COVER PLAN, by Robert Ryder. V.C., M.P. (Allan Wingate, 12s. 6d.).
A MIDDLE-AGED naval officer joins two young women on a yachting trip, finds he has become involved in a little amateur smuggling, and, as he probes this, uncovers a more serious conspiracy with political implications. This is a basically good story which doesn't quite come off because of some glaring first-novel faults. The most damaging of these are the delays caused by description which contribute nothing to either plot or atmosphere, and an astounding amount of repetition. There are, too, some patches of dialogue so unreal that one wonders just how well the author got to know the lower deck during his Service career. People who like messing about in boats will find much to interest them here, for the author knows his stuff; but it takes an Erskine Childers or a C. S. Forester to get the urenautical reader really excited about the technical details of seamanship.
THIS is the time to detect Big Bud on black currants. Any buds that appear swollen should be picked off and burned, and if all of them seem to he outsize, the bush itself should be burned.
The Mite that causes this trouble on black currant bushes thrives through the winter, feeding inside the buds and when these begin to Open in the spring the creatures come out and can then he sprayed with lime-sulphur. If the disease has not been detected in winter and spraying has to be done, wait until the leaves are the size of a shilling. New black currant bushes can be planted now, and in the New Year cut back to within six inches of the ground. They like a rich soil, and if planted fairly close to one another (three to four feet apart) will interlace their branches and so encourage the fertilising insects to travel freely from one bush to another.
Good stock is particularly important--more so with black currants than with almost any other soft fruit —and it is advisable to get bushes that have been certified as being free from the virus disease known as reversion as well as from big bud infection. Mendip Cross is a well-recommended strain and has the advantage of being a good cropper. Wellington Triple X is another good variety that produces large juicy berries. Black currants pay for good feeding. and ordinary garden compost well rotted down is what they like as well as anything. Dig this shallowly in round the roots of each bush, and give them a mulching of old grass mowings as well.