Friday, 14 July 2017

FANNY'S LETTUCES & PORTUGESE JORGE'S MATTOCK.

They met when they were eight and were at Penderel school in Tenterden, a charming small town in the Weald of Kent. Apart from family members, Fanny is someone she has known the longest.

Having had an extraordinarily successful career, she took early retirement and now lives a very active life on a Spanish island. Speaking fluent Spanish and being fully intergrated with the locals means that her 'life' is there, not here so we don't get to see her very often but letters, yes, proper snail mail letters, and telephone calls mean that they're up to date in each others lives.

She knows my mum pretty well and had picked up on the fact that seeds were being germinated at home on our bedroom window.. put 2 & 2 together and arranged on-line for a marvellous electric propogator to be delivered in time for her birthday. Now that, Dear Readers, is when you know a friend knows you 'pretty' well!

Having reached the dizzy heights of her middle sixties, she no longer sneaks a peek at presents and had not a clue what was in the box which was delivered to MailBoxEtc, which is where all her mail is sent to.. yes, it's boring to have to collect your mail but at least it's kept safely and you don't get those annoying cards saying "Your package was too big for your letterbox"!

It plopped out of its box and having "oohed and aahed" over it, she set it up, poured a little water into its base, put in the capillary mat, filled the two trays with a mixture of vermiculite, perlite and very fine compost, planted a mix of Oakleaf and Lollo lettuces, placed the trays onto the capillary mat, put on the rigid lid and switched it on.

And rang the Spanish island.. and got her ansaphone. She reached back in time to the days when she spoke a little Spanish and thanked her friend for her wonderful birthday gift. And.. the seeds are already up.. one tray has twelve little seedlings, the other has nine and we're calling them 'Fanny's Lettuces'.

We love lettuces that aren't gassed.. in fact, we love all our home grown vegetables and tonights' treat is a dish of a couple of our own Turkish Cucumber with home grown mint and home made yoghurt.

"Gassed", I hear you say. Yes, gassed, because you try picking a lettuce, or leaves of spinach or chard and expect them to be crisp and crunchy two days later, they simply aren't going to be so. Most vegetables are gassed. That's why she grows her own as much as she can.

She's a trifle stiff today, it takes muscle to wield a mattock and yesterday she did the big square bed where the old redcurrant bush used to be. It's a brilliant gardening tool and she loves hers very much. It was given to her for her 51st birthday by 'Portugese' Jorge. He was her driver and such a great guy.

He had a key to her allotments and after a call at weekends to check that she was there, he would regularly pitch up with Isobel, his lovely wife, to dig and help tame the wilderness and it was he that gave her the Perpetual Cabbage.

So that's where we're going folks. And in her basket will be a piece of pork wrapped up in tin foil. Its skin has been scored, rubbed in herbs and spices and it will cook on the little barbecue with a couple of sweet potatoes. They will be our lunch together with a few just-picked beans and salad leaves.

The pork will sit and cool in its' juices and then come with us for we are bidden to supper with friends and she said "I'll bring the main course".

In a few weeks time, we'll be able to share 'Fanny's Lettuces', we've already started sharing our Blackberries and very sweet they are too!

GeeGee Parrot.
July 14th, 2017.
PostScript.. Bastille Day. Look it up if you do not know its' significance!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

OUR NEW TABLE.

You're shocked, how about me, she's a'tapping out two posts within a week, whatever next?

We had an extremely pleasant day yesterday, after a leisurely start with a delicious break fasting dish of eggs and all manner of exciting herbs and spring onions, we tube'd and bussed our way out to the allotments.

TO FIND.. oh, he is the kindest of men! Who.. What.. don't worry I'll tell you all about it!

This will fill you in on the story..

Having used one of the two tables in the Shack, she realised that the other would be perfect in the Machinery Shed, we're very 'long' on sheds but this left us with no table for the terrace.. hmmm. Well, the problem was very easily solved last week on Friday, for at B&Q she found a bigger than normal wooden table with fixed seats, you see them in parks and outside pubs.

It was in a kit form.. so back it went to the plots with other pieces of timber and three huge 125 litre bags of compost. She charged up her Bosch screwdriver's battery on Tuesday night as she planned to assemble the table, so yesterday, when we arrived at the plots, you can imagine how extremely surprisingly surprising it was to find it, the table, sitting up fully assembled on the terrace!

The kindest of men had gone to the plots early on Monday and assembled it for her as a birthday gift. How very thoughtful. He'll be getting a BIG bag of crystallised ginger, that's for sure!

