Braod Beans: An Austrian View.

Sitting here, watching the gruelling hill-climb stages of the Tour de France (second day, Harrogate to Sheffield stage) I am trying to take the beans out of two recycled buckets full of broad beans. A glut! Also, a personal record for us. This year the autumn sown beans, bought from the site shop (which ordered in bulk and then divvied the seeds up) have thrived, shrugged off the wet winter and the blackfly and given us a great harvest.

That first crop, with allotment new potatoes, lamb chops and mint sauce is wonderful.

But, while part of my mind is with Chris Froome and the Sky team another part is replaying a conversation I had in Austria. Staying with friends who asked ( the very dangerous question because where to start and where to end ?) what we grew on the allotments and then needed clarification about broad beans

“You cannot eat these beans!” they tried to insist. We had to find pictures (via Google) and look at translations … the word in German is apparently Saubohnen;  sau being the word “sow(female pig)”. These vegetables are, quite literally “pig beans” in German. I had to explain that we took the beans out and boiled them: they were amazed.

The discarded pods will be put back on the compost heap: we will definitely order seeds via the shop again and freeze what we cannot eat immediately.

Our daughter featured in some “Tour de Facts” videos about the English stages and general rules of the Tour de France for English cycles and parts stores, Halfords. I am, of course indubitably proud of her … but they are also quite informative and well made: I managed to learn things I was previously unaware of, and watching them has improved my enjoyment of the race I am now watching as broad beans bounce off the footstool around my ankles. (The “yellow jersey” is yellow because this was the colour of the pages of the newspaper that introduced it – before that the race leader wore a green armband only).

These videos are available on YouTube: if you are interested take a look at this first in the series http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvTDV2iirnk

I would have been quite happy  to have watched the Grand Depart (from Leeds, yesterday) but in the cyclical way of things in my life the very daughter that rode in and presented the Tour de Facts videos was moving house, so … a busy day not watching TV. However I am happy to report that the move, nicely timed to include a switch over overlap between rented accommodation and completion date, sees the new house well decorated and new carpets installed.

…but all completed in time to get back, drive past the house and head up to the allotments for an early evening barbecue: all in all a busy, but successful day.

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