually medium to hot heat but not as hot as the habeneros

Some of the Greek sweet pepper seeds.
Many of the plants from the previous years are still going strong including the parent plants of some of the seeds above:
1701 is on the left, 1602 on the right.
It remains to be seen how many of the ones that are overwintering in my parents greenhouse will survive and grow back.

Chillis, peppers and tomatoes

Jan 11, 2018

After having a propagator for Christmas (and then ordering another one - I now have both the 'self-watering' and heated versions of Garland windowsill propagators) I have started my tomatoes, chillis and sweet peppers for 2018 on the windowsill.

The first to be sown were the cherry tomatoes which went in on 1st Jan:

Three cherry tomato seedlings inside a propagator tray, towered over by chilli plant 1602, which is overwintering indoors and already showing signs of new growth after being pruned. This was actually one of the first chillis I grew in 2016, and was the smallest of all the seedlings in the tray of the 'grow you own chilli kit' someone gave me as a gift. I didn't think it would even survive planting out and it remained very small through the 2016 season, but after coming inside for the winter, and grew much larger in 2017 and produced well. It is some kind of habanero variety not sure exactly what.

I also have kept some of the seeds from my own chilli plants I grew from seed in 2016 and 2017, and ordered a mix of sweet pepper seeds online.

Two trays of seeds from 1602, and a tray of seeds from 1701. In 2016 most of my chilli plants died in the greenhouse after going mouldy in November, although I did bring in 4 indoors before then that survived the winter. None of them produced a lot of chillis in the first season. However the 4 that did survive have grown back well this year and some of them have produced a lot of hot, red habenero chillis. I also bought a mixed pack of chilli seeds. 1701 is a yellow chilli, possibly Yellow Cayenne. I also had some seeds of 1708 and 1715 mixed up sown but not pictured here. I think 1708 is another yellow Cayenne, and 1715 is probably Garden Salsa. I also have a couple of green Jalapeno plants but haven't saved seeds from these. There were also a few more habanero in the 2017 batch but their fruits contained very few seeds.

After eating some mini sweet peppers in a Christmas Antipasti selection that I got reduced from the Co-op, I looked online and it looks like they were Biquinhos. In the end ordered a set of 4 batches of pepper seeds from eBay, of which 3 can be seen here. The 4 varieties were Chocolate Cherry, Peppadew, Biquinho Red and Trinidad Perfume.
These came from Greece courtesy of vonbondies on eBay.

BBC complaint fob-off concerning Cornish language confused with dialect

Jun 29, 2017

Complaint Summary: Radio 4 confuse Cornish dialect with the language

Full Complaint:
The webpage which is titled "Poldark parlance: 14 Cornish phrases and what they mean" claims to give a list of 14 words or phrases in Cornish. However except for one they are the English dialect spoken in Cornwall rather than the actual Cornish language. I would have thought Radio 4 would know better than to confuse the Anglo-Cornish dialect with the actual Cornish language, which is distinct from English.

This is the somewhat confused fob-off I got in response:

Thanks for getting in touch regarding BBC Online.
I understand you feel that the Radio 4 page 'Poldark parlance: 14 Cornish phrases and what they mean', confuses the Anglo-Cornish dialect with the Cornish language.
The article doesn't claim to be translating from the Cornish language Kernewek into English.
The introduction explains that the English and Cornish languages intermingled to create a dialect, or what words and phrases which are unique to that specific region.
So in this context, the article is clarifying the meaning of words and phrases used in the English dialect of Cornwall.
That said, we do value your feedback about this issue. All complaints are sent to senior management and online editors every morning and I included your points in this overnight report.
These reports are among the most widely read sources of feedback in the BBC and ensures that your complaint has been seen by the right people quickly. This helps inform their decisions about current and future programmes.

Once again, thank you for contacting us.

 Kind regards

BBC Complaints Team

Note however that the article has been edited. I have reproduced below the article as it was at the time I made my complaint. Note that the introductory paragraphs are not the same as the current version on the website.

