January 2007

At last the frost has arrived! Having dug the whole plot over for the first time in preparation for the winter weather to break up the soil I was beginning to think winter was never going to arrive. But it did this week with a bang & a fall of snow that didn’t stay for long.

Just before this we’d had very strong winds. I didn’t think for a minute that this would cause shed problems, but when I went up last Sunday my shed had taken a lateral position … flat on its side with half the roof flipped over. Luckily the fig tree I’d planted, partly to let my grandchildren climb up in future years, was nestled under the apex of the rearranged roof and still in one piece. You can see from the picture on the left (double click to enlarge) that it’s now sprouted legs to hold it in position.

My wife had advised me when I was putting the shed up to bolt it to the paving slab. No chance of it flying off, I thought, weighed down as it was with lawn mower, loads of tools and not least my wellies heavy with mud. So I'd considered not telling her about the latest event ... but she was bound to find out, most likely from one of my daughters. The three of them seem to have an extra sense where any of my failures are concerned. Almost telepathic, so that any of my failures seems known to them all & give them a good laugh even before I’ve got back home!

My grandson Sammy came up late on the Sunday morning with his dad when word had got around about the happening. Stopped for half an hour to view & give me some 4 year old advice before heading off on much more important & interesting activities … going to the local playground.

But in a strange way I’m happier with a wobbly shed. I was always somewhat self conscious about my shiny new construction, even though it was only £99 from Focus. Nevertheless that didn’t seem true to the recycling ethos of plot holding. Much more in keeping now, slightly off the perpendicular with, no doubt, some repair work still to do which I haven’t spotted yet & will eat up hours of effort.

On the subject of hours of effort, I’ve started building my first cold frame … well, not quite the first my wife reminded me. The first some years ago in the back garden involved hours of effort to construct it, & then hours of effort to take the failed result apart. This time it will be different!

Well, after carefully measuring up to put a frame around one of the windows I’d scrounged from a skip, the frame didn’t quite fit. Decided then to start from bottom up, result is the picture above. Part of the base frame & one upright is in place. But how difficult is it to just get a screw into the wood … virtually impossible when I’m trying! I’ve got the cordless drill, toughened screws, bits & pieces but I’m still reduced to drilling pilot holes right through first, having ripped the lugs off the screw head and ruining the drills bits as well because they’re not toughened of course. I’ve always approached these things as an intellectual exercise, not appreciating the skill required. My son in law Chris (who to be fair is a great carpenter) makes it look so easy. And I suppose I’m making a big assumption re the intellect thing & my ability to fulfil even that requirement.

Otherwise not much is happening, other than huge anticipation for the coming year & the start of seed considering & buying. It’s exactly a year since I first took up this plot. The pictures to the left show the before and after. I can’t believe how much progress I’ve made. I’ll have twice as much area under cultivation in the coming year, and as far as infrastructure goes I just need to sort out the paths, which are a bit bumpy & need raising. Can’t wait for spring!

Thanks for reading my blog … more photos below. If you’d like to leave a comment you no longer have to register first. John


  1. Anonymous6:26 pm

    You seem to have done a lot of work but I can't see any vegatation. However your shed seems to have sprouted wings? or are they crutches? Will it take off completely if we should get another tornado?
    Keep up the good work and watch your back.

  2. Anonymous6:32 pm

    Hey, Your site is brilliant!! Maybe you should give more information, about wat plants you grow and stuff lyk that!!

  3. Anonymous9:23 pm

    From Sophie Robert And Amanda Great to read your Blog Just aswell
    you never painted the shed before it blew over have a great recipe for a dessert with figgs hope your all well were OK love to you all from Sophie Amanda and Robert


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