Friday 29 May 2009

A Stranger in the Village

Scene One (the only actual scene..)
Time ~ Sunday 24th May 2009, early morning
Location ~ Eden Allotment Gardens, a balmy day in Plot A24a...

[Enter 'Phil' stage left]

Phil -Have you seen them?
Carrie -What?
Phil - The New Zealand Flatworms!
Carrie - No..what do they look like?
Phil - Here, look. [ shows shiny flat black wormy thing to Me] They're Nasties, they eat our Earthworms!!
Carrie- No!!!!!!! [screams in desperation towards the heavens]

[Enter Andrew, stage right]

Andrew - Oh I think I saw a funny shiny black egg thing under the mint pot. Here look...[they look at the bottom of the pot] That must be one of it's eggs.

[Scared silence]
End of scene

Yes my friends, we have been invaded. Albeit by a total of (by the end of the day between Phil's plot and ours) 4 flatworms and an egg, but that's just how a revolution starts. Slowly, innocuously, innocently....Well, we're on to you now! Thank goodness for Phil and is knowledge of bugs.

You can easily kill them by heartlessly throwing them into a jar of salted water, which we did. But they had already done obvious damage. The one I found in the new flower bed in 14b had a circumference of about 30 cms around it devoid of Earthworms. That, in a bed which was coming down with the things. So much so that I really was getting rather upset at the amount of worms I seemed to be cutting in half with very spade dig. I hate chopping them, my Grandfather once told me (I was in tears at the time..) that I had just made 2 worms out of one and all was fine. But, HE LIED. I now know (though mostly choose not the believe) that if you're lucky one half will live and regenerate the part you so callously detached from it, but no, you don't make 2 (yes you do, there, there Carrie, don't cry....).

Well, damn it. It's war now. No one and nothing devours my garden allies indiscriminately (apart from cute Robins and such, as that it the proper way of things). WHO invited this Flatworm to our Lotties; how did it afford the plane tickets from New Zealand? Eyes open my friends and do not be afraid to kill.

Here is a write up of the new enemy, study and go forth with salt water and a clear conscious...

Thursday 28 May 2009

Pricking out Poppies

This is one of my small forays into teaching proper gardening stuff. There are billions of books, websites and blogs that will do this better, but I am rather proud of myself here so please indulge me. Andrew didn't help me with this (if you know me at all, you will realise that is a HUGE deal)!

My visit to Mary's plot ended with her bestowing me with a big handful of Poppy seedlings from her flower border, lifted straight out of the ground with her own bare hand! Well you could have blown me over! I love poppies and although she has no idea what type or colour they are (they were a present to her as seeds) we are both excited to see what happens.
Mary had just plonked them in a pot (she's more confident at gardening than me) and I rushed over to 24a to do something with them. Now the problem was I didn't have any idea where I wanted them yet; I hadn't planted up my flower bed in 14b at this time and still hadn't thought about the little flower patches in 24a properly. So I did what any self respecting 'gardener' would do - I pricked them out and potted them on. That's the correct terminology, right?

Here is how I did it, in a photo story form....

I believe it is super important to firm the soil down in the tray before you start. Then no fancy 'dibber' for me, I am but a humble apprentice and a pencil works wonders, you make holes for the seedlings' roots and firm them in. I think watering the soil before I transplanted the seedlings was pretty pointless, as I watered them in after too. So I scrapped that part when I did it again, this time into singular modules.

I may give these away to a lucky person, 4 here, 6 there; I don't know. Thing is I had so many and had to throw away about 10 other seedlings as I just didn't know what to do with them all! A handful is a lot I now realise.

However, there you are, a lesson in horticulture from me to you, with love.

Wednesday 27 May 2009

The Artistry of Allotmenteering

I love looking around the other plots on our site, they are each so very different. It is like giving a large group of people their own empty white room and access to whatever furniture, material and paint etc they desire - it is an expression of who you are; your personality comes through and it is a joy to see; there is practically unlimited potential. We aren't all graduates from some fancy Horticultural school and I think it is all the more pleasurable for that; the quirkiness, the plonk-it-in-and-see-what-happens sentimentality, the way your mind thinks outside the box and every skip you drive past could have the perfect piece of 'rubbish' that you need!

