Thursday, July 19, 2007

I bought myself a toy!

Just before we went on holiday my rechargeable grass strimmer finally packed up so by the time we returned to the UK the grass paths at the plot were more like a wild meadow up to our bloody thighs! My plot neighbour told me that ARGOS were doing some very reasonable strimmers so I popped along to look. £49 later I am now the proud owner of a great Spear and Jackson petrol strimmer and the plot is looking tons better.

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Unfortunately I am camera-less at the moment, I broke mine earlier in the year and had been using D's instead but that now seems to have mysteriously disappeared, so I'm unable to show any pics of the plot, probably a good thing though as it's gone totally crazy with weeds! Having said that though the crops are all doing well and we are slowly munching our way through a complete potato mountain. The broad beans were never a success as they got blackfly in a bad way and I hadn't put enough plants in either, we did have enough for about 2 meals but that was about it. I am determined that I will sow mine in the Autumn/Winter this year to give them ahead start and use a normal variety not 'The Sutton' which is a dwarf variety.

We're doing ok though with the rest of the plot and actually seem to be have a good amount of different plants coming on :

Onions (red and white)

Carrots (Autumn king and early nantes)

Potatoes (Nadine, Maris piper, Duke of York, Pentland Javelin, Pink Fir apple)

Beans (Runner best of all and Wisely Magic, French beans, Borlotto / borlotti)

Peas (meteor and Greensage)

Butternut Squash

Cabbage (Savoy best of all, tundra and some B&Q bought plants that were going cheap!)

Courgette (Tondo di chiaro di nizza)


Parsnip (Tender and true and White Gem)

So it's now going in the right direction but there is SO much work to be done, once the paths are sorted we should be able to stay on top of things now that we have the strimmer, I really need to get a compost bin built and I have never finished sorting out the door for the shed (see earlier Laurel and Hardy experience!)

Bloody hard work 'aint it this allotment malarkey!

Friday, July 06, 2007

We're back!! And mixing with the famous people...darling!

So, whilst the entire UK was submerged we were sat in Greece experiencing one of the hottest summers that they've had for 50 years! 34 degrees at night!! So whilst I'm not excited to be back in rainy blighty, I am glad to be feeling a tad cooler. (And the bloody watering system in the garden wasn't needed was it!!)
Anyway, back to normality...
Before we went on hols, Cole, my regular stalker/comments contributor (only kidding Cole!) told me that Cath Kidston's garden would be open to the public on 1st July. To anyone who doesn't know who Cath Kidston is, well she's a designer of homewares, fabrics, retro kitchen accessories etc. basically a modern day Laura Ashley (not sure if she does clothes though) and she's married to a famous record producer, so a rather famous lady in the world of fashion and design.
We were very near to not going because of the weather being so rubbish but there were enough breaks in the rain for us to drive 20 mins over to her FABULOUS Cotswold farmhouse/manor house and boy am I glad we went. The gardens were beautiful, stereotypical English gardens with topiary, herbaceous beds, masses of roses and loads of Lavender. The house is set within the most peaceful valley with a very long drive down to it so it feels very secluded and a great feeling of peace and tranquility pervades over the place.

We spent ages walking through the garden which much like Hidcote consists of interconnecting rooms and amazingly it stayed sunny all the time we were there.

'D' sat in Cath Kidston's summerhouse

Back by the side of the house there was an open sided outbuilding where three beautiful young girls were serving afternoon teas assisted by Cath Kidston herself, I presume the girls were her daughters. It would have been rude to refuse the offer of scones, clotted cream and tea and it gave us the chance to talk to the lady herself which was great and she came across as a really nice person. After the tea and numerous failed attempts by Ms. Kidston to force more scones upon us we walked with her over to the plants sale area and bought plants that we didn't really need but just couldn't resist, unbeknownst to me while I was looking at which plants to buy Cath Kidston and D were stood behind me with her sneakily giving D a packet of 6 Scones and tub of clotted cream to take home because they'd got so much left over! What a bizarre but fantastic afternoon, a beautiful garden, a break in this mad weather and an amazing opportunity to meet someone famous! Ooh I do get starstruck!
Back at the allotment things are looking good, obviously the rain was good for our crops, I dug up our first batch of new potatoes to have with salad for tea, they weren't that small mind you, more like maincrop potatoes than small new pots.

Anyway lots planned, things to do, hopefully this rain will slow down soon or maybe I should start building an ark??