Monday, February 27, 2006

Food trenches

This post is actually a week late because last week my thumbs hurt too much from digging to type. Eight hours over two days. Even the memory hurts.

This last weekend I buggered off to Sheffield for the weekend and grinned happily as the weather raged at us because it meant that even if I'd been home I couldn't have gone up to the plot. It's strange how your priorities change. No news on eejits next door as I haven't been to the pub yet (that particular pub - don't be daft).

Have repotted tomatoes, which are looking very healthy, and given one to my dad, who is looking very scared, as is the tomato. Sweet peas have appeared and seem to be growing an inch a day, which I don't think is right. Going to have to get them out fairly sharpish. Dug food trench for broad beans so I could put them next to that (no sign of broad beans at all. Bugger).

Nb: Food trench: Dig bed. Get rid of weeds. Rake bed flat. Dig trench. Think 'that was a waste of time'. Stick kitchen waste that has been lurking in flat for six weeks at bottom of trench. Gag from smell. Cover over with compost. Consider burying kitchen caddy rather than putting it back in rucksack to take home. Consider burying self rather than putting rucksack on bike and cycling home. Cover compost with soil. Go home. Head to bed. Do u-turn, take shower. Go to bed.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Potato Day and Chimpanzee Gardening

Potato Day.

Suffolk doesn't agree with me. From the moment I got up on Saturday morning with an outrageous hangover (see previous posts about new job round the corner from House of Danger) the odds of getting to Stonham Aspal were lengthening. None of the eejits from next door could be reached, my eejit wouldn't get out of bed and then had to work, but the monumental guilt that accompanies my hangovers drove me to the bus stop, then the train station. Imagined in my innocence that one could probably get a bus to Stonham Barns, given that it houses the East Anglian Showgrounds. Indeed one can. On Thursdays.

Two taxi rides and a cold hour-long wait on the platform at Stowmarket station later, I am the proud possessor of sixty seed potatoes. Taxi driver loved that. Ten different varieties. Got home just as it got dark. Woke up this morning, bucketing down. So I have potatoes, but nothing dug on the allotment. Am going to spend rest of afternoon caring for my potatoes, making little homes for them in egg boxes, and praying that eejits and nice man off A4A will take some of them or I'm going to be planting the bloody things in public parks. Not guerilla gardening so much as chimpanzee gardening. Ah well.

Parsnips still a no-show. Accidentally thinned all but two giant cauliflower beanstalks by trying to carefully snip off weakest seedlings first thing in the morning. Oop.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Parsnips and the Russian Front

I have dug half of the bed in which my broad beans will eventually rest, should I ever get round to actually planting them in the toilet rolls currently making my bathroom look like the set from Blue Peter. When I say dug, I mean that I managed to hoik out some of the massed ranks of perennials, but like the bloody Russian front there's more of them than of me and it's winter. (Cue visions of fending off the red hordes with a pair of my mother's secateurs). Could not face returning on Sunday to do the rest of it. Covered stuff with black plastic and decided that what the eye can't see the mind will shortly be distracted from with visions of dancing juniper berries.

On the up side, my grandfather's three-legged table (it had four legs until I came into possession of it) is now languishing under the leggiest seedlings since the little-known Miss Six-Foot Swedish Seedling competition. The tomatoes aren't too bad, but the cauliflowers appear to have taken the story of Jack and the Cauliflower Stalk a little too much to heart (What? Prince Charles talks to his plants. So I have no life?). The basil, which I thought was hard to germinate, appears to be planning to take over the world, while the parsnips are sitting with their little seedy arms folded saying "I told you we wouldn't germinate, you and your daft newspaper pots".

I should get out more.

Just started new temping job which starts at some ungodly hour of the morning but, hurrah, finishes at five and apparently at four on Fridays. Which is almost like being given an extra day. The cunning plan is to leap from my computer where I will have spent the day typing in the manner of a tightly coiled spring, bound onto my bicycle, pedal furiously to the plot and enjoy the lengthening evenings (oh, all right, afternoons).

But. (There's always a but). The new job is precisely 27 seconds walk from door to door from the home of a friend of mine, who also gets up early and finishes early and who has a penchant for the odd after-work gin and tonic. I've been good, I've tried to protect myself, I haven't answered his texts for ages and I haven't told him where I'm working, but you know what's going to happen. I will leap from my computer where I will have spent the day typing in the manner of a lethargic chimpanzee, bound onto my bicycle, fall off my bicycle, swear at my bicycle, realise said bicycle has two flat tyres (each of which has an inner tube of a different era so you need two separate pumps, neither of which I carry to work), one handlebar, and three gears of which only the top is deciding to function. Remember said bicycle also makes a noise like a wounded Spitfire. Think 'sod this, I'm covered in oil and wearing a brand new suit, where could I possibly wash my hands?'. This is not a plan, you understand, just a case of 'know thine enemy', which in my case is inevitably me.

And the damned parsnips, of course. Driving me to gin. Mutter mutter growl growl twitch.


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