Allotment Adventures: Rain almost stops play

We went to the allotment on Saturday full of good intentions and almost as soon at it was there, it started pouring down. So we had a cup of tea, which is the fulfillment of all my shed/greenhouse based dreams. So I’m not complaining about the rain at all, the plot needs it and hopefully my rhubarb will perk up.The rain stopped and we ventured out again, Ma to weed and me to sow radishes and work out what to do next. Then it rained some more. This happened twice and we decided to go home. We’d managed to lay some paving outside the greenhouse where it got really muddy, weed, sow raddishes and spray the broad beans with soap spray to deter the blackfly. I’m considering some ant killer on that bed because the little buggers are farming the aphids but I’ll soap spray them and see how it goes. I also tackled a couple of stray raspberries coming up in the raised beds.On Sunday, we started early. Ma tackled the grass on the edge of plot and weeded the rhubarb. I didn’t take a photo but I should have, she did an amazing job. I got the easier task of sowing things in big middle bed.More rocket, another row of lettuce, lambs lettuce, spinach, beetroot, nasturtiums, cosmos and stock. I have no idea if sowing flowers in the middle of a salad bed is a good idea but I’ve done it.More rocket, another row of lettuce, lambs lettuce, spinach, beetroot, nasturtiums, cosmos and stock. I have no idea if sowing flowers in the middle of a salad bed is a good idea but I’ve done it.I also planted some leeks out. I think I did it wrong but I’ve done it. If they die, the die, we did cover them with net to stop the bastard foxes digging in the bed, they’ve already killed a couple of my cucumber plants.By this point Ma was done, so she made tea and I sowed some more cucumbers and some beetroot and spinach as a back up against slugs.

There is still a list of outstanding work so next week in addition to watering  and weeding, we need to:

  • plant the strawberry runners into pots
  • plant out the winter squash
  • drill some holes in the tank we’re not growing anything in, it’s waterlogged right now
  • plant out the chives in the herb patch
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Don’t worry too much

I’m quite shortsighted, my world without glasses or contact lenses is extremely blurry. So I’m pretty realiant on my glasses and contact lenses. I’ve had lenses since I was 17 but over the years my eyes have become much less tolerant of them. Apparently it happens to women of a certain age, yours eyes get drier. This couples with the amount of time that I spend at a computer every day and that a working day would mean wearing them for more than the recommended no more than 8 hours a day. Does anyone ever stick to that rule, anyone?

This means that I wear glasses during the week and contacts at the weekend. I mainly wear these glasses. And apologies for the several bad photos of me frowning at the camera (I have resting ‘really annoyed’ face!)However, the stratch proof coating has decided to degrade and it’s annoying, because my prescription hasn’t changed, last week I wore a different pair of glasses to work every day. Now I know that my glasses are similiar but no-one noticed. Not one person, not even my mother.Most of us put a huge amount of effort into our appearance, with make-up and glasses and hairstyles. It makes a huge difference in how we feel about ourselves, but the truth is that hardly anyone notices.

What has this got to do with the price of fish? Well I have a wedding to go to this year and I’ve been worrying about what to wear. I saw a dress I thought would do and I looked horrendous. Ok, not horrendous but not all that good. I don’t often pay that much attention to what I look like, I look like me and get on with it but 43 has been the year I’ve stopped looking like myself. 

I’m greyer, my face seems to be changing shape, I’ve developed the exact same frown line by my right eyebrow that Ma has and wrinkles are becoming more pronounced. I’m not sure that I mind exactly, it’s just that I don’t quite recognise myself in the same way when I look in the mirror. Oh God, I’m having a mid-life crisis….Well maybe not a midlife crisis but certainly, I’m firmly middle-aged and although I’m mostly quite happy about it and not that concerned about getting old, it’s strange to not quite recognise your face.

This week, I realised that while it’s an issue for me, probably, no-one else has noticed. So there is that!