Poldark parlance: 14 Cornish phrases and what they mean

The Cornish language was thought to have died out with its last fluent, native speakers back in the 18th Century, but Kernewek – or what we know of as Cornish – has been experiencing a recent revival.

With Poldark’s rugged residents due to grace our screens once again, what better opportunity to scrub up on some good, old-fashioned Cornish words and sayings.

1. Aright, my 'ansum?

No, not an enquiry from an admirer or a casual come-on, this is a simple “how are you?” 'Ansum is a universal term of endearment directed at men and women alike, and can be used for strangers as well as friends - handsome or not.

2. Dreckly

If someone proffers “I’ll do it dreckly”, don’t expect the task in hand to be completed any time soon. Dreckly is to the Cornish what mañana is to the Spanish – I’ll do it when I’m good and ready and not before. “See you dreckly” is the Cornish “ciao”, or “see you later”. That could mean later that day, tomorrow, or well into the future. You might be waiting around for some time…

3. Proper job

Delighted by that cream tea you just ate? “Proper job.” Enchanted with your new wheebarrow? “Proper job.” Thoroughly enjoyed the latest episode of Poldark? “Proper job.” It’s a mark of quality that can be applied to just about anything, not just worthwhile employment.

4. Stank

Nothing to do with a nasty smell (although you might whiff after you’ve done one), stank simply means a walk – normally a long and arduous one up a steep hill, what with it being Cornwall: “Arear! That was a fair old stank.”

Proper job.

5. Teddy

Not the popular furry playmate but a crucial ingredient in the much-loved Cornish pasty, teddy is Cornish vernacular for the common and garden spud. Order a teddy oggy for a potato pasty, or a turmut and teddy pie for a dish consisting of meat, potato and turnip under short crust pastry. Delicious.

6. Kiddlywink

An unlicensed beer shop, a kiddlywink was permitted to sell beer or cider but not spirits like traditional taverns and inns. So shopkeepers would keep contraband brandy in a kettle under the counter. The knowing clientele, often smugglers and other disreputable types, would then wink at the kettle when they needed a top up. Farm labourers could visit a kiddlywink to receive beer instead of their wages (which probably didn’t go down too well with the rest of the family).

7. Chacking

Meaning thirsty, as in “I’m chacking for a cider – if you need me I’ll be at the kiddlywink.”

8. Whist

Wan-looking, weak or faint. A characteristic displayed by many a miner, peasant, or urchin in Poldark – not to mention the viewers: after gazing at the broody, shirtless estate owner atop his horse, atop a cliff, many a young woman has been rendered well and truly whist.

9. Piddledowndidda?

Like the rest of the British, the Cornish relish a conversation about the weather. This literally translates as “was it raining?” or “get rained on did you?” On a visit to Cornwall, the answer is very likely to be yes.

10. Emmet

A derogatory nickname for tourists or outsiders. Literally meaning ant, it’s used by the Cornish locals to describe the summer influx of visitors – often red with sunburn and seen scurrying around the countryside.

Take a stank round here.

11. Teasy as’n adder

Derived from the Cornish word “tesek” meaning “hot-tempered”, teasy can be used to describe an irritable child, or a grumpy adult who deserves to be given a wide berth: “He’s imbibed too much scrumpy, he’s teasy as’n adder!”

12. Wasson me cock?

A common greeting. Don’t worry, they’re not asking you to inspect their nether regions for foreign objects – they just want to know what you’re up to.

13. Giss on!

Are you pulling my leg? Don’t talk rubbish!

14. Kows moy lent mar pleg

Finally, one to remember if you’re planning an imminent trip to the Celtic kingdom of Kernow - it might prove useful if you find yourself out of depth in a conversation with the locals. It simply means “please speak more slowly”.

Proper job, me lover! Now don’t be teasy, settle down dreckly to geek at Poldark with a belly-tember teddy oggy and a gooder sense of what the sumpmen and bal-maidens are all gabbling on about. Bleddy 'ansum that is.

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