It’s a swinging place…


Munguin relaxes on his garden swing…
…then on Tris’s bench, while Tris digs in a new tree, plants a photinia, sweeps the paths, feeds the birds and the mice,  makes the coffee, and takes the photographs. Oh to be a media mogul.

Beautiful day in Dundee today, and as Conan reminded Munguin that he had a swing, he decided to take himself to the garden and watch Tris working down there.

Oh, for the life of the rich and powerful…


69 thoughts on “It’s a swinging place…”

  1. Lucky Munguin. Panda and his pal will be wanting swings and benches now, maybe even a paddling pool just so they can get one ahead!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “It is indeed a lovely day again in Dundee”, he said, sourly, racked by another fit of coughing and sneezing and shivering with hay fever – why do plants always have to choose nice, fine weather to have sex? But yes, it is indeed a beautiful day.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh dear. Sorry to hear that.

      Thank heaven’s I’m not affected by it. It really would be a disaster for me.

      Munguin would have to employ another gardener!


    2. I’m just about to brave the annual mopping of the spring pollen off my tiny balcony. Achooo. Achooo. Sniff.

      I fear a dirty bird has done something unpleasant on your bench. They don’t half mess up lovely gardens.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Poor you.

        The good thing about feeding as many birds as I do (especially at this time when there are chicks, in you get lots of bird…erm, guano, which clearly is good for the plants. The downside is that they have a habit of depositing it where you wish they hadn’t!

        Take your anti-histamine tabs… and a glass of red. You’ll sleep like a log tonight.


  3. It isnae bad in Edinburgh anaw. Sitting on the patio in the shade of the cherry trees, attempting to open a can of lager one handed, watching the stack of empty planters and bedding plants lined neatly along the fence. I should water them I suppose.
    Tried to fill them one-handed this morning. Fifteen minutes of pain and swearing later, sod that for a gemme o sodgers, beer time. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. All the gardeners out there; I’ve a stack of thirteen granite setts that were the base of my auld howf. (shed Danny)

    Any creative ideas

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They make good edging… Not enough to build a patio…12 would make a good base for a decorative pot…

      Hmmm… Open to some of the other gardeners on here…


    2. Conan: Pile them in a shady corner and let the wildlife turn them into their howf. Then look on gumtree until more come up, go get them and add to the pile. Eventually you’ll have enough to do some creative project with or you’ll have a magnificent wildlife castle.

      The price of cobble stones has trebled on gumtree in the past 3 years. You used to get them free to pick up, then they went up to 50p each, now they’re £1. Look on them as an investment.

      You could end up being Edinburgh’s first granite sett millionaire if you play your cards right and your garden will be heaving with great big spiders as a bonus.

      I believe that constitutes a win win. My work here is done.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A poond each!
        Back in the dark days of Thatcher (which come to think of it, doesn’t seem so bad now), I was chargehand on a job creation scheme. After making several playgrounds around Edinburgh we were moved to a site at Roseburn, to work on a pathway for the Water of Leith.
        This consisted of metal gabions to placed alongside the bank to be filled with rubble, then concreted over and a handrail erected.

        Except they were filled with setts… buried treasure. S0, if you’re ever walking there;- Roseburn, the back of Donaldson’s school, to the Britannia hotel, you are walking on a very expensive pathway indeed…

        Liked by 2 people

    3. Thanks Conan for the translation. So I take it that a howf would be too small to shelter a Heilan coo.
      My Scots vocabulary is pretty much limited to whatever Tris tells me, and what I can pick up from Munguin’s Republic. Not to mention the occasional Harry Lauder record. So I’m cool with a wee deoch an doris and a wee but an ben. (Not much opportunity to use those of course.)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. 31C in Leicester ATM – and rising. Thunderstorms imminent by the feel of it.

    Not sure we’ve ever had 31C in May before – maybe in 1990, May was very hot that year as I remember temps of 23-25C at 8am when I got to work.