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Best/Worse 15 to 21 May 2017

Before I do a best/worst of last week, a plea, if you live in the UK and are eligible to vote and haven’t registered. Today is the last day to do it. Please do it. You can register online. I say it all the time because it’s true. Democracy won’t work if the electorate doesn’t. Please, even if you think politicians are all a bunch of lying liars, vote. People died so you could and it won’t change if you don’t participate.

Best

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The film was good but it’s more about finally having got to see it on the third attempt. Also Ma’s comment after seeing it “It was fun but a bit soppy, I like more crash bang”. She is awesome but bloodthirsty….

First crop. I love growing things to eat!

Rain. Oh thank goodness finally. We’ve had rain, lots of lovely rain.

Worst

Commuting. I don’t like it but I can normally handle it but my ankle is still really sore (this one is going to run and run) and the commute involves too many people and too much standing and not being able to read. Also on Friday morning, I got trodden on and pushed by a horrible little woman who couldn’t wait for everyone else to get off the train because she was in a hurry. People like this make life worse for everyone. She didn’t get off any faster either.

The bastard foxes. They visited and dug things and killed two tomato plants and a cucumber. Then to add insult to injury pooed on my leeks. I’m not that keen on foxes anyway but they are on the list right now.

The honourable mentions are finishing some work that I didn’t want to do ahead of time, getting out of the house on time every morning, the sunset on Tuesday night, an almost empty laundry basket, pictures of the nephew in his new big boy bed and his first encounter with Ikea meatballs, having a cup of tea in the shed while waiting for the rain to stop.

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Red Sky at Night

This was the view from my bedroom window on Tuesday night. It did not lead to a lovely sunny Wednesday but it was beautiful!

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Friday Links

Happy Friday! Here are this week’s links….

The story behind the green huts in London. They aren’t that mysterious if you grew up in London. I’ve always known what they are, but this is fun anyway and as black cab drivers are an endangered species nowadays thanks to TfL and Uber, it’s worth knowing about now.

What if marriage is overrated? It’s about time…

The special interest group no party seems to care about: young people. This made me really cross for a number of reasons but mostly because this is a problem with a solution. Young people need to vote. I lknow that life for 20 somethings is not fun and the future seems bleak but the reason politics is skewed towards the Boomers, is that the Boomers vote. They read manifestos and they go to hustings and they let everyone know about what they want. The solution is in their hands, less moaning, more voting…

Outrage over McDonald’s twee ‘child grief’ advert is plain ridiculous. I haven’t seen the ad but we seem to have a growing problem with how to cope emotionally with people dying, which is why outrage like this happens. Also she’s right about this….

First – and let’s just get this out of the way – the real reason this advert is offensive is because a Filet-O-Fish is no one’s favourite. And the chances of two people in one family even ordering one once, let alone it becoming their fast-food item of choice is nil.

Could Trump go the way of Nixon? The parallels are striking but it took 900 days before Nixon resigned, a lot depends on the 2018 mid-terms..

Michael Rosen on grammar schools.

Ched Evans want to advise you how to avoid being raped. It’s beyond parody. This quote in particular, it’s disgusting.

“I also think that women need to be made aware of the dangers they can put themselves in because there are genuine rapists out there who prey on girls who have been drinking.”

The lesson he should have taken is not to have sex with a woman who is drunk or passed out….

Planned flats smaller than a Travelodge room. These are the slums of the future and they aren’t about provided homes but making money.

View story at Medium.com

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Allotment Adventures: Plant all the things

Work on the plot this week was all about planting because I’m ready to do that.

While Ma weeded, I planted out the crookneck, patty pan squash and courgettes, some of the tomatoes (Jen’s Tangerine Cherry and Orange Banana) and cucumbers (Boothby’s blonde and Miniture White). Last year, I didn’t really do any companion planting but this year I sowed nasturtiums at the edges of the  squash beds. Dill with the cucumber and marigolds with the tomatoes.

