Sunday, 16 September 2018
Hursley 10k, Free Food & The Vegetable Garden
After a tentative parkrun yesterday which I ran slowly, chatting to friend Keith who looks a bit like a mad professor with electrocuted hair, I decided the arm was good to go for the Hursley 10k this morning. It's a multi-terrain (cross country) race through the lovely grounds of Hursley estate and Ampfield wood.
Last year it poured with rain beforehand and the course was one giant bog with people slipping and sliding and falling over as they did their best to try and avoid the mud (hopeless strategy- much better to plough through the middle of it), this year it was baked solid into ankle-turning nobbles. Despite this, it was a lovely run with a few good hills thrown in -these suited me fine, but they were met with increasing groans by my fellow competitors :o).
I got round in a faster time than expected, despite taking it steady, and felt good at the end so it was a useful outing. The ache in my hip was mild and got no worse during the run and eased off after it, so I hope that is now resolving itself. I could really do with getting one more long run in ahead of the marathon, but I will have to play that one by ear.
After lunch we took the dogs out for a walk and discovered an old walnut tree on the side of the lane which was dropping its fruit. We collected a couple of pocketful's and I'm debating what to do with them. I've just bought Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Much More Veg having watched the series on TV and it's fab, packed full of enticing recipes, some of which I'm sure must contain walnuts. I'm particularly keen to try this one.....
To add to the free food bounty, we collected an enormous bag of eating apples (four varieties, none of which you can get in the shops and all of which are delicious) and a huge bunch of spinach from my in laws' oh-so-productive garden, as well as a basketful of cookers from our tree. The cookers are small this year but there are masses of them and I am once again putting them out by the gate for passing friends/ family/ neighbours/ travellers to help themselves. On Friday, a lovely chap came to the house and asked whether I'd like some courgettes by way of a swap. We're already growing them so I politely declined, and we had a nice chat about which veg had done well this year and which hadn't. Before he went he told me that he was going to make blackberry and apple crumble when he got home with our apples and some blackberries he'd picked that morning. After he'd gone I found myself musing that that was exactly what I love about handing out free home-grown fruit and veg at the gate: that spirit of sharing where no money changes hands, just delicious, home-grown goodness.
Despite the amount of blackberries still in the hedgerows, I have stopped collecting them myself because we have so many already in the freezer. The fieldfare are already back in any event and they will need them, as will the Dormice who need to fatten up ahead of their winter sleep. The squash and pumpkins are nearly ready in the garden, as are the carrots. The courgettes are still producing but there are not so many now, likewise the toms, which haven't been especially prolific but have provided enough for our needs.
I'm having a good think about what to grow next year- we usually shift our emphasis from year to year depending on what has worked in the soil here and our own preferences. Next year I am giving up one of the flower beds for veg, partly because the flower beds are additional work and partly because I think the space is better used for edible veggies. We're trying to eat more veg so I think this makes sense. I'm not a massive meat fan for lots of reasons, and so eating more veg feels like the right thing to do. I feel better on it and I think it's good for runners, nourishing and clean.
That's the round-up of news from here- hope you are all well and have had a nice weekend.