Andrew and I are very plain to see in our plot layouts. Andrew did more of 24a at the beginning than me as I had NO confidence at all but it slowly grew into 'ours'. This time 14b seems to be a little more me at the moment (well so Andrew said as he praised me for the design so far on Sunday) and I find that very interesting. Yes, I knew that garden designing was an art form (just look at all the fuss over Chelsea the past couple of weeks) but to me Allotments were always strips of productive land that you grew veg on, productivity being the key. They are so much more than that, my eyes are open now.

So with this in mind I would like to introduce you too Mary and Phil, both of whom were working on their individual plots all day, like us, on Sunday. They're very different but both deserve a lot of praise and I have photos to prove it......

Mary has always had a lovely half plot, feminine and neat. She puts a lot of love into her piece of Eden and I always find something to take a photo of that just looks prefect no matter the time of year. In fact on Friday night past I took a picture of her plot thinking it looked lovely, only to find that it was even prettier on Sunday as she had whipped out the paint brush and tackled her shed. So cute, I love the icy blue colour. I bet someone could study people's sheds and give a full psychological work up of the individual. Plus, Mary is sensible and eloquent, a real asset to the Lottie Community meetings and full of praise for everyone who works hard. (I am not a sycophant, really, I'm just telling it as it is).

Phil, you may remember from a recent post - he is the mysterious and generous 'book giver'. Remember my detective work, or lack there of, hehe? He was done so much hard work over the past few weeks and really turned around an over grown, tired plot into something that looks full of live and new promise (my photos do it no justice). He also has finally got that darn shed together, the weather was not on his side over the winter and the wind was particularly cruel (bits of shed all over the show, not a happy time). It's also been really pleasurable to see his wife come down more often with a flask of tea and his son showing an interest too. Sometimes I wonder how people work their Lotties alone, I need that interaction with Andrew to really appreciate what we've done.

Phil is also good at identifying bugs - goodies and nasties. Which is very valuable really and something I'll talk more of on Friday.

So there you go, just 2 of almost 200 plots and so different. It's just my feeling, but I think we all have a bit of the artist in ourselves and being able to express yourself in many ways is a wonderful gift. What does you plot say about you??

Tuesday 26 May 2009

Sun is shining, the weather is sweet...

Makes you wanna cry cause you got HAY FEVER!
(sorry Mr Marley)

Why, oh why does she do it to me, what did I do in another life to annoy Mother Nature so very much? Yesterday was foul, it rained constantly and there was a tension in the air that only thunder could of cleared but it never happened. Then today, it is glorious but I have awful Hay fever, a throat so sore I can barely talk (so frustrating!!!!) and the yucky head cold that my darling Hubby thought would be nice to share (only mine is worse). Oh, she must be a bi-polar depressive, the ups and downs are wildly far apart.

Anyway, I shall fight on through the haze of snot and blurred, watery eyes so I can tell you about our great day on Sunday at 14b ~ our newborn plot. We've done so much talking and planning about this area that now there is no stopping us (well apart from your woman in the sky who is playing havoc with our weather!) and we've cracked on a pace. It's not that we want to have it all completed and finished as soon as possible, merely, we couldn't bare to see it empty and unproductive. Actually I think we'll slow down a little now and enjoy what we have, there's plenty to get sown and loads to look after as it is.

So here is the baby a few weeks ago. Ah, remember how proud we were to have adopted her? And this is her as of the Weekend, quite impressive, no? Please say it is my back is killing me with all the work I've done and Andrew and I both are exhausted and covered in little cuts and scratches. Thank goodness for First Aid kits, haha.

