I've planned for this moment for some time - I'd like to thank my parents for teaching me, my family for allowing me the time, the cats for not digging in the seedbed...no maybe not.
I do have an Oscar speech planned, should the occasion ever arise, but not a blogspeech. I'm touched (some say very) to be given this award by Maureen at http://mylottieheaven.blogspot.com/ and glad that at least a few of you read the blog.
OK I've been tagged, so if you are still with me here are 10 facts,(though not necessarily about me),(or true).
1. Redheads are bad tempered. This is usually because they are continually asked if having red hair means you have a bad temper, and in the end they snap and say, "Yes it bally well does now buzz off!". Having red hair is special. I hated as a kid, except when old ladies admired it, but love it now, I think I've grown into it. Redheads also get sunburnt whilst weeding. Memo to self, do not weed in low rise trousers. If one needs to weed in low rise trousers apply suntan cream to parts not previously considered to be 'where the sun does shine'.
2. Wasp stings hurt. This was a recent discovery of mine. I do not intend rediscovering it any time soon.
3. My tomatoes got blight - again - this year. Not that I'm bitter or anything you understand. Please do not post any further tomato photos on your blogs.
I don't eat tomatoes. Well I don't eat them raw (or naked as OS calls them) but this year I was going to try...
4. My plot is one of the untidiest on the site. I regularly blame this on my helpers but my desk is the untidiest at work, and my house isn't very close to minimalist either. I have to face facts it just might be a creative mind at work.
5. My day job is a 'bean counter' just lately at the plot I've been counting beans, one of life's little ironies.
6. I am over committed. I am also 'over seeded'. I need to "just say no!" on many levels. A job, two businesses, a family, caring for an aged parent and 8 different varieties of bean - see, over committed.
7. My Dad taught me to garden and I didn't appreciate what a gift this was until I wasn't able to thank him for it. I'm trying to teach my kids now, and feel I know a bit more about my Dad too. It is a very cathartic thing.
8. Having an allotment has improved my cooking skills no end. However, disasters do still occur, salt instead of sugar in rhubarb, even though it is a vegetable, is a bit too savoury, don't do it! Similarly if your helper does accidentally tip some brown rice instead of oats into the crumble mix, can I recommend you sieve it out rather than take the "Oh s*d it!" route. Even if your friend is a dentist.
9. Are you still here? I don't sleep much. Apparently I am like Mrs Thatcher in this regard, but not in any other (I hope), although she possibly had someone to remove caterpillars from her brassicas? Or is it only Gordon who has had a vegetable garden at 10 Downing St. Maybe I should stand for PM.
10. When not gardening I like to read, but my reading group will not do a "Joy Larkcom" or the T&M seed catalogue as book of the month. We did do ' Lady Chatterley's Lover' which involved a bit of shrubbery, but no oriental vegetables.
Well with all the excitement of the wasps on Monday night it wasn't until I was driving to w*rk on Tuesday that I realised I had a few problems: 1. I was in pain and still swelling up. The sting on my arm made my arm go red from my arm pit to below my elbow and ached as though I had flu. The ones on my stomach were very painful and I was beginning to look pregnant. So after a brief "What the heck has happened to you?" type conversation I nipped to the chemist. Nine stings she thought and recommended the doc (but I ignored that). 2. I had lost the key to the allotment and the shed. OS is 'gate man' on the occasions when we take the car and had left them in the padlock, not an uncommon occurance, but I forgot to ask for them in the panic and there you go - lost. 3. This loss of key seemed to momentarily tip me over the edge and there was I weeping at the thought of not being able to get to the allotment or my lovely tools. OH checked the padlock after a frantic phone call. No - lost. This morning I had a new perspective on things and stuck a sticky label with my phone number on the gate post to the lottie track and this morning whilst I was at w*rk OH rang and said he'd just been and collected them and had a cup of tea with a gentleman in the village.
Faith in human nature restored and antihistermines working, the world is a lovely place again.
Now I just have to take the bag of shredded paper to the allotment, I wonder if the wasps are gone...
Went to the plot tonight and not there very often neighbour turned up too, which was nice. We chatted as we got on with stuff. I was de-caterpillaring my brassicas and chatting to her when all of a sudden I heard a squeak, turned round and there she was topless and running round her plot flapping her jumper. I didn't like to comment but YS asked what was wrong. Wasps, was what was wrong, she had disturbed a nest and before we managed to tidy up and make a hasty exit I had been stung four, count them, four times. Happily the boys didn't get stung as I put them over the fence to go the long way round. Neighbour has promised to go to the plot tommorrow and see what could be done. Paraffin and matches were mentioned but I'm keeping out of it. I'm off to look at my arm, leg and stomach and get some sympathy from the OH.
Oh yes, neighbour was stung once, the wasp was up her jumper.
Finally got to the plot today to pick more beans and courgettes. The beans are still non stringy and delicious so I will freeze another batch. Then we picked caterpillars for a good 10 minutes - and still the blighters come. I've already written my Christmas list and enviromesh is up there! Several people have been blogging about leek moth disaters but I think the wind at the plot must keep them away as no one seems to have any touble so far (touch wood). The wind has blown a few rows of beans over (not mine - I tied the poles to the plot fence) so I need to think of strategies for keeping cloches on my own plot this winter. Whilst I was doing this the boys picked an autumnal boquet for grandma which is very pretty I think, grandma thought so too. Just in case you think it is all so idylic at my plot - shortly after picking the flowers we had to go home due to a fight (about spades).
"Let's go to the park" I said "It's bedtime" said OS and then realising his mistake "yeh! I'll get my trainers" "Which park?" said YS "The one with the blackberries of course!" I said. Groans all round. "You are such a pikey!" says OH (supportively) "O contraire" says I "'tis all the rage these days to gather food from the wild and grow one's own" "Never thought of you as a trendsetter" he replied.
Half an hour later and I was on the way home to bath and bed the boys and knock off a swift five pots of blackberry jam (seedless - does that mean it's jelly?)
... since I last posted. We've been camping over the long weekend, we had a lovely time but it's a releif not to have 'wasps on toast' for breakfast. I nipped up to the plot tonight to see what had happened whilst we were away and came back with this little lot. Two sorts of beans, pak choi, calabrese and the obligatory courgettes/marrows. Not much of a harvest? Well I did stop at Mum's on the way back and she took a carrier bag full of beans off my hands...
I've always had a passion for plants especially edible ones. We have a young family so it seemed the ideal time to get an allotment in rural Leicestershire and get them involved. We have a small half plot and aim to make it productive and fun. If I can do it you can too - get digging!