    Global warming is happening rapidly now – last 5 years the top summer temps in Leicester have gone from 31C to 36C in July 2015. Last year was 34.6C on 19 July. The average monthly temps are between 2-3C higher than the Central England Temperature averages from 1971-2000 & the rainfall alternates between bugger all (8mm in April) to sub-tropical with a months normal rain falling in a day. As a consequence the ground gets drier every year around here…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Looks like the temp will peak at nearly 33C today if the thunderstorms don’t arrive first. Bloody hell that’s ridiculous for May!

      Hell of a stress test for the tomatoes in autopots that went out on the patio on Monday – one looks like its dead 😦 On the plus side if it is then I can stick a cayenne pepper plant in.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Crikey, that’s a bit warm for May.

      I’m guessing that you’ll have thunder tonight.

      Munguin and I were out walking in the hills this afternoon… It was 25C.

      I reckon we’ll end up with a storm too, although probably not tonight.

      Two nights ago, I had to have the heating on!

      What a climate.


      1. Peaked at 34.4C according to a local (2 miles away) amateur weather station. Peaked at 33.1C at our north-east facing door.


        Liked by 1 person

      2. I always have to get out my calculator and do the C to F conversion to appreciate discussions of fine temperatures in Scotland. We’ve had fine 25C weather here too. But after Spring comes the Summer and 40C or more. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah, nasty. But I imagine it’s a dry heat, Danny? So far inland.

          That nothing like as debilitating as a humid heat. Still not nice to have to work in!


      3. We do have a continental climate here, which is arctic in winter and a furnace in summer. But a central US location does not rescue us from humid heat. We often have lots of moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. On the other hand, the same (or higher) temperature in the desert southwest is not nearly so oppressive. Good argument for a holiday in Las Vegas.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Let’s make May history on June 8th.

      Change is happening far more erratically than was envisaged years ago as frost is almost non exsistant up here and we are are latitudanly in the middle of the Hudson Bay.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh lord, if I get distracted for even a minute or two, he deducts 10% of my wages.

      On the other hand…10% of what I get is…well, nothing! Literally!


  6. What a beautiful day to take the sun in the garden! I’ll pay no mind to the naysayers who say that the weather in Scotland is sometimes not so perfect.


  7. I’ve decided to have a go at growing some nice hot chilli plants this year.
    This hot weather is fairly bringing them on.
    My napper is getting burnt though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t bother unless they’re in a greenhouse is my advice.

      I tried for years – dozens of varieties and never had much success outside. The overnight temps in the UK are simply too cold for most chillis as they want MINIMUM temps of 20-25C, don’t believe anyone who tries to tell you otherwise. Yes you’ll get chillis growing but they’ll take far too long to ripen and won’t be hot when they do.

      One of the few exceptions to this rule is Prairie Fire which are tiny chillis about 2cm long. You’ll get dozens per plant & they have a very nice flavour along with moderate heat (moderate to me anway). has a good selection of chilli seeds (and toms/lettuce/etc) and they’re very reliable. Only ever had one problem with non-germination & they sent me a replacement pack of seeds along with their chilli & tomato variety packs the next day. I have no connection with them other than as a customer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The variety i’m growing are Basket of Fire. They are a small bush type plant. I think they don’t need such a long growing season.
        I’ve only got the one Habanero as I know it might not ripen.
        I’m growing them on a window sill, and will place some outside in pots when they get a bit bigger. I’ll bring them inside later in the year. The Habanero will stay indoors.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s more chance of SLAB taking all the seats in Scotland next month than there is of any habanero working outside – or even inside, unless your heating is buggered 🙂 Habs want daytime temps of 30C minimum to produce hot chillis. By that I mean it may well ripen but it won’t have the Hab heat because the soil won’t be hot enough.

        In terms of windowsill stuff Prairie Fire works on a window which gets a minimum of 5-6 hours direct sunlight a day and is still bright outside those times. – these work very well, combine one blue & one red and you can at least kickstart the growing process early in the year (Jan-Feb) and then you’ve got a fighting chance of getting chillis before the next winter 🙂 For those who don’t realise it, some chillis will take over 200 days from seed to fruit; most take 120-150 days. That usually comes as a bit of a shock to people as for some reason they expect the same 60-90 days tomatoes take….