So the 2 types of Spud are poking there little green heads through, I particularly like the 'Maris Peer's' tinge of purple in the leaves. We have Squashes planted under a white fleece, nothing as of yet planted in the middle bed and my glorious flower bed is now all edged and planted up with a good few favourites, though I reckon this time next year it will be full to the gills (rather like my sinuses!) with plants and bulbs.
So in there (tip to the back) I have an Elecampane at the front for the butterflies, 2 Something else (I can't remember and can't ring Andrew cause I have NO voice, arrggghh) , 3 Geum 'Cooky', an obelisk for some more Sweet Pea 'Cupani' a ribbon of Anemone corms just planted, 5 Sunflowers ' ' my favourite Dahlia 'Bishop of Llandaff' (I want 'Bishops' Children' as well - uummmm isn't he supposed to be celibate?!) and then a hotch potch of Sunflower 'Velvet Queen' at the back. There are other things I'll cut and divide from our back garden too. I swear it will be packed! But this is almost it for now, apart from a load of Poppies that Mary gave me, nice!!!

Oh my nose is driving me mad; I'm off before I kill someone! (Which would be hard as it's only me in the house and I'm a fervent Pacifist as well - can you begin to understand my frustration??! Who has Hay fever and a bad cold at the same time??!!! I'd scream a little, if I had my voice.
Oh, and it's been very sunny, sunny, hail stoning and now good solid raining all in the period I wrote this!
Update , after 5 mins - it's hailing again, hard

Monday 25 May 2009

A Bank Holiday - yea!

I've got my hubby all to myself and we aren't going to spend the whole time at the Lottie. A wee day out (I sound like an old bitty!) with the dog and trips to cafes and graveyards etc (I love graveyards - think me weird if you like but I know I'm not alone).

But don't worry we worked extra hard on Sunday and got a lot done on 14b - it looks almost like a proper allotment now!! and I have loads to tell you during the week.

Enjoy your day off xx

Friday 22 May 2009

Good Fences/ Ode to Bill

For the longest time we have been aware that a good sturdy wind break is absolutely necessary on our Field. Recently this problem has been compounded by the cutting down of all the hedges around the fields, I know in the long run they will thicken up and on top of that there were lots of baby saplings put into the existing hedgerows. But it will take quite a while for this to make any real impact.

So, to come to the point; we have surrounded our 24a plot in wind permeable membrane. To start with we took a trip to Gleno, a little village North of Carrick (frequently, inaccurately written as Glenoe - there's no E damn it). There, there is a fabulous farmers shop that sells everything, and I mean pretty much everything! You can get farming equipment, timber, clothes, any DIY stuff you need, gifts for the home, food and the papers etc. Fabulous. We only needed tree stakes for our fence, but we stayed for much longer, just looking.

So back on the plot Andrew hammered in the stakes around the two long sides of the plot and then we were super duper lucky enough to get the aforementioned mesh off Bill. He has a friend he could buy it off wholesale and boy did it make a heck of a difference in price! He was able to give us more than we needed for hardly anything, when it was £2/3 per metre everywhere else (which sure adds up when you need 18 odd metres!) it was a godsend.

It took a couple of days to get it all finished and battened down top and bottom, to make sure it stays in place. The wind really can be that bad ~ last week a shed was turned on it's head in our field by the storms. It was really sad to see but it's fixed now. Just goes to show you the power of the gusts down the Lotties.

Then, on top of all that Bill give us the gift of a lovely kidney bean shaped bench. There were 4 of them going to go the rubbish heap at the house of a man he was doing a job for! Okay it had 2 missing legs but Bill had 2 new ones sawn up in a jiffy and it's perfectly good again. Ours is going on 14b and will have pride of place and a lick of paint (once we get it sorted out over there) looking over at the flowers. I'm hoping I can get Andrew to build a little arch for it too and then we can grow another rose or some such thing up and over it.

Here is the man himself - Bill. I hope you have a handy, generous friend to help you out on your plots too, it such a lovely feeling to get and share things with others.

