Much gratitude to my son for arranging it, and his mate the baker who, between them, came up with a 16 Kg bag of bread flour that should see us through the lockdown. It’s perched on a chair in the hallway at the moment but I’ll get it into a food bin first thing tomorrow because flour gets infested with tiny moth caterpillars incredibly quickly. Baking with a new flour is always a bit of an adventure until you’ve baked a few loaves because they all behave quite differently. My old mate Dick England who had his own flour mill up in Berkeley on Severnside, always reckoned to leave the new wheat to ripen for a while before it was fit to mill and make bread with. It’s strange how even potatoes have their seasons as well. The man who ran the Regal fish and chip shop in Hotwells would shut down for several weeks as the new season main crops came in because he didn’t think they were good to make chips from.
So new flour and new adventures demanded a celebration and I made a Dundee cake for our tea breaks on the allotment. It was hot today and we worked for around five hours setting up a new bed for the peas. We’re growing a traditional variety called Alderman which we tried last year. In our haste to be greener than thou, last year we tried to grow them on jute nets, but they were so prolific and heavy they just tore the nets down – so this year they’re going to be grown up sheep wire attached to some strong poles. While I was doing the civil engineering bit, Madame was busy sowing and potting up – it’s a very busy time of the year both on the allotment and at home where we made a start on replacing the spring window boxes with their summer equivalents. They’ll be mainly geraniums this year because the garden centres are all shut and we won’t be able to buy ridiculously expensive bedding plants to supplement our own.
The asparagus bed is so nearly there, it’s frustrating, but the early spears were deformed by the cold nights so we’re hoping that a spell of warm nights will give us our first proper feed. Our son went off to get some beer for the beer traps. Slugs are a menace and at least we send them off happy. Last year’s very unscientific experiment seemed to indicate that they’re real ale buffs – they much preferred the expensive brews to my cheap stuff from Aldi. Tonight Jo dropped off four cans of bitter for a pound. I’m not optimistic. We sent our best numbers off with Marston’s Pedigree Ale but it cost about tenpence a slug.