I planted the lemon verbena in the herb bed, it will apparently grow very tall but I’m still not convinced that it’ll survive the winter, so we’ll see. Below are the courgettes, and yes I’m aware that’s probably too many but I did 4 last year in a bed that size and it worked, so we’ll see!Because we have a greenhouse this year, we going to grow some tomatoes and peppers in pots in there.  I also sowed french beans, parsley, coriander, carrots, and spring onions because we need to be getting on with that. The carrots and spring onions were planted in the bath after we’d filled it with compost (I seem to spent all my money on compost right now and I’m not making nearly enough!). However, we did get luck because Dionne has a car and bought me three big bags so that was one thing I didn’t have to do this weekend.

After last year, which was all success, it was inevitable that I’d have have some failures this year, step forward mildewed gooseberries and bolting onions both are because of the very dry spring and my ignorance in not watering them. The garlic also has leek rust which is a pain. The red onion were done for and we pulled them up, planting the patty pan and one of the crooknecks in that bed. The radishes I sowed there gave me my first crop and I must sow some more.The white onions are fairing better and I’ve cut off the seed heads but it’s not going to be brilliant. The rhubarb is also suffering but everyone’s rhubarb is suffering. Lastly, just as they have beans, the broad beans have blackfly.

So far the raspberries look ok although they are spreading and need to be contained, the herb bed is looking good, the lavender loves its new position although the sage is trying to overwhelm it. 

The winter squash are all in the greenhouse and will be planted out in the next week or two, I have given enough of them away that I now have 2 each of the boston winter squash, the baby blue hubbard and the butternut squash. Whether I have room for them is besides the point. I potted on the amish paste and red cherry tomatoes yesterday night when I watered.

The strawberries look good but no tiny strawberries yet.

The potatoes have recovered from the frost and the mint has come back.

There is more to do and  lots of weeding but I feel its more a matter of waiting.

The list is splitting into things I can do right now and things that will need to wait until I can take things to the dump.

Immediate

  • Sow salad leaves
  • Leeks, plant out repot others for later.
  • Plant out winter squash
  • Chives, I want to plant chives in the herb bed and I have a space for them, so I just need get them.
  • Spray the broad beans to contain the blackfly.

Longer term

  • The gooseberry bushes. cut back, dispose of cuttings.
  • The strawberry bed. I want to extend the bed out to where the toolbox was, so that’ll need digging over and weeding before I can plant a new set in.
  • The plum tree. It needs pruning and that can’t happen for a while but it has to be done this year because it’s getting in the way
  • Sort out the shed a bit more, hooks for tools etc.

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Best/Worst – 8 May 2017

Best

Work. Work never normally makes it onto the best week, I’m not the person who loves my my job, I work for money so I can have a roof over my head and buy books and things for the allotment! So it’s an inescapable part of my life but never the best bit! This week, it was nice to be amongst people, even if the commute was vicious. That aside, it’s easy to forget with all the petty frustrations of working and office life that the company I work for is pretty good at being flexible about how and where the work gets done. I’m grateful for that.

Haircut. This always makes me happy! 

My mum. Yesterday was Mother’s Day in the rest of the world (well at least the U.S and Canada!) and it was also the weekend that Ma was amazing. She weeded and was generally wonderful and she’s the best even if she is not to be trusted around Haribo…

Chelsea are the Premier League Champions. It makes me happy

Worst

Puffy ankle hell. At the end of every day, my ankle was done with me, life and walking. It’ll heal eventually but it’s a pain right now.


Hay fever. I’ve been suffering this week with streaming eyes and stuffy nose. It gets worse every year which I think has more to do with London’s air quality than the pollen!

A meeting that went over 6 hours. Although it was good to be back at work, this was a horrible day!

Honourable mentions to family what’s app conversations, sunshine, friends who bring you compost, perfect bread, babysitting and getting to read bedtime stories, friends feeding you quiche, and getting to grips with the laundry.

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