Now we are off.. we are having a slooow start to our day, our supper with Leigh and Ossie was, as usual, delicious, "Thank you Leigh and Ossie" and poor Otto still cannot quite believe that Avian Hats exist!

But on the way home, we fell amongst thieves returning to their home and we were bidden in for coffee and nougat! Now who can resist nougat? Not us, that's for sure, so we sat and chatted slurping good coffee, eating fresh dates and nougat until a long way past midnight, which accounts for why we're not 'very quick' this morning!

But now we are up and about, we have another tale for you too about Fanny's Lettuces but for that you will have to wait 'cos we've got things to do and places to go.. PipPip folks.. Chocks away!

GeeGee Parrot.
July 13th, 2017.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

THE USUAL SUSPECTS FORGOT HER BIRTHDAY BUT SHE HAD A VERY HAPPY ONE & WE CELEBRATED IT ALL WEEKEND!

Boy, oh boy! What a time we've had!

Her birthday this year had three sevens in it.. 07.07.17 and she always seems to have an extra happy time when these three sevens appear.

There were many jovialities and much to'ing and fro'ing! She was busy all day on her birthday and then we went out to celebrate it with friends who live near-by.

On Saturday, the next day, she went to the allotments and had a bbq lunch with plot neighbours and came home early as she was going out to supper with Tereza and her two pretty daughters (HOW these girls have grown) at Colbert. Then on Sunday, we went out to the allotment and had another bbq lunch.

By now, I was completely full of fresh air and my latest passion, which are courgettes, raw or stir fried are equally delicious and she'd received cards and unwrapped some lovely gifts from friends spread around the world.

Some of which were from the following:

Pretty cards came from: Tom in NYC, his came with a loving message about how much he appreciated her in-put into 'our boy' Bob's memorial service (how she wishes she could have been there in person.. Darling Caroline from Exeter with a note that made her choke and also from sweet John, with whom she worked at Trinity, he has the most beautiful hand writing you are ever likely to see!

Dearest darling Pat had made for her the most exquisite jacket in the colour of a purple bluebell. Probably her oldest friend Fanny had bought on-line and arranged for an electric propagator to be delivered. And one of our Lebanese friends, Raja, gave her the most glorious of books 'A Little History of British Gardening' by Jenny Uglow, the updated version.

Monday was a rest day for me, I stayed at home whilst she went about her business, which, I might say, included eating Baklava icecream with two naughty friends in the Maroush Bakehouse on the Edgeware Road! And delivering truly delicious yumyum to her sweet homeopath.

And yesterday.. it rained! Not just a spitter-spatter but a lovely GOOD downpour of rain! It started at 1.00pm yesterday afternoon and continued throughout until just after 05.00am this morning. How wonderful! Especially as there has been a hosepipe ban issued by the authorities who run our allotments!

Because, and we'd like to know which idiot it was.. a cretin has been using a sprinkler and leaving it on all day! Hello? How dumb can you be? Apparently, VERY and stupid as well as dumb. Never mind, God waters with much better stuff than tap water and so all of our trees and plants got a really good and long 'drink'.

She had a long telephone call yesterday morning from The Wizard. He was calling to give her the news that he is just about to become a father.. now how about that for happy news, dear Rob, he is such a nice man and we wish him and Melanie all the very best of best wishes.

This morning is overcast and we are having a slow start to the day but she has to shake a leg or two and take some books back to the library and pay fines, for she mislaid the books! There were found yesterday where she'd put them by mistake with books that are due to go down to Pewsey! Grrr.. she does hate wasting money!

Then we are going in the afternoon to the allotments to pick yumyum and roses for we are bidden to supper with Leigh and Ossie is a very good cook, we always have scrummydumptious things to eat at their table!

And poor Otto, a beautiful Russian Blue, has to watch me stand upon my mama's head, he's seen it for many a year but still finds it hard to believe that such a thing exists.. an avian hat.

So there we are.. I know, we aren't posting every often but if you could see our allotments, well, you'd understand why! There has been a huge amount of work done in the past six weeks and they'll soon back to how they were circa 2009! Which was very productive, very pretty and extremely tidy!

Many chirps to you all.

GeeGee Parrot.
July 12th, 2017.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

THE CHERRY PICKERS..

Thieving bastards! They struck our plots at about 9.00pm last Sunday night and picked every single cherry off our trees and to cap it all, what is really upsetting, these evil people must have done a lookielookie as they came with a ladder in order to access the fruit higher up in the trees!

Oh.. so I cannot tell you how sad she was when she came home last night, she was quite shocked and, of course, is now fearful for the rest of her fruit. This year is going to be a cracking harvest and we have apple, fig, gage, pear and plum trees all laden with fruit and they're much easier to pick than cherries!