        NB – I used to use that company in the link, don’t now as they’ve gone downhill but you can find the LED tubes elsewhere. They’re made by a Belgian company called Secret Jardin so if you google “SJ TLED” or “Secret Jardin TLED” you’ll find them available from lots of hydro shops in the UK. They use 23W each & produce ridiculous amounts of light in the right spectrum for plants. Expensive but have a lifespan of 30,000 hours (3.5 years powered-on, more like 6 years in normal use). I’ve used between 4-12 (turn on more as it grows) in a 0.8m³ growtent last winter & produced over 12kg of Sungold tomatoes in NFT hydro & then autopots (still a form of hydro). Surprised the wife isn’t more red now really 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I’ve got one habanero in my unheated green house as an experiment this year along with a half dozen jalapeños. I grow jalapeños every year and even with the awful summer last year I got peppers 6″ long. Cut them in half, scoop out seeds and pith, mix some cream cheese with grated cheddar, put halfs back together and wrap with a slice of streaky bacon. Roast for 25mins. Delicious.

      I agree with vestas, it’s way too late to be planting seeds. I use a heated propogator in February to start mine. If you don’t have plants 2-3″ tall by mid end of march then you need to buy them in. I was too late this year so got mine from the garden centre. It’s a lot easier if the facilities are a problem but the variety is limited.

      A lots made of hot chillies but I prefer to use mild to medium strength when cooking, I just use more chillies and in my opinion this imparts a greater depth of flavour than with the volcanic varieties.


      1. Spot on.

        The tastiest chilli I ever grew was Cherry Bomb – an explosion of fruit and then the heat which is hot but bearable. Dunno why I haven’t done them since really.

        If you have a greenhouse – or a southerly-facing conservatory thing – then your options get so much better. The further north you go then the better it gets provided you can keep night-time temps up.

        My experience of growing chillis in growtents suggests you’ll get the best results with 18 hours of light, 6 hours of dark. Chilli isn’t photosensitive but root growth tends to occur more during the hours of darkness so you need to balance top & bottom so to speak. Tomatoes have an ideal of 16 hours light, 8 hours dark – more than that & you need to up the potassium (IIRC) or you get blossom-end rot (normally caused by lack of calcium/water).

        I view the people trying to grow (in the UK) the hottest chillis as either mad or inexperienced. Chances are they won’t get it to even germinate (tepins take 50 days+) and if they successfully get it to fruit then they better have a few litres of milk around when they try them 😀

        Go for flavour first with chillis (yes they do have a flavour other than “wtf was that?”) rather than heat.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Apologies about some of the language (this is the mildest version) but this “Chilli Story” always cracks me up. Hopefully readers won’t be too offended :

        Frank the Chili Taster

        Notes From An Inexperienced Chili Taster Named FRANK, who was visiting Texas from the East Coast:

        “Recently I was honored to be selected as an outstanding Famous celebrity in Texas, to be a judge at a chili cook-off, because no one else wanted to do it. Also the original person called in sick at the last moment, and I happened to be standing there at the judge’s table asking directions to the beer wagon when the call came. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn’t be all that spicy, and besides they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted.

        Here are the scorecards from the event:

        Chili # 1: Mike’s Maniac Mobster Monster Chili

        JUDGE ONE: A little too heavy on tomato. Amusing kick.

        JUDGE TWO: Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.

        FRANK: Holy shit, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway with it. Took me two beers to put the flames out.

        Hope that’s the worst one. These Texans are crazy.

        Chili # 2: Arthur’s Afterburner Chili

        JUDGE ONE: Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight Jalapeno tang.

        JUDGE TWO: Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.

        FRANK: Keep this out of reach of children! I’m not sure what I am supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to walkie-talkie in 3 extra beers when they saw the look on my face.

        Chili # 3: Fred’s Famous Burn Down the Barn Chili

        JUDGE ONE: Excellent firehouse chili! Great kick. Needs more beans.