Wednesday 20 May 2009

Help for Heroes

Did you notice last night on the Channel BBC 2 Chelsea Flower Show programme that there was a lady who had won a Silver Award for the Help for Heroes Urban Garden? I would encourage you to go and visit the link. I was so happy to hear her use the word Ecotherapy in her interview on TV. Yes!, plants, gardens/sanctuaries can and do have the ability to make you feel calmer, safer and to lose yourself in just looking at the beauty; no bad memories or thoughts, just a little moment of peace.

Often I feel like a lone voice trying to communicate the undeniable power of nature to cure our minds. I felt so vindicated by her and her efforts and very pleased to see she (and her team of course) got recognition. Apart from everything, it is a lovely garden and I hope it gets transferred, in tact, to a place where it will be used for the purpose it was intended.

My own depression is bad today, but I see blue sky coming my way and with any hope I'll be down at my plots this evening for a bit of therapy myself. x

I'm lying in a ball on the sofa, outside is like Armageddon; the rain and thunder is so loud. The Lottie will be flooded there is so much rain. I like thunder usually, it's power seems otherworldly, it makes me think about Zeus being angry or something. But today it is accentuating my depression, how weird is that, for the last hour or so I haven't been able to think, curled up with my blanket, just staring at the fireplace or closing my eyes because the double vision is so bad. Now with this storm raging overhead, I feel even more pathetic, so small and insignificant. We have all this understanding about our world and we have this technology where effectively I am talking to any one of the billions out there, how come I feel so desperately alone? I am alone, in a world full of people, I am alone and I don't really matter in the grand scheme of things and I'm certainly no hero. It's amazing what a storm can do for your self-esteem....

I think the worst of it may be over now, but there will be no Lottie relief today I don't think, if it was flooded yesterday, I hate to think what my pieces of Eden look like now.

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Booze, Bloody Battles, Beans, a BBQ and Bugs

I'm not coping very well with reality at the moment (though a nice Merlot is helping). Today has been one big sleep, with some awake breaks for water and phone calls. Yes, as Andrew says I am better than I was when we came back from Italy but I am taking a lot of medication and pushing myself so hard everyday that I'm exhausted and as a side effect am too tried to think. When I have a minute alone it has to be filled with something and apart from reading incessantly that is generally sleep.

But now Andrew is home and we're just in front of the TV (after checking on the Lottie but the weather, oh god, do not mention the weather - horrendous!), he's watching some historic-drama thing and I can't be bothered so I have turned to my blog, which I feel has been neglected rather and am going to tell you about our (quite impressive) progress from last week/weekend.

First though ~ RHS Chelsea!!!! Other Bloggers will be covering it wonderfully so I'll leave to them, however a quick note - It's so Fabulous! I am in awe of all those 'proper' gardeners and that guy from Top Gear (with the flowing locks) and his Plasticine garden piece. I'd love to visit one day, though the crowds are daunting looking, I'd need a wee behind the scenes tour before opening time. Maybe in the delightful company of Joe Swift or Mr Titchmarsh, now that would be nice. Darn it, all those amazing RHS shows are in England and Wales, what about us poor Northern Irish folk?!
Goodness this TV show is bloody and gruesome, going to have Andy to turn it down a little!

The sky is uninterrupted blue and the wind seems to gone, it's lovely; Mother Nature can be a b*tch sometimes. Why now, why have good weather now when the Lottie day is over? We've been suffering from poor weather for weeks now and our plants look rather sorry for themselves. The French Beans in particular are sulking, I don't blame them, I certainly wouldn't enjoy having my feet buried in cold wet soil and being blown about all over the show. I hope they cope, can plants have nervous breakdowns?!

So to the work we've been up to, there are a couple of stories that will make wee bloggettes in the next few days, but here's some bits and bobs...

A Barbecue!!!
We had a lovely evening on the 12th May (Okay so Mother Nature isn't that nasty); a super wee BBQ on the plot. Sausages and baps and a mixed bean salad. YUM! Other's around us were jealous, which (admit it yourself) made it all the more enjoyable, hehe. We did offer some around but luckily everyone had had dinner already, shame. Oh and we had a beer with it; living the dream alright!

