Today Greg made a few essential alterations to his shed!

sunbathingI remonstrated with him of course, and told him it only needed a lick of paint but he wouldn’t listen. Meanwhile, having left it pretty late to go up to the allotment because we hoped it would keep the overall numbers down, we harvested a few more radishes and a bowl of purple sprouting for tonight’s meal and then did a bit of watering and weeding.  Strangely, after such a wet winter, the ground surface is drying quickly.  This is no problem to the veterans from last year who’ve got their roots down, but the little ones who’ve only been planted out during the last few days need nurturing carefully for the first week.  Not drowning, mind you – but just a touch of water when (or preferably just before) they get dry.  Later on when they’ve settled down it’s better to leave them to send their roots down deep or you’re in danger of creating a major job for yourself and having to water every day.

The radishes and broccoli were lovely – we’re about to cut the first lettuce grown under an improvised frame because ours got nicked. Growing’s hard work enough without thieves undermining the effort but we press on in the hope that the misbehaviour of a few won’t lead to a ban on us even going to the allotment.  Someone opposite my study was certainly obeying the spirit and the letter of the law today , precariously sunbathing her legs through the window. A ban on allotmenteering would put paid to our whole season and cost the country a fortune in vegetables left to waste during a massive food shortage. If there was no alternative for the health of the country then we’d have to comply but if I thought we were to be locked in our flat because of the behaviour of people like the two young men who were sitting chatting on the grass outside smoking weed then I’d be really cross.

While we were up there one of the foxes that looked fine just a month or so ago, passed close by barely paying attention to us.  It had mange badly and looked as if it was half dead already, poor thing. Even foxes get sick sometimes.

Bread baking, of course, has stepped up a notch and I’ve gone back to making a few yeast loaves as well.  Sadly though I’ve only half a bag of flour left.  Apparently the problem lies with packing and not with a shortage.  Of over fifty flour mills, only five repack into 1.5Kg bags as sold by supermarkets – so it’s not a shortage of flour. However I can’t even buy a 25Kg bag because all the websites are closed except to commercial customers. Ah well ….

Author: Dave Pole

I've spent my life doing a lot of things, all of them interesting and many of them great fun. When most people see my CV they probably think I'm making things up because it includes being a rather bad welder and engineering dogsbody, a potter, a groundsman and bus driver. I taught in a prison and in one of those ghastly old mental institutions as an art therapist and I spent ten years as a community artist. I was one of the founding members of Spike Island, which began life as Artspace Bristol. ! wrote a column for Bristol Evening Post (I got sacked three times, in which I take some pride) and I worked in local and network radio and then finally became an Anglican parish priest for 25 years, retiring at 68 when I realised that the institutional church and me were on different paths. What interests me? It would be easier to list what doesn't, but I love cooking and baking with our home grown ingredients. I'm fascinated by botany and wildlife in general, and botanical illustration. We have a camper van that takes us to the wild places, we love walking, especially in the hills, and we take too many photographs. But what really animates me is the question "what does it mean to be human?". I've spent my life exploring it in every possible way and the answer is ..... well, today it's sitting in the van in the rain and looking across Ramsey Sound towards Ramsey Island. But it might as easily be digging potatoes or making pickle, singing or finding an orchid or just sitting. But it sure as hell doesn't mean getting a promotion, beasting your co-workers or being obsequious to power, which ensured that my rise to greatness in the Church of England flatlined 30 years ago after about 2 days. But I'm still here and still searching for that elusive sweet spot, and I don't have to please anyone any more. Over the last 50 or so years we've had a succession of gardens, some more like wildernesses when we were both working full-time, but now we're back in the game with our two allotments in Bath.

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