tger greenhaddock: July 2006

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Veggie burgers anyone?

At work the other night I came across an online article about Soya, and about how it's added to many processed foods. It’s a good article and raises many questions. Personally I have been wondering for a few years now about the correlation between many of the increasing illnesses of the past few decades and lifestyles of modern man. This article seemed to fill in a few gaps for me in the overall puzzle. If interested you should read it, it does make you think.

At this time of the year with the hot summer weather we try and eat salad on an almost daily basis. Most of this we try and grow in our garden. The beauty of this (apart from the great taste) is knowing exactly where the food has come from. Lately I am also eating less meat. I am not turning vegetarian, I just feel I should eat less meat, and what meat I eat should be of a higher quality (Bio)

After years of abuse I guess it’s finally time to look after myself a bit more. But of course there will still always be time to throw a couple of steaks on the grill, and sup a few cold ones!

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Friday, July 21, 2006


I have been off work this last week as Mrs H was in hospital for a few days. She is now home safe and sound and is recovering well. I had planned to do lots of stuff with the Juniorette, some of which we did, but a lot of activities were scrubbed because it’s been too damn hot. The heat however means that we have harvested blackcurrants, gooseberries, zucchini, peas, strawberries, blueberries, cucumbers and a few tomatoes from the garden. We should start picking bell peppers, chilli’s and aubergines very soon.

To escape the heat in the mornings we have been going to an open air swimming pool in a village that is about 20 mins from us. We think its better that the Marburg open air pool and the local lakes. We only discovered it this year, its never really packed, has a good water slide and spring boards for diving. The Juniorette’s diving skills have really come on the last few days. She is diving really well off the lower springboard now.

Above is a picture of a swallowtail butterfly that I managed to snap a few days ago

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Friday, July 14, 2006

The Gooseberry Sawfly

A few days ago I noticed that my gooseberry bush was being eaten. On closer inspection I discovered it was being ravished by a horde of Gooseberry sawfly larvae. These innocent looking caterpillars can apparently strip bushes foliage within 2 days, seriously weakening the plant, which then makes for a poor crop the following season. There is not a lot that can be done except pick them off by hand and kill them. My favoured method of death is to put them in a plastic container and leave it in the sun. They just simply dry out, this execution method also works well on small slugs.

The weather the last few days has been too hot for me, but fortunately today is a lot cooler. For many years I lived I hot in climates and it wasn’t a problem for me, but for the last few years when it gets hot I overheat, and I don’t seem to be able cool down. This results in me becoming very weary, and puts me in a bad mood. Not good for me, and not good for people around me either. I wonder if it’s anything thing to with my thyroid disease or as a result of the aging process. Hope it’s the former else I’ll be living in an igloo by the time I retire.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

European Borg

A while back Duncan at Expatriate Odyssey wrote a post about homesickness and the possibility of dying abroad and being buried in some foreign field. As I commented at the time, for many years I would have liked for my remains to be returned to British soil to be buried. But nowadays my attitude has changed; - the worms can have me anywhere they like.

This got me to thinking about an elderly gentleman I once shared a cabin with during a voyage between St Helena and Ascension Island. He was in his seventies, had spent most of his adult life in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and was returning to England for the first time since he left. He was a very interesting colonial character who certainly had a very romanticised view of England. He was going back to see it one last time before he died. He thought the old country was still populated by gentlemen & ladies having afternoon tea whilst watching the cricket match on the local village green. I was not going to be the one to shatter his illusion.

At the time I felt sorry for the old chap, but slowly, I believe, like him my view of England is now seen through rose tinted glasses. This probably explains why I am so disappointed with the place whenever I returned for a holiday. I will always follow and support the England football and cricket teams, but I am slowly starting to feel not so English anymore, and I am starting to feel more European. Whether this is a good or bad thing I don’t know. But I guess the assimilation process must have started.

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Off target but having fun

I only have a month to go to reach my weight reduction target. I strategically did not set myself a difficult goal. I set myself a very achievable weight target, and all was going according to plan, that is, until the World Cup started. Since then my weight has started increasing. The combination of too much beer, and not enough visits to the gym has started to take its toll. But the Buddha beer belly has been worth it. A whole month of constant footy, beer & BBQ’s has been a lot of fun. We got to see one game live in Köln which was a tremendous experience. Shame it wasn’t an England or a Germany game.

But next month Germany plays a friendly game against Sweden in Gelsenkirchen and the Haddock family will be there to see it. As expected the Juniorette is very excited. In a few minutes the 3rd place playoff game Germany v Portugal starts (hopefully Germany win), and then following tomorrows final game (hopefully France win it) I will devote my full attention to losing a bit of weight again.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Blooming marvelous

With the recent hot weather the garden has been going great guns. We have had masses of strawberries (Mrs H makes a mean strawberry flan), we have just started picking the peas and the tomatoes are starting to set. The aubergines, bell peppers, zucchini (see photo), cucumbers and chilli’s are all in flower. Mrs H seems to think that 12 chilli plants (consisting of 3 varieties) is a bit excessive, seeing how we had too many chilli’s from 2 plants last year. I personally believe you can never have too many chilli’s. Besides my brother in the UK has almost 20 plants going this year!

Last year I had a bit of a failure with the cucumbers, but this year I have grown everything from seed, so I am hoping my home grown cucumbers will succeed.
Fruit wise, the blackcurrants are ripening well as are the gooseberries and the first of the blueberries are starting to turn blue. Later in the year if I have time I will create a new flower bed, mainly of perennials to attract more bees and butterflies to the garden.

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Back to Monkey Island

I guess later today the England football team will be flying home after losing their quarter final match last night to Portugal. It was inevitable that the game went to a penalty shoot out, and as always in a shoot out England lost. Maybe the players don't have the nerve for it. I certainly didn't have the nerve to watch. The stress is much less when hearing the news second hand over the phone than watching it live on TV. Mrs H relayed the news to me when I was on the train on the way home from work. I watched the regular 90 mins at work, and then caught an update at the train station. It was going to penalties again and I didn't want to watch.

Ironically England lost after probably playing their best football of the tournament. But there is a silver lining to every cloud, and that came in the form of France beating Brazil. Zidane played fanatstic. I know I will probably now have to hand in my British passport for my further support of our Gallic neighbours, but I don't care as I have snails in garlic for breakfast. Allez les bleus!

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