        JUDGE TWO: A beanless chili, a bit salty, good use of red peppers.

        FRANK: Call the EPA, I’ve located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Barmaid pounded me on the back; now my backbone is in the front part of my chest.

        I’m getting shit-faced.

        Chili # 4: Bubba’s Black Magic

        JUDGE ONE: Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.

        JUDGE TWO: Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.

        FRANK: I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Sally, the bar maid, was standing behind me with fresh refills; that 300 lb. bitch is starting to look HOT, just like this nuclear-waste I’m eating.

        Chili # 5: Linda’s Legal Lip Remover

        JUDGE ONE: Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.

        JUDGE TWO: Chili using shredded beef; could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.

        FRANK: My ears are ringing, and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage.

        Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from a pitcher. It really pisses me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Screw those rednecks!

        Chili # 6: Vera’s Very Vegetarian Variety

        JUDGE ONE: Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spice and peppers.

        JUDGE TWO: The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb.

        FRANK: My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that slut Sally. I need to wipe my ass with a snow cone!

        Chili # 7: Susan’s Screaming Sensation Chili

        JUDGE ONE: A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.

        JUDGE TWO: Ho Hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. I should note that I am worried about Judge Number 3. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.

        FRANK: You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn’t feel a damn thing. I’ve lost the sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava-like shit to match my damn shirt. At least during the autopsy they’ll know what killed me. I’ve decided to stop breathing, it’s too painful. Screw it, I’m not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I’ll just suck it in through the 4 inch hole in my stomach.

        Chili # 8: Helen’s Mount Saint Chili

        JUDGE ONE: A perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili, safe for all, not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.

        JUDGE TWO: This final entry is a good, balanced chili, neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge Number 3 passed out, fell and pulled the chili pot on top of himself. Not sure if he’s going to make it. Poor Yank.

        FRANK: ————– (editor’s note: Judge #3 was unable To report)

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I’m not planting seeds. My plants germinated at the start of April. All 12 of the smaller chillis germinated and are now around 3″ tall. Only 1 Habanero germinated and it is about 7″ tall. They are all needing potted on as the roots are out the bottom of the 3″ pots.
        I have a high threshhold for chilli as i can happily munch away on raw Habaneros. I even ate one of thos Komodo Dragon chillis and couldn’t understand the state of some guys on Youtube crying and spewing! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Juteman you won’t be seeing ripe chillis this side of October IMHO if they’re outside and germinated in April 😦

        The hab won’t finish this year unless you use artificial light/heat – end of story. I’d suggest you try to overwinter it somewhere warm & bright then give it a go next year when its got more of a chance. There’s guides on overwintering chillis, just search.

        On the others try to take some of the chillis early when they’re green/yellow. Won’t be as good but might get some of the rest to the red/purple/black stage (depending on type). Consider using something like GHE Ripen ( ) if its getting to mid-Sept and the remainder isn’t ripening. It’s not ideal but it works very well on chillis in my experience.

        3-4 months late in doing your germination mate. Been there myself 15 years ago….

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Wasn’t it Jerome K Jerome that said:

    “I Love work!….I could watch it all day.”

    Just like Munguin it seems, great minds think alike!


  9. The plants are on a window sill, not outside.
    I may start placing then on top of my tropical fizh tank at night.
    I’ve recently bought some specialist chillo food, so maybe that will help.


    1. Sorry but it won’t help IMHO.

      Do you have flowers now? If not then you won’t have ripe fruit before the end of August, doesn’t matter what you do.

      If you don’t have flowers now then you’re looking at mid-September for ripe fruit.

      If I can’t do it on a sheltered south-west facing fence in Leicester then it isn’t going to happen for you 😦

      You know the cheapo mini-greenhouses that Aldi/B&Q do for £10-20? Polythene shite but stick a couple of chillis in that & they’ll do much better.

