Yes, we’re still here. I’m afraid the will to write declined somewhat over the winter. I could try and claim I am afflicted with Seasonal Affective Disorder or some other such tosh but basically there’s not that much to write about. It’s the time of year where, in the gardening columns in the newspapers, they start talking about how to look after house plants and browsing through the seed catalogues in front of the fire.
Nor, frankly, does it seem to me that describing what one does at an allotment in the winter would be likely to inspire anyone to volunteer to come down. If you were just reading this in order to fulfill your need for schadenfreude, on the other hand…. ‘Went to allotment, cold. Pulled up weeds, cleared paths, replaced wood chip, did some more weeding. Sat in polytunnel shivering and drinking tea.’
Anyway, winter is over, assuming (fingers crossed) that there is no Beast from the East waiting to make it’s presence felt this year, and today was glorious and blog inspiring. The bees are out and about, the orchard is full of Primroses, fruit trees are blossoming and, since it’s nearly Easter, Linda’s magnificent buns made a reappearance. So instead of sitting in the polytunnel shivering we sat outside in the sun drinking tea, eating Hot Cross buns and looking forward to the summer.
Tea Party on Easter Monday. Might provide some material.
Firstly, an apology to my seven readers for my recent absence from these pages. I would like to be able to say that this was due to a near-fatal illness or my role in a major undercover operation rooting out Russian spies, but sadly it is just down to laziness and incompetence. Anyway, better late than never. And on the upside, it’s an allotment, so stuff doesn’t happen that fast. It’s not as though you missed an episode of The Bodyguard and will be hopelessly confused for the rest of the series as a result.
Anyway, I wrote ironically a couple of months ago about missing the Llama. Well now it’s not ironic. We really do miss the Llama, because in its absence the deer which turned up to nibble a bit of gooseberry bark has become a regular visitor, and now it brings its mates. While the result is not quite on a par with a plague of locusts it does amount to a steady degradation of a variety of allotment produce. In particular, we had virtually no autumn raspberries this year and the canes of next year’s summer raspberries are looking in a pretty sorry state already.
Nor is it clear that there is a great deal that can currently be done about this. Evidently the deer can clear the existing allotment fence. The council obviously have no money whatsoever to help out with the building of a higher one and its not clear that the allotment holders themselves have the means to step in and pay for one. I wonder how much it costs to buy a Llama?
Summer not, apparently, being over, Andrew suggested another barbecue. Despite there being no established precedent for holding two barbecues in two weeks, the general consensus was in favour, perhaps spurred on by the thought that it is 42 years since the last summer like this one and that for most of us hoping to be around in another 42 years might be considered a touch optimistic.
Barney and Linda were back from their travels and Nick, Vilma and Jessica came along, so we were more than quorate. Vilma even brought her own travelling barbecue kit (!). It came in flat metal box of the kind you usually see assassins assembling their custom-designed sniper rifles from in movies and was received with a combination of respect and fear (from the males who usually do the barbecuing who suddenly realized they were going to be under the scrutiny of a professional).
In the event, Vilma couldn’t have been nicer, and politely kept whatever she thought about our barbecuing skills to herself. Indeed there was a great deal of ‘after you Claude’ and careful avoidance of getting on each others toes around the barbecue as she, Andrew and I got on with the cooking. Vilma’s only practical concern appeared to be wasps, though as we kept pointing out, the things she was worried about were actually hoverflies. I’m not sure we convinced her though.
After a while, possibly prompted by some observation about contributions to the barbecuing effort, Kirsty announced that she and Sam would now take over. Sam was sober enough to recognize this as being a bad idea and sought to object, but Kirsty won the day. We were consequently granted 15 minutes of them taking selfies and complaining about the injustice/unwisdom of menopausal women going near barbecues while the last pile of sausages were cooked (more or less).
A good time, in short, was had by all and we finished off with a slice of delicious redcurrant cake produced by Linda as part of her ongoing project to work out what to do with the great mass of redcurrants that this summer has thus far produced.
Happily, it was a Sunday, so when the wine ran out we just went home.