Latest from The sticks




Doesn't time fly when you're fighting against Brexit? Well, here we are in the middle of April and two Brexit days have come and gone and the Brexit mess is no nearer a conclusion. Now we have the European Parliamentary elections to look forward to next month. I hope all the psychologists are ready to cope with the country suffering a mass attack of cognative disonance when they turn out to vote to elect the unelected dictators.

But then again, Brexit has already driven most of the country mad. Self help gurus giving advice on how to survive the stress are thriving and last week I was interested to see that one of the most popular activities taken up in response to Brexit is gardening. Vegetable gardening kills two birds with one stone, as it were! Creative activity, fresh air and gentle exercise to make you feel good and the prospect and pleasures of home grown food in case of shortages or price hikes. 

Even if it's only a theory it gives the illusion of being in control of something. I like it.

This is my second year of vegetable gardening after a break of over 10 years. Last year  I thought if  "dig for Britain" or "grow your own" becomes a thing again, I'd better get a bit of practice in so I can hit the ground running, or should that be digging? But I'll be doing it for me, it'll be "grow your own", not "dig for Britain". The Brexit leaders told me in no uncertain terms my knowledge and expertise were no longer required and then Mrs May told me I could consider myself a citizen of nowhere. So any produce I manage to grow using my new skills and expertise will stay in my nowhere land.

To be honest, it is fortunate that Brexit has been delayed and we didn't "crash out" at the end of March because my spring vegetables aren't ready yet. For a while after Christmas I didn't think I'd get any at all because every leaf that grew on my cabbages was devoured by creature or creatures unseen despite the slug pellets and protection under the very expensive fine insect mesh. But now they have started to grow nicely and, fingers crossed,  are no longer being attacked by hungry ghosts.

This year I'm trying to phase my planting over a longer period to extend the harvest period and smooth out the gluts in late summer and autumn. So far I've planted at least one batch of most of my planned crops. My green house is full of seedlings and more than half my beds have been sown with root vegetables. It remains to be seen whether any kohl rabi or celariac will actually grow and whether I'll be able to distinguish carrot seedlings from weeds. But it is a distraction from Brexit and if everything germinates and all my seedlings survive I'll need another green house and twice as many garden beds. 

Just don't tell the Webmaster.

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Maps for local walks

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Selection of our walking routes on the edge of the Staffordshire Moorlands. All accessible from convenient public car parks 

Then and now


Tracing the  history of the house from early 1800s to the present day using historical documents and idenitying people who lived here before us


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15 years of family history research available in our webtrees database (over 800 surnames and nearly 5000 individuals) plus a collection of birth, marriage and death certificates.  

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Transcription of travel diaries made during the last 36 years starting with India and Nepal 1981 and including USA 1983, Syria 1993, South America 2000 and South Africa 2014 together with photographs. This is a work in progress as the diaries are transcribed, so check for updates.

Route to the Soul

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Began as a romantic mixture of emotion and practical tips from two young students discovering themselves and life as they recounted their adventures away from home. The Student and her boyfriend shared their passion for each other, travel and their pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. Now the blog is maintained by the Student who studies and works part time on-line while she and her boyfriend continue their travels to explore the world. Her blog focuses on wellbeing and politics affecting the state of the planet & the lives of its inhabitants.

Seeds & Weeds

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We weren't gardeners, we don't even listen to Gardeners' Question Time very often, but we have a large garden with plenty of potential and since I retired at the end of 2017 we have become amateur gardners. We favour the wild, natural look and like the birds, butterflies, frogs and other small animals but we want it to be looked after and we have recently revived and extended our vegetable patch. This section is dedicated to reluctant gardeners in constant fight against the weeds - solidarity among the nettled and scratched - the caterpillars, slugs, snails and multitudes of insects.

Rooted to the Spot

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Magazine style section with articles about life at the Sticks on a theme inspired by Brexit