BK - This and That


This site contains articles on various subjects that I am interested in. They include: growing on allotments; the histories of allotments and of cultivation; the summer festivals in Edinburgh (which I typically call the August Feast); and computer performance (used to be part of my day job). In general, my objective is to pitch the pieces somewhere between the short, sharp articles that can often be found on the web and full-blown books. They are tasters if you like. I tend to include lots of book references and links to other material on the web so that you can delve deeper if you are interested in a particular topic. On the subject of links ... you will invariably find many of them scattered across my sites as I am a firm believer in the original ethos of the Internet, which is to share information.

Having arrived here, possibly by serendipity, I hope that you find something of interest.

Allotments & Growing - Cultivation

I have been interested in growing, mainly vegetables and fruit, since I was a teenager and I have had an allotment for close on 30 years.

New to an Allotment? and Cultivation Approaches are both aimed at "newbies". They are based on the experiences of a dozen plot holders on our site, including myself. I collated the information some years ago and continue to maintain and occasionally expand the articles.

Garden Recipes primarily provides information on DIY sprays for tackling pests and diseases. It may be of interest to individuals who are loath to use chemicals.

The first year experiences of Harriet Roach, a young mother and plot holder on our site, is a popular read (written by Harriet herself and published here with her consent).

And finally, there is a page with lots of links to other useful articles and material that I have found elsewhere on the web.
A view across part of Sunningdale Allotments (my site), showing the plot (in the foreground) of our champion grower. Not me I hasten to add ... this is the plot of Joseph Arioli (many times winner of the best plot prize)

A view of Sunningdale Village Hall from the allotments. The Village Hall was built in 1909. Prior to that date it was part of the allotment site.

Allotments & Growing - History

I have over the years become greatly interested in both the history of allotments and the history of growing. I have penned the following pieces which I hope provide useful and readable introductions to the subjects. Both pieces include details of further reading material for anybody who wishes to delve deeper into the topics:

A Brief History of Allotments
A Brief History of Cultivation prior to Allotments.

I am also particularly interested in the histories of individual allotment sites:

History of Sunningdale Allotments (my own site in Berks)
Links to the histories of other allotment sites.

A reasonable amount of interest has been generated by this scanned copy of an advisory handbook for running allotments which was produced by the National Association of Parish Councils in 1951 to help councils manage allotment sites.

UK Allotment News

Here are links to selected recent allotment news:

Exeter council ask plot holders to suggest ways to ensure the long-term future of allotments

Charity allotment saved by Stockport residents

BBC to launch new TV competition in 2014 ... Grow, Make, Eat: The Great Allotment Challenge

Chinese Lantern (Involucrata Davidii)

Miro sculpture


I will add miscellaneous pieces here periodically.

I decided, against my better judgement as the world probably did not really need yet another tome on this subject, to produce a blog of our efforts during the 2010 growing season. It runs from December 2009 to November 2010.

An unsatisfactory piece on allotments in Gardeners' Question Time reminded me of the lack of a balanced coherent debate on this subject, particularly in the media, and it prompted me to pen a piece on my views on allotments and their future: "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" in the World of Allotments.

Who are the Gods of "The Beautiful Game"? a witter about soccer for a change.

Edinburgh Festival

I am keen on the arts, particularly drama, dance and the visual arts. My wife and I got fed up with beach holidays and rolled up to the Edinburgh Festival one year. We were immediately smitten, not only by the festivals (there is more than one), but also by the beauty of the city itself and we have been regular visitors ever since.

I have a website dedicated to the subject, An Edinburgh Festival Punter. It started out as a vehicle for a possible book The August Feast: A Punter's Perspective on Edinburgh and its Festivals which never came to pass. It now includes news, links to previews and reviews, lots of links, et cetera.

By far the most popular item on this website is A History of The Festivals. Also, non-festival tourists - Edinburgh is a popular destination all the year round - find A Potted History of Auld Reekie a useful read.

Ingenious covering of the pillars of The Scottish Royal Academy for the 2007 Warhol exhibition

IT - Computer Performance Assurance

Until I recently retired the field of computing had provided me with a day job for 40+ years.

I shall not bore you with the complete range of areas that I worked in. Suffice it to say that in the last 25 years I worked principally in technical architectures, specialising in computer performance.

Eventually I wrote a book, Performance Assurance for IT Systems, which was published in August 2004.

Some background to the book plus additional free material that I penned in the succeeding years can be found on my performance web pages.

Other Websites

In a volunteering capacity I currently look after a couple of other websites:

Sunningdale Parish Council
Ascot Volunteer Bureau

and I assist with Sunningdale & District Gardening Association.

Site last updated on July 20th, 2014.