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Who crossed the road first, the chicken or the egg?


Good morning lovely people 

Where has the summer gone? Thank goodness for the sunshine we’re getting from Italy via our Italian produce as it’s been freezing.  No global warming here but definitely a climate crisis.  Hands up if you’ve had your heating on in June?  As an Italian Scot having both teams in the Euros has our blood pressure through the roof and no need to light any fires. Boy you’ve got to love the pipes!  Everyone agrees, Scotland has won the best fans championship and nobody needed to place a bet on that one. 

We have six bee hives in the Kitchen Garden.  If all goes well this should supply 150 litres of honey.  This year we won’t be that lucky.  Victor, with the help of Mr Beekeeper Andrew, has been forced to feed the hives with liquid fondant to supplement their nectar intake and not eat all the good stuff.  Yes when it’s too wet the lovely little bees can’t fly or forage as their wings get too heavy. They stay cooped up inside, like the rest of us, and eat too much.  

Elsewhere in the garden we’ve lost beds of turnips and broad beans.  The ground has been soaked and the seedlings have rotted in the soil.  I’d despair if I was a commercial farmer.  If I was a footballer, I’d despair even more; all that rain in Germany would make me a puddle on the pitch. 

Thankfully we still have some treats growing, if slowly; cavolo nero, rainbow chard, lovage, angelica, radishes, rhubarb, tons of herbs and many more tasty additions.  Strawberries are looking pretty, still very green but if we can catch them before the squirrels get them you’ll be in for a marvellous strawberry feast. Foraged elderflower from the woods is also doing well.  When we were in ICiacca earlier this year (where my brother makes our olive oil and Maturano wine), we noticed a very old established elderflower tree.  Unbeknown to me, “Sambucus nigra” or Elderflower to the rest of us is used for yes, Sambuca.  Here in Scotland we use the flowers for that fragrant syrup, in Italy with the help of some star anise they make that fabulous liqueur that we’ve all enjoyed flaming with three coffee beans.   Nature really is all around us.  Horticulture should be taught at primary school.  I’ve not seen that mentioned in any manifesto? 

Rachel, a new seasonal helper to join John and Victor in the garden, has suggested a weed burner (an electric one).  It’s been so wet the weeds are still winning but it’s a new bit of equipment that my pyromaniac husband has fallen in love with.   Sadly he found two dead baby fox cubs in the garden on Tuesday.  Our neighbour thinks they were illegally poisoned. OK they are pests.  We think their mother is the reason we’ve no eggs or chickens left but they’re Mr Rocco’s cousins and it’s sad.   We have a big fence to keep animals out (not that it works) but they don’t need any licence to break in. 

The Edinburgh LEZ seems to be keeping some cars out. One supplier hasn’t been able to deliver as their vehicle wasn’t compliant.  The irony was that they are certified organic farmers. Huge positives on one side of the environmental conversation but failed on this part.   The fancy hybrid truck that delivers frozen meat from Argentina to another venue is however allowed in.  What really is good for the environment and what’s just ticking the boxes?  Without everyone kicking the ball into the same net these PC wins seemed like a corner kick in extra time of a game where we’re told we’re losing 2 nil but who’s actually keeping score. 

We’ve ticked a lot of boxes and we now have a Carbon Footprint Baseline for The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant.  As part of the project there is a focus to reduce emissions to help meet Edinburgh Council’s target. Funding for this research but no funding to help upgrade equipment which is one of the easiest ways to make savings.  It’s a chicken and egg kind of  story. 

We’ve had feedback from a candidate for a position that my blogs were too political and she didn’t want to be interviewed.    I’ve asked to have a discussion about what good looks like so we can do better.  I’m waiting for the answer.  This general election may be the biggest change we’ve had in a generation.  Should we not agree this is the time for a discussion?  My hands up for the conversation. 

Keep well and thank you as always 

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