Monday, 16 February 2009

The Rake's Progress

Apologies, apologies, once more for not blogging, but I've been far too busy recently. But now it's half term and I've time for an update! My birthday came and went (four cards, one a week late and spelling my name wrong) and I received some gardening vouchers from my in-laws. So, this Saturday saw me up at the smartest garden centre in town purchasing a ordinary rake, mind you, this is a Wilkinson Sword Rake of much extended head length. I must say, it's only since I started the allotment lark that I've realised how important having a good rake is, 'cos our esteemed leader bought some lovely ones right from the start, and using them is a joy. It's all to do with making a fine tilth, you see. You just don't get that with a substandard rake, and then all your seeds die. And, boy, am I planning to plant some seeds this spring! Now I've moved house, I'm faced with yet another grotty bit of lawn, so that's coming up straight away and I'm planting a wildlife patch (just wake me up when Spring gets here...) Something else I'm planning this year is to grow dwarf runner beans in pots. I'll let you know how that gets on. So, anyway, the birthday passed. H actually came up trumps---he bought me a mobile phone which turned out to have sudoku on it. I'll probably never call anyone, but I can't pull myself away from the game. Totally obsessed! Those of you still interested in the story of the allotment will be delighted to know that, despite raging snow storms and floods, I've prepared the Victorian Hotbeds for another year....

Saturday, 27 December 2008

It is better to give than to receive...Ha!

What would you think about a husband who gave his wife a grey paperback entitled 'How to Store Your Garden Produce' as his main gift for Christmas? Well, I can tell you what I think, "B*st*rd!" I can tell you, quite frankly, that despite the Centre for Alternative Technology calling this book "a great gift for any gardener", it most certainly isn't. It's about the most boring bloody book I've ever seen. It seems so unfair when I'd bought him a delightful MP3 player, a portable steamer, AND a radio controlled helicopter ('toy of the year' according to some sources). Other members of my marital family seem to think, with one mind, that what I need is a good wash, as I received very little other than bars of soap from them (despite offering them acres of hospitality and free parsnips). Solid soap's useless to me as I use the liquid kind. I was determined not to get depressed this Christmas, but I can tell you that by Boxing Day morning my mood was very black indeed. Perhaps it wasn't surprising, therefore, that I 'accidently' set light to my place setting before lunch ( I had been lighting candles and put what I thought was a burnt out match down before leaving the room), causing a major fracas amongst the relatives, as a napkin, and an entire place mat were engulfed with flames. I felt better after that...

Friday, 19 December 2008

International Disaster

I'm pretty exhausted today, as I've just finished placing my nativity sets around the new house. I should explain that I have around 25 nativity sets from around the world, most of which had not been unpacked since our move from France over two years ago. So first of all I had to unpack them all from their shoe boxes. My desk soon took on the appearance of a multinational refugee camp with fighting Kings, sobbing Mary's, and abandoned baby Jesus's all over the place. Took me ages to sort it all out, I can tell you. Everyone's in their correct family unit with no cultural differences to worry the social services about. The only disaster was I accidently ripped the head off an Equadorian angel. But I have a spare! (Angel not head). All this on top of missing my first visit from the bin men this morning. How can this have happened, you ask yourself? Well, I forgot they come A DAY EARLY on Christmas week. This can happen to the best of us, even those who collect considerable amounts for charity....ok, ok, I can't wait to tell you, I collected over £50 in my box more than a tenth of the sum total for the whole day. How's the new house? Wonderful. Just a few minor teething pains. Like the central heating going off every day and a distinct lack of hot water (did I tell you about our state-of-the-art solar panels?).

Thursday, 11 December 2008

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Oh Lord, I feel I've been letting you all down with my absence again. But I've been so busy what with the house move and all. Not to mention fund-raising again for my charity. I discovered this year there was an opportunity to collect money in the city centre with carol singers. So, I said I'd go as long as I could sing. When I mentioned this to the snobby woman on the phone she said, 'Oh nooooo, you caaarrnt do that. We have some of the most professional of choirs coming' 'Can I hum?' I said, promising to arrive at 9.30 sharp. So I arrived, and she of the starched grey hair said, 'You said you were coming at 11.00' No, I said, 9.30. She sent me away until 10.00. I returned and joyfully took my can and overalls. I was soon in the swing of things, chasing shoppers up and down the mall and covering small children with stickers. Mrs Starchy told me to stand quietly by the pillar. I had a pretty dull half an hour collecting absolutely zero money, when who should arrive but my friend from the Manic Depressive Society. He got bored after about two minutes and, putting the collecting can on his head, started to mimic slitting his throat. At this point I asked the choir whether they took requests, and asked them to sing something a bit more upbeat (they'd been doing some awful, depressing stuff in four part harmony). So we had a rousing rendition of We Wish You A Merry Christmas with me and my friend dancing and singing at the tops of our voices. We soon gathered quite a crowd and the money really started rolling in! At 11.30 I had to go as I was meeting H in town, so I told Mrs H of my immanent departure. 'Oh you can't possibly do that' she said, 'We only leave on the hour...' I said, just watch me, and left. I hope I leave you all well. I might not be around for a bit as I'm finally moving house tomorrow and I'm not sure about my internet connections...But I hope you all have a lovely Christmas.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Blood, Sweat and Tears?

