Good Life

Posted By on 16th October 2017

Those of you of a certain age will no doubt remember the popular BBC Sit Com ‘The Good Life’. It was the story of a suburban couple who left the rat race and became self sufficient by turning all their garden over to fruit and vegetable production. They even had chickens, 2 pigs, Pinky and Perky, a goat called Geraldine and who could forget Lenin the cockerel!

In the real world ‘self sufficiency’ is a dream for many but is very difficult to achieve in practice and also very hard work, time consuming, demanding, fragile and requires barrow loads of determination.

When we lived at Ravendale House we grew a lot of fruit and veg which is one reason I know how hard it is and yet we were nowhere near being self supporting.

Having said that the quality of the produce is far better than you get in supermarkets and there is nothing quite like the feeling you get when harvesting your very first crops. Indeed I was so pleased back in 1999 that I even presented myself with a harvest basket of my best specimens to show how well I’d done.

I tried to grow things ‘by the book’ but sometimes things happen that you can’t explain, so we’re heading up to Scotland now where my sister sent me this picture of some ‘Rooster’ potatoes she grew.

Nothing unusual about that you may think until you hear that these were born from discarded potato peelings and other off-cuts thrown onto a compost heap which was later spread on a disused bed full of lime plaster debris from the cottage renovations.

No watering, no mulching, no feeding, no earthing up and little sun. In other words completely neglected and abused, yet she says they are the best potatoes she’s ever grown and tasted fantastic. What’s that about?

Returning to the ‘Good Life’ for a moment you may remember the episode where Tom and Barbara spun some wool, dyed it and knit it into 2 lime green jumpers for Margot and Gerry.

We’re heading back to Scotland now where you may also remember my sister and her husband have 4 pet sheep.

Graham has a spinning wheel and after the sheep have been sheared and the fleeces have been ‘carded’ with 2 spikey paddles a bit like this

(and a few other processes), he spins them into what the knitters among you will recognise as double knitting wool, then he knits it into jumpers.

He doesn’t dye it, the colours that you see are completely natural, (they no longer have the brown sheep who helped make this jumper).

The observant amongst you might notice that my sister’s head is missing. That’s not because Graham is a rubbish photographer but because Janice doesn’t want to be recognised as a knitwear model.

I tried telling her that’s how Sir Roger Moore got started, but she was having none of it!

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