It really is allotment heaven!

Yes, it’s true. With a golden glow shining from my plot as I left for the evening, this image (click to enlarge) proves that heaven is at my allotment. The end of another glorious evening pottering around (though the time is an hour out… must fiddle with the time on the camera).
Thoughts of fiddling about remind me the Pashley is one year old this month. Almost had another gear moment when the mechanism started to come loose, but rather than taking it apart as I did last time (click here to read what happened, with bits flying all over the place) I tightened it up and it did the trick. Been riding really smoothly and I now use it almost all the time to go up to my plot.
Only got a few leeks remaining now (sob!) so I dug up the rest of the bed, stuck the new canes in and moved my peas out of the greenhouse. Surrounded the whole affair with bird netting and all seems well so far. First time I’ve tried peas.
Split up the lettuce and tidied up the early March salad bed. Really therapeutic and satisfying. Wish I could remember what type of lettuce it is… it shot up like a bridegroom mounting stairs to the marital chamber and is a really attractive green. In between potting up more flower seedlings (stocks this time) I managed to sow more lettuce and spring onions in the greenhouse rather than outside to see if I can get a better hit rate.
It’s a real struggle to keep the plot tidy at present. I’m strimming for about fifteen minutes on most visits to keep the grass under control. Thank goodness the tons of wood chips I laid down (click here to see the original effect) have slowed growth on the paths. But while I’ve been hard at it more grass has crept up on me around the edges of some raised beds. I’ll have a good session on my knees this weekend getting it under control.
The nettle fertiliser will be ready to use this week. It’s got to be diluted at a rate of ten to one… since I’ve got an undiluted dustbin’s worth of it that’s an awful lot I’ll end up with when diluted. Think I’ll have to water down bit by bit. Should keep me going all summer! The chicken poo fertiliser looks powerful stuff, bubbling away like a witches brew. Think that might need diluting at something like one hundred to one!
Well, it’s true. The mysterious activity on the spare ground is all about extending the cemetery… happening with some haste following the spread of swine flu. Good news is the work will include putting new paths & a parking area for the allotments. They’re aiming to finish the work by the end of June. So my belief that it was a grand strategy to stop me accessing my plot through the peace and quiet of the cemetery proved unfounded. I’ll be tucked up in there anyway one day, keeping a ghostly eye on how my successors are doing.
On the verge of being the proud holder of all three competition cups this week… the only time I’ve held all three is when I bought them. Particularly pleased about Monday’s pub games competition, which had an even more exciting finish than normal… I won! I’ve been particularly poor at darts over the last few weeks, ending up the first hour of the match down something like 6-6-0 to sons David and John. This week I tried a more manlier wrist action… still lost to them but managed to scrape two wins to carry into the second hour of the competition on the pool table.
It’s here that I’ve recovered each week, only to narrowly fail to take the evening because of the lack of darts wins. Was nervous in my first game against David, and thought I’d blown it when I gave him a foul stroke. Blown it in more ways than one… just as he was lining up for an important shot I employed a small but tactical timed trouser trumpet (how’s that for alliteration!... apologies to the faint hearted, but it’s a bloke thing) that destroyed his concentration. Minutes later I was on my way! Have often thought about using the same tactics at squash, but the consequences in an enclosed space could be pretty serious.
The Glums flew the nest on Monday morning. Woke up to find only one (of four survivors) on the edge of the box... here he is looking all hesitant. By the end of breakfast he'd flopped as well. Cue much rushing around by parents to various bits of the garden to feed the fledglings. I’d read up that robin babies move well away from the nest as soon as they can, presumably since it attracts predators such as cats. How could they do that when ours is so safe? Cats stay well away from our garden, being wary of the screaming banshee (me you understand, not the wife) that erupts from the house whenever they try to enter. Well they certainly do move out… within days they were in all the surrounding gardens, no doubt under the gaze if not the paws of neighbouring felines.
Talking of moving out… son John’s car failed its MOT and needs £900 of work. So he was around our house on Tuesday and we’re now into looking for a replacement car again. I’m not going as far and wide to search for one this time… previous expeditions have taken us to Biggleswade (thirty miles) and Peterborough (twenty miles). This time it’ll be local, cheap and simple (I’m sure I’ve said that before).
The District Council advertised that they were giving away bags of compost generated by their green waste collections. Got the brood to ‘phone for a bag each to be delivered to the allotment. When John called the lady said ‘You’re the third McKinnie that’s phoned in as many minutes!’ Bags were delivered today.
Treated myself to a new watch last week. Love Swatch watches and this one caught my eye. Love it to bits.
Been listening to a lot of music on, particularly Thomas Feiner. To listen to my favourite track of the moment (well, for some time actually) turn up the volume on your speakers and click here.
Thanks for reading my blog. John

Happy birthday Pashley! (Click images to enlarge)
Plot status... a bit messy at present.
Chicken poo fertiliser bubbling away.
Progress on the cemetery extension.

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