Thursday 23rd October 2014 – Tomtatoes, I’m not very impressed!

You may remember that I bought 5 Tomtato plants from Gardeners’ World Live this year. They cost me £1 each and I got 5 for £4. I decided that I would go with the 5 plants as they were so cheap, and I planted 4 up the allotment, and 1 at home on the patio, in the grow bag that they had provided. I thought that this way I could compare them to see if it made any difference growing in soil or in compost. The 4 up the allotment I harvested in the middle of September. They had grown fairly well considering they were next to the Pumpkins that rather took over the end of my plot. There were plenty of Tomatoes, small little cherry sized ones. They then got blight, so I harvested all the Tomatoes and dug up any Potatoes that were underneath in the soil. Well I say Potatoes, plural, when in fact I got 1 medium sized Potato from each plant!! Not very good. But never mind, I still had 1 growing at home on the patio, and that hadn’t got blight and was growing beautifully. But this week, blight hit that plant, so this afternoon I harvested that one. The Tomato part of the plant had grown to about 4 feet high, and had masses of  Tomatoes growing. I kept picking them and using them whole in salads. They were very tasty. So after I’d removed all the Tomatoes that hadn’t been blight stricken, I cut down the remainder of the plant, and then set about harvesting the Potatoes. This time I can use the plural, as I managed to get 3 medium sized Potatoes from this plant!! I don’t think I’ll be growing these again, and I’m very glad that I didn’t pay £15 for one plant at the beginning of the season! I did exactly what the instructions said, so I don’t know what happened. So in conclusion to my little experiment, the compost made a slight difference, but not much. I think I’ll stick to growing them separately from now on. If you’ve grown them, please let me know how yours grew. Also this afternoon, I finished clearing the greenhouse of all the old plants from this year, and then had a quick tidy of the front garden. The leaves from the tree outside our house still haven’t turned brown and fallen off yet, but when they do, they seem to make a mass exodus to my garden. So once they start to fall, I’ll have to clear them frequently before they take over. George loves that tree, it’s a great climbing one. He first climbed it at 18 months old, and then a couple of years ago he jumped out of it and broke his elbow, but he’s that sort of boy. When he goes out to play I say “Be careful”, and not “Don’t hurt yourself”. We’ve made lots of trips to the local A&E that we’re becoming regulars. Actually the last time, he broke his ankle and that was in January, so I think it’s the longest time we’ve been away from the hospital, they must be wondering what’s happened.

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Monday 20th October 2014 – It’s tidy up time!!

Now that most things are out the allotment that have to be, it’s now time to again work through the bed one by one and thoroughly weed and get everything sorted for the winter break. It’s still bizarrely warm for this time of year, so I’d better make the most of it before the cold sets in. So today I started to work through the beds in order, weed and put some manure on. We had a load delivered yesterday, but I was unable to be there (seeing a film, but can’t remember what it was called), but there is still a little left, so I’ll take what I can. I’ve also started to fill up the old tyres that I have, and put the Strawberry runners in them. They’ve gone mad this year, and are still flowering with the warm weather that we’ve been having. I’ve got loads of tyres to fill, but loads of runner to use. I’m being very choosey with them, but then I’ve got loads, so I can be. If the roots aren’t established enough, then they go. I was on site for about 3 hours, but 1 hour of that was spent talking to some neighbouring plot holders. It’s good to catch up. Tonight we’re due to get the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo, which means torrential rain, and high winds, so batten down the hatches and hold on.

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BFI London Film Festival

We’ve been waiting a very long time for this. Yes I know that we’ve seen Robot Overlords before, but that was in a small cinema. But this time it was shown at the Vue, Leicester Square, London. If you don’t know where that is, it’s right in the centre of Leicester Square, and where the Warner Cinema used to be, but is now called the Vue. It’s a massive cinema with super duper sound and a huge, massive screen. Robot Overlords was part of the BFI London Film Festival, and we got to see it today in all it’s glory. Some members of the cast came for the showing, so I got to meet them again. The film had it’s world premier this weekend (no red carpet though), and people had actually paid to come and see it. Having read the script at a very early stage, lots has changed, but all for the better. All those times that Mark has shut himself off to work on the script or have Skype calls with Jon Wright, and weekends away to work on the script with Jon have all been worth it. I don’t mind when he does this, I’m a grown up, and can cope without him for a while. We can always speak on the phone, or text each other, so I don’t mind. As we went into the cinema, Peter Lord from Aardman held open the door. I had no idea who he was until Mark told me. He’s one on the founder of  Aardman who are behind Wallace and Gromit. I did say thank you to him for holding open the door, because I’m polite. When we arrived inside there was a big cardboard cut out poster of the film, so we had to get a photograph.

