Monday, 24 November 2014

I'm alright, Are you alright?

Good morning all.

A bit grey and damp today, but still nice to be home again after our fantastic Cornish break. I always envisage this being a really quiet time with sales dropping away, potting all done and just those tasks put off through the busy seasons to sort out in the run up to Christmas. Just the time for a break without too much hassle. Naturally things don’t always work out quite so well and a series of IT issues completely messed up our holiday preparation and our return too. I won’t bore you with the details but a combination of a hard drive failure in the main computer in the week before the break (close to a complete disaster, backup, backup, backup), followed on our return by a circuit board failure in the best printer and another DOS attack on the modem router (no or very intermittent internet for 3 days) The DOS attack came with a recommendation from our broadband supplier to fit a different modem which was of course followed by taking nearly two days to fit the ‘simple plug and play’ kit. A slightly complex computer and telephone IP address set up meant that with the new kit in place nothing could find anything else. Anyway big thanks to Widenet in Romsey for recovering the hard drive data, OKI for finding and hopefully mending the printer problem (luckily still just inside its 3 year warranty) and Joseph at Daisy Broadband who was one of very few helpful experts we got hold of. Suggesting we hand over the modem issues to our IT department is not much help as this is one businesses where IT is limited in its resources in just about every way imaginable.

Back to happier times in Cornwall. Brilliant break, too much delicious food, delightful company, more damp in the air than ideal but yet another valuable life enhancing experience. Last year it was rock solution basins and understanding how the Men-an-Tol (unusual prehistoric standing stones) got its hole, this year it was holy wells and birding psychology. The holy well bit was further investigation in our understanding the importance of springs to prehistoric people and their quite common conversion into Christian sites as time went by. We know how to have a good time! Do bear in mind it did involve some great walks and lovely pubs. The birding experience was probably more entertaining and satisfying with a couple of valuable life lessons. There was plenty of twitcher activity this year and consequently I suffered more than the usual degree of feelings of inadequacy being only a casual participant. Getting the book out to check stuff in public is just not cool, the smart phone and Google is less conspicuous, in fact almost invisible as everyone is always looking at their phones these days. More tricky is judgement on telescope use. It’s easy to look part of the set with reasonable binoculars but can I bring myself to set up my ‘Mighty Midget’ on its tripod next to the monster kit already on show. It’s a really nice ‘scope with good lenses and zoom but size wise it’s no beast. It was a mental battle I won in the end with a realisation that I couldn’t see without it and I’m getting too old to care now anyway. We had one very positive experience at high tide on Hayle Estuary one afternoon watching and listening to the massed ranks of waders and ducks pushed together by rising waters. They were all feeding and happily babbling away when it was pointed out what was going on at the social community level. The contented babbling was actually performing a valuable function and the conversation proceeded something like; ‘I’m alright, are you alright?’ answered with the same reply and question from their neighbour and so the reassuring conversation goes on. Then there may be a scare with the passing of a buzzard and the conversation changes to a more urgent message, they may take off for safety to wheel around and settle again moments later, gradually resuming the reassuring conversation again. The feel good factor of listening to those birds was a gentle reminder of how good reassurance feels. Silence followed by alarm calls is much less enjoyable than reassurance and alarm. The emergencies may be no different but the in between bits are so much more fulfilling.

I’m alright, are you all right? And may be a bit of you're alright, am I alright?


A new strain of hardy Cyclamen coum (Cyberia) is coming into colour, three colours which are due to flower from November to April. Nice chunky, tidy plants with lots of potential. Sold out of white for the moment.
We have several new Saxifraga urbium varieties coming out of the micro-prop lab of which we have a few still in flower.
Erysimum varieties are coming on stream already and the Red Jep have already started producing bud.
Hellebourus are just starting to come ready with a few new additions to the range. We are trying a new H. orientalis selection called Crown Dark Purple which is reported to flower after its first winter, it is certainly coming on nicely at the moment. We have a few H. niger Praecox to try out and three great new H. viridus varieties which are looking very smart and distinctly different from each other. ‘Silver & Rose’ has attractive solidly silvered foliage, ‘White Green’ has deep green leaves with strong cream veining, and ‘Rose Green’ has a more glaucous green leaf with pretty flush of pink in the stems and some leaf veining. Nice short varieties looking enthusiastic in their pots. Euphorbia’s looking smart, nice pot full’s of foliage.
Have a good one, from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries