Sunday, 7 August 2016

Changes...dreams and schemes...

I have officially finished still hasn't quite sunk in that having worked every day for 12 years at the same place that at the end of the summer holidays I will not be going back...ever. I will never have to do that seemingly endless bus journey again. I have some lovely (garden related) presents and a card full of best wishes for my future from people I've worked with for years so it must be true...I have finished work...gulp.

So now what? 

Well at the moment I'm giving myself some time off, it's been a bit of a tough few months with my very loved step mum passing away and excepting this redundancy all happening at the same time, my brain and body just seem to have gone a bit bleeegghhh on me. I decided to stop being very British about it all and just carrying on, stiff upper lip an all that. No actually that's enough, it's OK to stop, I have given myself permission to just stop and not feel guilty, just for now. 

And  it is the summer holidays after all and small boy is demanding to be entertained. My day starts (early) with, 'well what are we doing today that's a treat for me?'...when did children start to think the world revolves around them...oh yes forever! Money is tight, so we have to be inventive and selfishly enough I try to get as much allotment time in as possible without him working out he's been tricked! Lets make a scarecrow for the allotment...lets build a wildlife pond at the allotment....shall we see who can grow the tallest sunflower? plant a pot of carrots? play Star Wars with the weeds? So far so good, luckily for me he is a boy who needs to be outside and as long as he doesn't get stung by nettles and sees at least 1 frog on our allotment days he manages to last long enough for me to get some jobs done before the real whining starts.

Meanwhile my brain is buzzing with ideas and plans for what is to come. I have dreams of a poly tunnel which I'm planning to use to propagate my own plants  eventually for my little germ of a gardening business idea, as well as finally be able to grow those vegetables that at the moment allude me...aubergines, peppers...poly tunnel dreams.

 But for now all I can hear is small boy bouncing off the walls...must get out of the house! 


Monday, 25 July 2016

My poor shed...

And so it has happened as it so sadly happens to many allotment holders at some point...the shed break in. 

My lovely little purple shed, keeper of all plot essentials has been got at with a screwdriver (I'm guessing) and for god sake did it have to be my camping stove!!  The one essential bit of kit...everyone knows how important it is to be able to make tea on an allotment!

I'm not, as you may have guessed, too upset...I've had my home broken into whilst I was asleep in bed and believe me THAT was upsetting! In the grand scheme of things a camping stove is not worth a huge amount of money and is easily replaceable. The sad thing is this burglar didn't just break into my shed but nearly every one on site...and what were they looking for?...well it seems to me like they might just have been hungry. They'd taken my camping stove...they'd opened a large plastic tub which had once had a catering amount of peanut butter in it (don't ask) but were probably gutted to find the picture had it all wrong and it only had very inedible fertiliser in it and from another ladies shed, a packet of biscuits. They must have been hungry... but as I stood looking around me, beans, salad, carrots, courgettes, asparagus, artichokes, strawberries, raspberries, cherries and the struck me that they were also either really dim or really faddy eaters that don't like their fruit and which case what were you doing on a bloody allotment!? 

 I said I wasn't too upset by it and I'm not, stuff is just well stuff, but on the shed wall I have a sign that says on it, 'to you it may only be a shed but to me it's a sanctuary.' The shed and the allotment are just that to me, a sanctuary, a beautiful place to just 'be' and recently I have so needed it! So I just wish that hungry, finicky eating burglar had read, understood and cared about what they were doing....sadly I know that they didn't.  

*Thankfully as you can see in the photo one of my leaving presents from work was that lovely little flask and matching cup so I shall still be able to drink tea!

Tuesday, 7 June 2016


I have been very quiet on my blog recently, sometimes life just stills you and for me writing anything has become almost impossible and that so includes this post.
 But I hate to see my little blog become one of those abandoned blogs that scatter the internet and frustrate you with their long past used by dates. So I have decided to write this to explain and hopefully give me a new start on the other side...please bare with me, this is from a sore heart...

 My step mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer on New Years Eve and since then we have been caring for her so she can spend the time she has in the comfort of the home she has loved for many years.

 Whilst I sit with her, the last 'grown up' in my world, (she has been my step mum for longer than either my mum or dad were alive to be my parents) she still has one last really important lesson for me. She is teaching me to live, I don't mean that to sound pretentious, I mean it in a humbling death fades her quite literally before our eyes she is making me want to take the life I have and squeeze it like the precious thing it really is.

And so I have been taking a long hard look at my life and decided it needs shaking up a or never...

I know that we all have dreams and wishes that for many of us remain just that, something tucked away from the reality of life, to be escaped to when the need arises. My dream is not anything glamorous, it isn't about winning the lottery (hum), or about having a huge house, flash car or any of those things I stupidly thought mattered when I was young. For me it is now all about family, friends, surrounding myself with the people that matter and that pursuit of happiness or just that easy sense of have the time to enjoy the simple things.  

With this thought very much in control of me I accepted a voluntary redundancy from a job that I have had for 12 years. A job that has offered me the stability of a reliable monthly pay packet. It has kept the mortgage paid so quite literally a roof over our heads right from my days as a single mum to where I am now in a happy relationship with a young son, step children, a grandchild even... so quite literally a lifetime! It would have terrified me only a little while ago to give up this job, the fear of those bills... but it is not the job of my dreams it doesn't make me happy... 

So now is the time to take one of my long buried 'dreams' and run with it. The dream I have of 'gardening' for a living, taking that secret garden from my childhood and turning it into something real...and to make that idea into something viable, to pay the bills doing something I love.

 I have started a horticulture course with the RHS and have been organizing some voluntary posts in beautiful gardens with the idea of surrounding myself with professional people who know what they are doing and who I can learn from. I have so much to learn!

 I'm not a 20 something bright young thing just starting out, nor do I have a partner with a secure wage that can keep those bills paid whilst I risk being penniless, neither am I naïve enough to think it will be easy. I am just looking at my lovely step mum and feeling finally brave enough to try because as that awful cliché says, life is just too damn short...wish me luck...

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Sweet pea dilemmas...

I'm in a complete spin...a sweet pea spin...which sweetpeas? I want soft pastel shades or dark moody and dramatic...I just can't decide. I keep making lists then changing my mind and pretty soon if I don't get a move on it'll be too late! Arrgghhh.
 I did sow a few left over seeds that I had before Christmas because apparently they do better from an autumn sowing. They are sat in root trainers in my little plastic greenhouse and seem to be doing ok, I've pinched them out and they have multiple shoots now. We shall see which do better for me this year, the early or later sown ones.
I made the mistake last year of planting a few borage seeds around the sweet pea wigwams...those few seeds turned into a huge (quite beautiful) impenetrable wall that the poor little sweet peas couldn't even get a tendril over so this year I am planning to plant them mostly in their own glory well away from the borage anyway. However, I've seen deep purple sweet peas grown with purple podded peas and they looked that might be at least one colour I can make a definite decision on as I'm growing Shiraz mangetout peas and Blauhilde climbing beans this year.
I don't think I can go too wrong whatever colour combination I decide on, they are all very beautiful and in the grand scheme of things worrying about the colour of your sweet peas seems so trivial but it's a nice distraction to have.

I'm also trying to decide which potatoes to grow, last year I grew 6 different types of Albert Bartlett potatoes to see which ones we preferred. I'm definitely sold on Anya, they are absolutely delicious salad potatoes, simply cooked fresh from the ground (great roasted too!) they were a family favorite and very prolific from only 6 tubers! The other variety we really liked were Purple Majesty, they weren't quite as successful as Anya but the ones we did get were really tasty and quite novel looking, though I wouldn't recommend them mashed...they go a very fetching shade of grey! They were quite hard to dig up though because their dark purple skins are almost impossible to spot in the soil!
 I might be about to learn a hard lesson though because this year it seems quite hard to find a source for the Purple Majesty as they seem to be very popular and have sold out on the sites I've looked at unless I want to buy a field full of them! The lesson being get in early for those more unusual things...especially if you see them popping up in celebrity chefs recipes!

Just realised from reading through this that I seem to have a bit of a purple theme running through my allotment this year...wonder if that means anything?