How now brown ale



At the risk of being shot down in flames, I'm no fan of Newcastle Brown Ale. Sorry, but it's true and honesty is always the best policy after all. But now I've seen it in a different light - this bottle is one of many which is forming part of the insulating layer in our soon-to-be wood fired oven, which is being built by local potter Marv.

Faced with the prospect of not being able to finish his bottle layer as our street simply doesn't drink enough bottles to fill it, even on a non-recycling week, he set off on a mission which took him to the local pub in Barlow. Rather fortuitously, the owner was just heading to the tip with dusty crates full of old Brown Ale bottles and Marv couldn't believe his luck - it seemed fitting to use not only recycled bottles but truly local ones to boot.



A happy Marv tapping down his bottles



All the bottles in situ ready for in-flling with sand and sawdust



It's been raining stair rods here over the past few days and I've had trouble picking the soft fruit before it rots on the plants, which is a real shame as the raspberries are particularly tasty this year.

On several occasions I've wondered what we ever did before we got our wonderful new shed (thank you Community Foundation!) It still needs the finishing touches, such as sorting out the storage inside and putting the guttering on (I'm sure as soon as we do there will be a drought and no rain to catch) but today it housed one teacher, two Gateshead Council employees, 13 children and three ladies from the Live at Home group for tea and biscuits while we planted up the Soul Soup Project bed outside.

I'm the rather well co-ordinated one (which I only realised after looking at this picture as my gardening clothes are not normally chosen on this basis) on the far right looking rather wet.

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Berry good

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