The Robot Overlords poster, we're all very excited.

The Robot Overlords poster, we’re all very excited.

Before the film started we went up to the lounge area, where all the cast and various producers and other people had gathered. I’m not sure how I managed to get a photo of everyone before the press did, but then I was rather cheeky and asked the photographer if he minded if I took a couple first. He obliged with out question. I’m the writers wife you know, I’m very important!

Various members of the cast, producers, writer and director. All smiling beautifully for me.

Various members of the cast, producers, writer and director. All smiling beautifully for me.

After we’d watched the film, the same motley crew did a Q and A. Various members of the audience asked questions, mainly the kids asked questions. There was one little girl however, who was just adorable. She stood up and told us all that it was her birthday, she must have been about 8 years old, she then asked Callan McAuliffe a question which he answered, and then she said “I think you’re yummy!” Which made the who cinema roar with laughter, and Callan didn’t know quite what to say.

Q and A at the end. I think you're yummy!!

Q and A at the end. I think you’re yummy!!

During the end credits I managed to get this shot. Sorry that the words are a bit blurred, but I had to be quick. You can hopefully see in the special thanks: Claire Stay, Emily Stay and George Stay…that’s us!!

We're in there somewhere, can you spot us?

We’re in there somewhere, can you spot us?

Then it was off to another venue for drinks and nibbles, then home for pizza. Phew what a busy day!!

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Friday 17th October 2014 – I feel like Bugs Bunny may pop round!

Well the last several days, we’ve not had weather suitable for me to go up the allotment. But today the sun was shining so it was perfect. I popped up just for a couple of hours this afternoon to harvest all my Carrots. They’ve grown really well this year (if a little slow to start with), and I’ve sown several varieties. You may remember that this year, I decided to grow them in a block rather than in a line. This was a new thing that I was going to try. Even though they grew really well, I think I prefer to sow them in lines. I find them easier to harvest, and lines generally look neater. But I’ve got a trug full and a large bag full of beautiful carrots. I was a little disappointed though, that not one was an odd shape!! I usually get quite a few that have lots of legs and looks like something from outer space. May be next year I’ll get something bizarre looking. Obviously following the instructions from “Lottie and Dottie Sow Carrots” paid off! So after I’ve had my cup of tea (which is well earned) I need to wash all my carrots and then I think I’ll freeze them. I’ve tried to put them in paper and store them in the shed before, but they tended to go rather hairy and loose their flavour very quickly. So I think I’ll freeze them, and then take them out as and when I need them. After all you can get frozen ones in the supermarket, so they must freeze ok. I’ll keep some out for us to eat for the next few days though. I’ve got some round carrots, so I’ll leave those whole and then they can be roasted with other vegetables. I also dug up a few rogue Potatoes that were growing in the carrot bed, and then had a bit of a tidy up. Hopefully I can get down again next week, weather dependant, as I still have quite a lot to do before I tuck it up for winter.

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It’s competition time!!

Here is your chance to win a signed copy of Lottie and Dottie Sow Carrots. All you have to do is watch the Robot Overlords Teaser Trailer and let me know what the “Time Code” says when I make a brief appearance, if you can give a brief description of what I’m wearing at the time that would also be helpful (I’m not wearing a t-shirt that says “Claire’s Allotment”, just incase you were thinking it would be that easy). That’s right I’m in the trailer, and eventually the film, and so is Mark, Emily and George. The first one who lets me know will get their very own signed copy of my first book. So watch with care and see if you can spot me. Have fun!!

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First look at Robot Overlords – excitement level: high!


It’s a cracking film, a must see.

Originally posted on unusually tall stories:

Our chums at the BFI have released this cracking little behind-the-scenes vid for Robot Overlords. It features action, robots, our awesome cast, Jon, Piers and my big flappy hands…


… but don’t let that put you off. Tickets for the festival are on sale now and you can get them here. And the video is below, enjoy!

*Edit! I’ve learned that this vid might not play outside the UK! Gah! As soon as I have an international version I’ll pop it up. Sorry!

View original

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Do you have an excess of Pumpkins?

Well if you do after your Halloween celebrations, here’s what you can do with them…. Big Cat Halloween!! I thought cats weren’t supposed to like water, but tigers can swim. I never knew that!!

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