I suppose it was only fair after my cheek, that we found the redcurrant was infested with greenfly. Horrible, gross little beings. Andrew got in there with his fingers and squished them, I prefer the soapy water spray technique myself. But on the up side another insect turned up that was lovely, some sort of fab Beetle. I like to think it's a goody, anyway Andrew deemed it fit to live. Plus, not our fault, but the shed has 3 dead cabbage white butterflies inside it by the window. If it's any consolation to you animal lovers out there I was eaten by lots of midges so in a way nature got her own back. I'm still itchy all over my scalp and now that I've thought about it, I'm scratching away, damn it.

I think I'll leave it there for tonight, I could go on and write a book the way my mind has become engaged in this but I don't think you'd be interested, I've probably lost you already, ha.

I shall leave you with this lovely pic of a rhubarb leaf, I think the colour is amazing, too good to cut and eat! Plus ~ tomorrow WILL be better x

Monday 18 May 2009

There's going to be a Wedding!!

Busy today with my cousin Ali who just got engaged about a week ago and has a wedding to plan from a London base to an American man in Seattle to be held here in Northern Ireland!! Not as easy as the usual Bridal planning worries.

I LOVE girlie stuff and it was great chatting about her day but my goodness there is so much she needs to organise and 1 bridesmaid isn't into weddings, 1 is heavily pregnant (and lives in America) and then there's me. I hope I helped today, she only found out about the job today and has so much other work stuff/basic life stuff to organise now as well!

Still, super duper happy for her and her future hubby.

Friday 15 May 2009

So, yeah, we did actually do some work last week!

What with feeling poorly and all I haven't really been keeping up to date with the actual Allotmenteering that's been going on, rather I've been moaning and what not instead ~ not good.
So, here's a catch up. I'm going to start with what I think is the most exciting thing, my Sunflower hedge!!! I planted it up on Saturday and boy am I looking forward to seeing it all grown up. Andrew has done the unthinkable and taken my flower seeds out of my Lottie bag, so I can't tell you the variety of these ones, but they're smaller than usual and multi-stemmed in a gorgeous red colour. I really hope they grow well.

I fact I love this idea so much that I'm going to plant loads of Sunflowers on the new half plot 14b this weekend, just putting the seeds straight into the ground. These ones will be the extra tall ones that tower at 180cm (I'm 158cm on a good day) and have one BIG flower each. I'll do another hedge type arrangement and maybe throw some in randomly elsewhere - we can't get the whole plot cultivated this summer! So I'm going mad with flowers, hehehe.

As for 14b I started to dig over the flower bed and level out the start of the path. Boy was it hard work but I wanted to do it right. Double digging and riddling away and then I did the silly heel dance over the path area to try and get it smoother. At some stage we'll put big paving stones down and I think plant low growing alpines around them. It's all just at the planning stage at the moment.

I finally got that Elecampane in the ground, it's so healthy Rosie!! (But the purple poppies...they didn't make it.) And during the week I put an old obelisk in beside it to grow more 'Cupani' Sweet Peas up. The weather is supposed to be stinky tomorrow so armed with ideas from James' book I'm off to the nursery to see what else I can get. I'd like the bed (which will be quite big) to be all purples, reds and pinks. I never buy myself flowers for the house so I'd like to have my own cut flowers to brighten my living room. There will of course be lots of yellows and oranges on the plot too from companion plants. It's nice thinking about all this.

Lastly I planted my 'cheeky' self -seeded Nasturtiums out in by the trees in the fruit arch. 4 of them, hehehe, Andrew can't get away from them. He's going to read this but heck - I have 2 more and I'm letting them live as well!!!

So that was some of my work. Andrew did work hard too but are you really interested in him??? Oh, you are, okay.....