Nearly didn't have time to write again this week. But I felt I had to say something about my MOMENTOUS NEWS. Our team ('Blood, Fish and Bone') won the local allotment society's quiznight challenge! OK, so we were almost beaten to the finish by the local dog training team, but it's results that count. We are going to have our name engraved on the challenge trophy (a large trowel), and have our picture taken. Yes, again. It hardly seems possible, does it? Actually, the allotment group really has been going well. We're produces loads of stuff. This week, as well as handing out produce to all our volunteers, I also managed to pack a large hamper for the A.G.M. no less. Evidently, it was much admired, and raised £40 in the raffle! Just as well I've something to be cheerful about, as the new house is proving somewhat of a stress factor. We've all kinds of workman clambering over it at present trying to make it halfway habitable. The latest setback is the solar power engineer informing us that in its current state the water cylinder could give us all Legionnaire's Disease! As much as I like to commemorate Remembrance Day, this isn't exactly what I'd planned...

Friday, 10 October 2008

Icelandic Meltdown

Sorry not to have written. I've been really busy with the new teaching term, and things have been going so well at the allotment, that I've really not had anything to write about! But today that has all changed, as I've just been noted that my esteemed Council has been putting all my hard earned Council Tax into Icelandic banks. Gordon Bennett! Things had already been hotting up in that department, as only two weeks ago I applied for a renewed Resident Parking Permit plus two Visitor Parking Permits (for H). When the letter arrived the Visitor Permits were nowhere to be seen. This meant dashing off another letter, of course. Anyway, I'd just received a letter from the Head of Customer Relations apologising for the oversight and enclosing my permits, when I heard the appalling news about the whereabouts of my Council Tax! Frankly, it has been a taxing week on all fronts. On Monday, Roland Garros went missing, only to return at 5.30 am (yes, I was waiting up for him, and yes, teaching the next day was rather difficult.) Then, yesterday I went to pick up two parcels at the Royal Mail and the git behind the counter almost refused to give them to me because I had not brought the square of cardboard with me that had been shoved through the door. I was then very surprised to find that the parcels were not the garlic and daffodil bulbs I was dressed to plant (perhaps this was why the Royal Mail employee treated me with so little respect?) , but a couple of QVC purchases I was trying to hide from H. So, I went up to allotment anyway and tried on my new trousers and jewelry. Well, we all need something to cheer us up in these difficult times...

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

The Turkish Bizarre...

I know I don't normally communicate with you midweek. But I'm all of a tingle. Why? I have just won second prize in an agricultural show. The mis-shapen vegetable contest! At last, I've found my true, really, it wasn't me, it was my Turk's Turban Squash that got the honour. Rather pathetically, we came second to a potato, but you can't have everything. Actually, you can't have very much at all off my allotment this week. Just about all the seeds I planted two weeks ago (whose, appearance, I very much regret to say, I boasted about last week) have been killed off by flea beetles. Today, I was up there yet again, preparing yet another seed bed, this time hoping to grow some spring cabbages. This time I'm using free seeds from September's Grow It! magazine. And I tell you, I'd be only too happy to Grow It if something else didn't keep coming along to Eat It! Ohh, but I also have a hot tip. I needed something to protect my little Brussel Sprout plants from the cabbage white butterfly, and I found it! I unravelled an old Body Shop Bath Lily (a strange round thing made out of some kind of netting), cut the strip down the centre and voila, a perfect net! It's now held in place by a series of those little windmills that children play with at the beach and some pebbles. The whole thing looks quite high tech, like a miniature wind farm. Back in the garden things are beginning to take off too. The QVC begonias have started to flower and the pond is bursting with life. Wouldn't it be lovely now, to get some summer weather?