      You should also think about what you’re going to do with all the potential chillis because if you get a crop right then no way are you going to be eating them all in late September……

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was planning on ripe fruit by September / October. I’m on a hill, so my south west window gets direct sun from mid day to sunset. If i stick them on top of my fish tank then they will get 25c during the night. The room they are in is reading 31c on a thermometer right now! No air conditioning!
        I like making hot sauce, so fancied growing my own chillies to use.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I got a good crop a couple of years ago. Used a few straight away. The rest went on a metal tray on top of the log burner stove to dry out and go crispy. Being lazy, I just put them in a jar and used as and when required. Had I been more industrious I’d have done the pestle&mortar thingy. In retrospect I’m glad I didn’t…since I retained the option to use with or without the seeds.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I think you’ll have so little light by then that the plants give up on fruiting (producing seed) unless you use artificial lighting.

    Basically I need to pick the last week of September (in Leicester), go back 6 months (ideally 8 – end of Jan) and if I don’t have seedlings with multiple leaves up by then it won’t happen outdoors – or indoors without lighting. Outside under cover (greenhouse/polystuff) then you might have a shot at it. Doubt it but worth a shot.

    Don’t give up – try to overwinter them indoors & go again. Requires a bit of root trimming/pruning but works OK in places like Norway which don’t have the Gulf Stream.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. If you find one that seems to work but not quite then take a few cuttings a couple of weeks after fruit sets. Once they root they are mature plants which gives you a 4-12 week kickstart on all chillis in terms of flowering. Overwinter & you’re several weeks ahead of the game.

        Don’t take seeds unless you’re only growing one type of chilli/capsicum. Otherwise its literally pot luck as to what sprouts next year 🙂

        Someone I know grows toms/lettuce/chillis/some green stuff thats illegal just inside the Arctic Circle so it can be done…..

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m in the mood for a Mexican meal for some reason; I’m not going near any of my knives with only my off hand working though. Maybe crispy chilli beef from the Lucky House may satisfy this strange craving.
    On the other hand, to open a bottle/can of beer with one hand without embarrassing spillage, do thusly:

    1. Open kitchen drawer.
    2. Place can or bottle standing up, taking care not to set it upon novelty eggcup shaped like Humpty Dumpty’s trousers. Or Homer Simpsons, can’t remember.
    3. Take can/bottle out of drawer and clear can/bottle shaped space.
    4. 2.
    5. Shut drawer firmly, but not too firmly with hip. Keep leaning.
    6. If bottle, open with the wee hooked bit of the can opener (you cleared space with in 3.), as your normal bottle opener is under the patio table, in a pool of beer.
    7. If a can, insert the pointy end of can opener under tab and exert leverage. Try again, you will get it eventually.
    8. If masochist, wait until Chinese meal arrives, if not, drink outside (the chair should be dry now, in this heat.)
    9. Repeat. Chinese meal optional.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d send you a photo, but I doubt it would get into Soppy Sunday, even though the colours -maroons, purples and yellows – are quite pretty.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Lamb Vindaloo from Dil Se seems in order tonight. It is tastier than their Ceylon.
    Finest Bangladeshian in Dundee, even if it is more expensive than the generic sauce that the big mac Indian/Pakistani shops seem to use.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lovely restaurant. I used to go quite often.

      It’s translation is “from the heart”.

      Also a great film and fantastic Bhangra Music!


      1. If you like Indian food then this book has some spot-on recipes – also all sorts of other takeaways :

        Written by a Scots guy who has some sort of anxiety disorder & can’t go out much. Stunningly good book as are his others – “More Takeaway Secrets” and “The Curry Secret”. I speak as someone in Leicester (majority non-white, non-christian for 16 years+ now) so there’s a hell of a lot of choice in terms of Indian food, which varies a LOT from south to north. Kenny McGovern gets some of them absolutely spot on the money according to some Indian friends. The ones that aren’t perfect still get an 8/10 from them.

        Books are £1.99 for Kindle or £7.99 for paperback – which I note has gone up £4 since I bought one for my youngest daughter last summer before she went to uni. You can get new copies for £0.50 but I have no idea how reliable the sellers are.

        Liked by 1 person

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