'Enough is enough' she thought and contacted Joe who used to be a game keeper, that profession are only too well aware of poachers and thieving and are all up to date with night vision / movement triggered battery operated cameras and that is what she's planning to install on the plots. Dear man has responded and is sending us the contact details.

Apart from that sadness, life is good but she's never at home! Mind you, I'm usually with her so I can't complain too much! But I have refused to go out on the occasion when the temperature has tipped over 30 degrees centigrade, the thought of a hot bus or tube has not appealed and I've chosen to stay home in our cool-in-summer.. warm-in-winter.. home!

We've spent a couple of days with our Lebanese friends in their garden and she taught me a new tune, but sadly for my mum, I only learnt the first bit of it, I now have to wait for her to return from Paris to get the next bit!

Now it is late, almost my bed time and it's been raining since about 11.00 am yippee,  which is what we badly need for everything as lubblyjubbly rain is definitely better for our flowers, fruit and vegetables than tap water.

So we wish you all well and rest assured, we'll post again more frequently when she isn't bent over those raised vegetable beds a' fiddly-diddling with something green or doing carpentry work! Yes, all manner of exciting things are being made!

PipPip.. Chirp.

GeeGee Parrot.
June 27th, 2017.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

THIS BLOG IS STILL ACTIVE.. BUT WE'RE GARDENING!

We are alive but veryvery busy on the plots! There is much to do and she's a'doing it!

We told you Little Shed was made secure. Well, last Saturday saw a new roof go up onto Machinery Shed and a new door was handmade and fitted, she still has to cover the west wall with a layer of waterproof roofing felt and paint the shed and.. horror of horrors, rip out and replace the rotten floor but at least the exterior is now sound and watertight so the shed is secure.

Our bedroom window ledge continues to groan under the weight of several seedling boxes. Two varieties of Sorrel, Rocket, Nasturtiums, Spicy Salad leaves, several different varieties of Spinach, a box of very SPEEDY (Bulgarian) French Beans, which were given to us by Tereza's father and our favourite little Yellow Patty Pan Squash.

And we have Lebanese Courgettes, these seeds were sent to us from the Lebanon by a friend of our Lebanese friends, they also sent other seeds which we will grow next year. We've already eaten one of these Courgette, it was a twin with two flowers and mighty tasty it was too!

The seeds of these plants, we have two, were potted up exactly the same day as a pair of Yellow courgettes and a pair of traditional green ones. The green variety have yet to produce anything edible, so we're calling it 'SlowCoach', the Yellow ones each have two teeny courgettes but the Lebanese.. wow! Well, it's a 'no-brainer as to which one we'll be growing next year in bigger quantities!

Plus, the flowers are truly ENORMOUS!

These kind people also sent us seeds for the very short and incredibly tasty cucumbers, the flowers of which are the brightest yellow you've ever seen! We now have three plants and she's erected sturdy frames for them to climb upon.

But now the sun is ris and we've got to go.. we send you all our very best wishes and hope that you 're all happy and healthy.. wherever and whoever you are!

Chirp.. there are still a lot of chirps to be had.. despite the appalling mess that the current government of the UK has created but I should think that HM The Queen is extremely glad that Ascot* starts next week!

GeeGee Parrot.
June 13th, 2017.
PostScript: *Ascot means Royal Ascot Race Week, it starts on Tuesday June the 20th.

Friday, 26 May 2017

OH WOE.. THE TALE OF HER TOE!

Huh.. what a few days of high drama we have had, well, to be precise the dramas have taken place between our home in deepest Knightsbridge and the local A & E dept. Let's go back to my favourite place to start tales, which as you all know is at the beginning.

It happened last week, she drew the curtains and saw a MONSTER black spider! Eek.. she clapped the fabric together between her hands but the monster escaped her clutches and scampered off. Later the same day, she was getting something off her bedside table when.. ouch.. something bit her!

Now, you're all bright and so you know what it was.. yes.. the monster had bitten her. She went to the bathroom, scrubbed the bite with surgical spirit and thought no more about it. Went out to dinner with our Lebanese friends for a delicious supper, came home late, rolled into bed and woke up early as she  had an early appointment.

She made our breakfast. Ran a bath, lifted her right foot up to get into the bath.. only to come to a screeching halt.. EEEK.. her toe was brown and puffy! She called the person and said "I'm sorry, our appointment has to be postponed, I've to go to A&E as I've been bitten by a spider".

She got dressed and flew out of the house to catch a bus to the local hospital, Chelsea & Westminster, on the Fulham Road. Luckily the department wasn't too busy and a triage nurse saw her quickly, She didn't like what she saw at all and mum found herself being fast-tracked in to see a doctor.

