Lost again!

Well, that's it for the year squash-wise! Lost to David yesterday and now he's going to win the third quarter as well as the first two. End of competition 2009.
Thought we'd start a new competition to the end of the year (after all, we can't just play friendlies!), totalling up who wins the most games between now and then. But that got off to a wonkey start when we burst all three squash balls I'd brought and had to finish half way through the first game.
So my opportunity to hold all competition cups has drained away. Thinking positively though, I'm hoping for another walloping of both sons on Thursday when we play pitch and putt... if I can repeat the record breaking rounds of 34.
Been up early this morning making rhubarb jam. The recipe is below, I've been doing the dicing and blanching bit.
Almost finished the garage tidy yesterday, including a bit of a debate with the domestic executive about where son John's bed bits were to be stored. I'd had a brainwave and put them in the garage rafters, but they ended up back were they were, resting against the garage wall. By the afternoon I'd really started to clear some space when the new boarder arrived with another car load of stuff. His clothes managed to make it upstairs and into the wardrobe, but his DVDs (lots and lots) only managed it as far as the new space in the garage... even though he wants them in his bedroom as well! So I'll be hauling them up there today... is it a requirement of parenthood to have a frontal lobotomy?
Had another bike incident on Saturday... was cycling home through the cemetary extension admiring the new drainage channels that have been dug when a pile of dirt crept up on me. Fortunately I only clipped the edge, but made for an interesting few seconds.
Here's the rhubarb jam recipe I'm using...

1.5kg rhubarb
1.2kg sugar
Peel the rhubarb and you should end up with the same weight of rhubarb to sugar. Cut the stalks into lengths of two to three centimetres. Blanch for one minute by plunging them into a pan of boiling water, then drain well. Place in a bowl with alternate layers of sugar and leave to steep for twelve hours.
Drain the rhubarb into a bowl, retaining the juice. Bring the juice to the boil gently and simmer for ten minutes. Add the rhubarb and cook over a moderate heat until it disintegrates (takes about ten minutes). Mix and remove the foam from the top with a holed ladle frequently. Turn the heat up for ten minutes, being careful the colour doesn't change (be careful, this can happen really quickly!).
Check the jam is ready by testing a drop on a tilted plate. The jam shouldn't run, if it sticks straight away at an angle it's ready. Put into clean dry jars fairly soon and close the lids straight away. When the jars have cooled completely label and store away from light and damp.

More photos below. Thanks for reading my blog. John

The first geese setting off to escape the English winter (click to enlarge). It would be sad to see them go if it weren't for the thought that the next time they'll be flying over it'll be Spring.
White grape vine cuttings that have taken really well. Lots of strong roots coming out of the bottom of the pot.
Been looking for a hop plant for ages, but on the rare occasions I've seen them in a garden centre they've been about £15. Spotted this plant when one of the local orchards had an open day... £2.50! Going to try making my own beer from scratch.
Getting lots of really sweet tomatoes form the greenhouse. The Gardeners Delight are really good, but the Tigerella are not so sweet... don't think I'll grow them next year since the main attraction seems to be they're striped.
Lots of work being done on the cemetaryt extension, big machines putting in drainage.
Here's the front plot this month...
... and the back plot.

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