My dearest one planted out our Runner Beans 'Enorma' and our French Beans 'Cobra'. Each plant at the base of a wigwam support. I LOVE the French Bean one made out of recently cut down tree branches, very rustic and in my opinion more Allotment-y if that makes sense. I like ram shackle, which reminds me, Andrew also planted out our Borlotto Beans by the rusting gates and climbing rose. Fingers crossed it should look very pretty and hopefully be very productive. These are the Beans we got free from the Council when we renewed our tenancy *.

He also started our wind break fence but I'll leave that for another time when he's finished and I can tell the whole story.
To finish, I just want to mention our new neighbours. As usual I can't remember names very well, but I think there is a Katie and possibly a Don in the family? They also have the cutest puppy - Arnold, a baby Mini Schnauzer like Maggie, oh how I wanted to take him home!

Can you tell I've had caffeine this evening???? I don't usually drink it as I get a little hyper, hence this LONG bloggette, hehehe.

Charity begins at home, I guess....

I really am pathetic and naive. I honestly believed people cared about things like Allotment schemes and helping others out, especially when there was publicity in it for them too. I guess I am no better though, I don't give to every charity that puts a leaflet through my door and I really try to avoid those people on the streets who try to catch you with their lazer beam eyes and get to sign up to saving children, finding a cure to something or helping a cat in need. I guess I'm selfish too.

I've been trying to get people to donate items or gift vouchers to our little project, in the hopes that in my own little way I can help to raise money for the Lottie Association. It was going to be a surprise and at the AGM or the Fun Day I'd bring out my goodies and hopefully people would raffle for them. Well, it is not going well and today I am rather fed up with it all. I was even hung up on and only got through again to one large supermarket chain by changing my accent!

Sorry guys but my panic attacks can only let me do so much. And I think I'm done, I've been at this for weeks, usually too stutter-y and petrified to ring anyone but still....thinking about it a lot and writing e-mails and letters.

May I just take a moment to tell everyone out there what an absolute gentleman Mr James Alexander-Sinclair is, as he donated 2 signed copies of his fabulous book '101 Bold and Beautiful Flowers' to the cause. I love this little book and I'm not just saying that; over the past few days my health has not been good and looking at the glorious photos and reading James' wonderful command of the English language has truly helped lift my spirits and encouraged me to go and buy more flowers for myself.

I shall write a happier bloggette later, but for now I just wanted to vent and to thank James once more for keeping my faith in people alive.

Wednesday 13 May 2009

The Mystery solved.

The grand idea had stemmed from all those years of reading Agatha Christie's Poirot novels. I was going to get 'the little grey cells' working overtime and I was going to discover who the 'Phantom Book Leaver' was (not a great name I admit). DNA swabs were going to be taken, Maggie was going to be put to work as a sniffer dog and, darn it, lie detectors had been ordered. There was to be a grand finale where all my suspects were gathered in our shed (highly implausible as barely 2 people can fit it there on a good day, but a girl can dream) and Andrew would get the radio wound up and tuned into Classical FM ~ for drama. Then.....I would reveal, to the shock and awe of everyone, who the mystery benefactor was. My moment of glory, my close up and my reputation on the lotties cemented for good.

That was the idea. In reality things were much more mundane, as life tends to be. Andrew and I were walking up to the car park and Phil came over for a chat and just casually asked me during conversation if I liked the books he had left me. I was dumbfounded!

He did receive my thanks and a big hug, but something in me can't help but be a little disappointed; my moment of glory, stolen (before I even had a chance to get those grey cells in gear and teach Maggie what sniffer-dogs do), and the news broken beside the manure heap as well!! What would Ms Christie think!

I've had a horrible day, full of shakes, pure panic and an unsuccessful visit from my Social Worker. We're just back from a quick trip to the Lottie, which wasn't a good idea really for me today, yesterday it was nice, we had a BBQ and it was fun but every day is different...This has been the first time today when I have felt comfortable; Maggie is sleeping on 'her sofa', Andrew has done some dishes (bless him) and is now reading another second hand veg book he bought today, the decaff coffee is brewing and for once I am able to communicate to others without stuttering all over the place.

