Tuesday, 3 July 2018

A fruit salad - in pictures ..

Here's some pictures of the fruit growing in our garden - looks like it could be a bumper crop this year ...

first ever pears developing on our young trees - but only 10 in total !
apples, reliable as ever despite a very hard winter tree pruning ...
grapes developing, loads of bunches this year ...
blueberries fattening up, not yet ripening ....
blackcurrants, many ready for picking ...
it'll be a record crop from our cherry tree, almost ripe now ...
rhubarb, been cropping continuously since March ...
redcurrants - still a few weeks away ...
first raspberries just forming, they'll crop right through into autumn ...
strawberries, red & white varieties, eaten as soon as they ripen !

There are also two melon plants growing in the greenhouses, but they haven't yet produced any female flowers.

And our young plum, apricot and quince trees didn't produce any blossom this year.  Maybe we'll have something from them in 2019.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Investment Review - June 2018

Well, we're already halfway through 2018.

I've been doing quite a bit of travelling this year and there are more trips coming up soon, so I haven't posted much lately.

But here's the usual quarterly portfolio update, as of the last working day in June :-

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Financial Planning - 2018 Annual Review

We're now exactly halfway into our 10-year Grand Plan, which would be cause for celebration if it wasn't so bloody depressing that five years seem to have come and gone in the blink of an eye ...

Anyway, here's the usual two graphs.

SIPP POT to Mar-18

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Investment Review - March 2018

Here's the updated combined portfolio spreadsheet as of 29 March, the last working day of the first quarter :-

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Building a Walk-in Propagator Cubicle

Some of our more tender plants haven't survived this winter in the large cold greenhouse.    

the garden on 29 December 2017 ...

The mercury hasn't dropped below -6 C, i.e. only our typical winter low, but I think it's the sheer number of very cold frosts we've had, many of them on consecutive nights.  

Usually, we'd get around a dozen or so sharp frosts all winter, but this time around it seems as if there's been a dozen every month for three months (not that we've been at home for most of the winter, but we kept an eye on the house and weather via our webcams and also talked to friends on Skype).

Having only recently returned to Blighty and surveyed the destruction of the plants, I immediately started thinking about heating a small area of the greenhouse during future winters.   We also brought back more seeds of sub-tropical plants from our travels, which should do well enough outdoors in our summers but won't tolerate even a sniff of a frost and will need protection throughout the winters.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Notes from a small island ...

After the success of our long winter break early last year, we decided to do it again in 2018.  By 'success' I mean avoiding the cold, miserable, grey days that characterise much of January and February in northern England.

So we're back in the Canary Islands for the best part of two months, although staying on a different island to last year. 

Of all the many places I've ever been in the world, I think the Canaries have one of the very best winter climates.  We're around 5 degrees north of the Tropic of Cancer, and it's very mild - warm even - but without the high humidity of the tropics.   The sun's bright, the sea's crystal clear and at night we can see many more stars than at home, due to the clearer air and lower light pollution.

The local flora is stunning, even at this time of year.  It's just a very nice place to wander around.

flowering vine growing wild on scrubland - naturally, I took a cutting ....

Monday, 1 January 2018

Investment Review - December 2017

Here's the final combined portfolio update for 2017, as compiled on the last working day of the year :-

click on the graphic for a larger image ...