One more thing, Thanks Stephen for putting a link to your (slightly embarrassing photo) of Andrew and I litter picking at the Spring Clean weekend. May I just point out that once that picture was taken I went off and filled my black bag with rubbish, where as you and Andrew chatted to Bill. Behold the evidence.... shame on you! x

Tuesday 12 May 2009

A little light in the darkness

I've been having a terrible time recently with my depression and panic attacks. I'll not go into it, it's enough to say I didn't move off the sofa yesterday and today I have a little window of relative calm after 3 and a half hours of thinking I'm going to explode, so I thought I'd look at some photos. Sunday, ah Sunday, you see it was a pretty good day, a glorious sun drenched day with lots of Lottie people working hard and loads of progress on our plots. (Yip, I over did it; didn't realise how bad my mental health was getting....push, push, push...)

All I want to do is share a few random photos of that great Sunday. I do have stories to tell and a mystery has been solved but that will have to wait. Hugs galore x

In the 45mins this has taken, I'm starting to feel really rather bad again. It's a very scary, upetting rollercoaster this illness.

Thursday 7 May 2009

A quick introduction and a mystery

I got the (quite) sad news about my request to take over A24b (thereby having a full square plot) on the morning we left for Italy. Mark and Charlene didn't wish to give up their half and move and well, I had to respect that. I was just glad to know for sure.
So it's about time I formerly introduced you to our new baby - A14b. (Check out the link to the map to see her in the grander scale of things). As you can see Maggie is already overseeing everything that is done to her new conquered land, though she does prefer the delicious comforts of 24a behind her to a mucky plot. Such a princess!

So there it is. The previous owner Terry has decided to chop up his full plot into 2 as he hasn't the time to work it all. So we have the side closest to our 'first born' (24a) and behind Gary's Shed. We're slowly using those history lessons about battle strategy to surround Gary and then conquer his plot too!!!! Oh, that should really be a secret....

You can see 24a just the left of Andrew with our wee shed, mini greenhouse and the not so mini fruit arch etc.
A good portion of this new plot was covered in thick black plastic and under that the ground had been ploughed over last year so the soil is in pretty good nick. We're starting down there and slowly we'll work upwards. There is a plan!

Anyway, Saturday was the first day of work and we marked out a few beds and started the old double digging. You know, dig a trench, fork it over at the bottom, put a layer of compost/manure at the bottom, then fill it in with the stuff you dig out of the trench beside it. Andrew shocked me by shouting out to Bobby that we were 'Bastard Trenching!', I thought he must be in a terrible mood already, but supposedly that is another name for it.

My trenches all went a bit tits up when on the start of my 2nd trench I came across this fellow. It took me over and hour to get it out of the wet stone packed clay-y soil it was in. And Bill's metal pole (The persuader), lots of big rocks, 2 wooden planks and a very shouty, flustered Hubby to finally lift it clear.

I went home after that but my Hubby soldiered on. I haven't seen it yet, I think he has 2 beds in and potatoes planted! What a trouper. Hopefully I'll go tonight, I'm still not fully recovered from the latest blip but I think it would be nice to get out.

Ah, yes the mystery....well before we left for Italy Andrew went down to check on everything and found a present in our cold frame. These great books! There wasn't a note in the bag or in with the books and anyone he asked knew nothing about it! Another detective adventure begins..

By the way, last night's meeting was seemingly rather productive and although it took a very long time some important issues were discussed. I can't remember the majority of it all (there was wine in his had, come on, what's more immediately essential; info or wine?) but he did waffle on about hedges, roads, Dublin, Charity plots and water taps and me having to help him with the fundraising etc etc (ummm, a Merlot I was thinking).

Wednesday 6 May 2009

£20 reward for my Hubby back!

My Andrew has gone to his 1st Eden Allotment Holders Association Committee meeting tonight. He was co-opted onto the panel for a while until the next AGM and the meeting started at 7pm. It's 9.40pm now and I want him back!!!!!

They better be making some progress at that meeting, large strides forward, gigantic leaps into the future evolution and development of our Lotties or there will be one angry, lonesome, bored stiff, crappy-TV-programme-watching wife to answer to! Me!

You know, sometimes, Allotmeenteering doesn't rock.

Tuesday 5 May 2009

Please, tell me you saw it!

Tuesday evening 8.30pm BBC 2 - 'How Britain Got the Gardening Bug'.

Utterly fabulous! With many of our favourite gardeners and 'celebs' helping the story along. Covering all things from the 'Dig for Victory' programmes on radio with the dear Mr Middleton, to Percy Thrower (and the controversy over his ICI endorsements, oops) ; Allotments!; to the 60 and 70's with their patios, crazy paving and 'fantastic' topiary. My my we had Hosepipe police in the drought periods, with moustaches that demanded authority! and the introduction of the BBQ. It's had to believe that nurseries are so young and pre-mixed compost is but a baby to the horticultural world. For a change my soon-to-be brush with 30, makes me feel young!

With the 80's, there was much disposable money (where have those days gone???), Geoff Hamilton and our men folk's terrible obsession with their lawns. Then we came to my period - the 90's, when I HATED GARDENING, because I was forced to do crappy clean up jobs and would rather have been doing anything else. Now, of course I feel I have missed out on so much, lots of Mr Titchmarsh for one BUT there were so/too many gardening awful make-over shows (though I had a secret lust for 'Home Front')!

And now in the naughties (god, I hate that phrase), it's all going back to the beginning. We may not be at World War but growing our own food (though this time without the chemicals) is not only fun, therapeutic and good sense, but it's also fashionable.

I do hope you can see this programme, if you didn't enjoy it with me tonight, on repeat or, let's be more futuristic ~ on the BBC i player. Again I say 'Allotmenteering Rocks'. Plus, I felt better (after my blip) just watching it, except when they mentioned 'water features' and 'decking'!! Aaaahhhhh!


Warning - Highlights:

Good God, James A-S shocked me by telling me Pampas grasses were a sign of a home of swingers (P.S. I think I love you James)!!! And Germaine Greer frequently pee-d on the garden's lemon tree in her youth (she thought it would appreciate it, huummm).


My dearest, darling, lovely friends. I have returned from my travels in Italy. I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for reading the old blog whilst I was gone and for the comments (which Andrew delighted me with by looking up my blog on the Internet on his mobile whilst on holiday). Didn't have the greatest time, NOT relaxing to visit Rome and Milan in a few days and try to see lots. Home to another one of my 'blips', so can barely string 2 words together and just need deep, deep sleep and cuddles (though the hubby is back at work so have to hug myself ~ not so comforting...)

I shall update you soon; show some holiday snaps, show you the growth in 24a while we were away and the new work on 14b that Andrew has already achieved. Plus answer any comments you lovingly left for me.

Big double cheek kisses and Ciao for now xx

Friday 1 May 2009

Gail's visit

On Saturday we were joined at the Lottie by our good friend Gail. We had a picnic around the workbench/table and just had a great, relaxed chat in the sunshine for the afternoon. We very rarely have visitors at our Plot, I think people are afraid we'll give them jobs to do! So it was lovely to share our piece of Eden (she was overjoyed at the fact that she really was in Eden, Carrickfergus) and to take Gail on the grand 4 field tour. The day was beautiful and a lot of people were down at the Allotments, great work was evident on most plots and everyone was very smiley and friendly. Really I was full of pride at my fellow Allotmenteers!

So a big THANK YOU to Gail for her visit (complete with food, including German Biscuits ~ my favourite) and to everyone who was down there on Saturday for making me proud to share our Lotties (thankfully she's an artist and even saw beauty in the bedraggled roads and flooded squelchy crossroads!)

I'll hopefully be in Milan today but I know I'll be thinking of home and the long weekend ahead, working on our new half plot. There's also this happy corner of our back garden to be enjoying, is it obvious that we like reds, purples and pinks?