He didn't like it very much either and examined her toe very carefully, asked copious questions and then disappeared to seek out a man who knew all about spider bites. Apparently there are more and more highly poisonous spiders coming into the country and most of them are coming in via bagged bananas!

He came back and pronounced that it wasn't a poisonous species, if it had been, there would have been pain and throbbing in the area plus much more swelling and horrors, signs of the poison moving towards her ankle! Eek!

He cleaned it with a smelly liguid, let that dry, put an ointment on the bite, a plaster around her toe, told her to keep it dry for 24 hours and she was good to go. So kind, so thorough.

I know, I know, we have been remarkably remiss.. aka idle.. with the amount of posts this month. She Who Taps iPad has been incredibly busy at the allotments, so busy, that they are actually beginning to resemble the allotments how they were nine years ago! That was in the days when she was very fit, Mr. Beastly Briar hadn't grown his evil roots and there wasn't a weed in sight!

Now you can actually get into Little Shed! Poor Machinery Shed isn't able to be entered because be is still surrounded by Mr. Beastly Briar but this is for a reason. He is full, well, we hope he is still full of valuable machinery but his roof is damaged and one Saturday, our dear friend, her old driver, Dean is coming and they will renovate his roof and put in a new door and make it, we hope, thief proof.

So in the meantime, Mr. Beastly Briar is surrounding Machimery Shed keeping its' contents safe.. if they haven't already been stolen!

Little Shed has now the same anti-theft security on his door as The Shack and yes, it's boring as you can't just open the door to get your tools out but at least we know the tools ARE in there!

Now we're having a very early start today, she is going to finish a job she did for our Lebanese friends yesterday. I went too and had a marvellous time! I was spoilt rotten.. absolutely rotten but how I was spoilt is for another tale to be told at some point in greater detail.

Then after we do that, we're going to the allotments to plant triffids! You'd call them Climbing Runner Beans but I think they're really something else, she only planted them ten days ago and yet they're up and growing, whilst her normal beans are still lurking in a mixture of potting compost and vermiculite and deciding if they're going to germinate or not!

So toodle pip.. we're off.. for there is much to do and there are only, as you know, 24 hours in one day so you have to squeeeeeze every minute so that you can get everything you want done.. done!

GeeGee Parrot.
May 26th, 2017.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

WHAT DO CAT LITTER TRAYS & CAKE CARRIERS HAVE IN COMMON?

The answer is that they make brilliant seedling holders and propagators! Yes, the litter trays are higher than seedling trays so that you can carry your seedling pots very safely and the cake carriers make brilliant propagators! Who knew? Well, she must have as she's been using both these items for ages.

The latest, but actually she thought of this last year and it worked very well indeed, is to use cupcake carriers as seedling trays, they hold twelve cupcake papers into which she puts good potting compost, having sprayed it gently, she puts in a seed, fills up the paper with a little more compost, another spray of water and then the plastic clear lid is clipped onto the base.

Hey presto.. hey li cheese.. when the seedling appears, she places the paper into the designated previously dug and watered bed. The vegetable roots grow straight through the paper which, of course, disintergrates.

What's not to like about something so useful?

There's been much work done at the allotments, not only can you now actually see and touch Little Shed, she's slashed and burnt all the crap that had grown up and around it.. and in the process, has found wondrous things!

They are very old terracotta flower pots, given to her by her beloved Mary, when she was very little and Constance and Hugo travelled, Mary was her official guardian.

She was the most lovely, lovely woman, who in 2001 when she heard about the allotments, rang mum and said "I've got a present for you, I'll be with you by 3.00pm and I want to see your plots", and bless her heart, she piled them into a wonderful basket wicker that mum uses to this very day, and drove from Sherborne, in Dorset, up to London.

But her 'get-up & go' was pretty legendary, for this is the woman who in 1958, decided to take on the Dutch Tomato Growers at their own game, she had spent many years in France as a child and knew about the very old varieties of this culinary treasure, goodness knows how she found the seeds but she started growing the most amazing varieties which, of course, the chefs of the very fancy London hotels couldn't believe were being grown in Kent! And so she invited several of them down to see what she was doing.. and never looked back!

She was thrilled that Constance's daughter was picking up her mother's and her gardening habit and gave her these very old pots as a gift.

Yesterday she made the salad bed.. salad doesn't like to be too hot, so this long narrow bed is situated in the middle of the plots with a massive rose - 'Compassion' planted in 2003 in memory of her aunt Hay darling - at its' southern end, the rose is tall and wide and filters the sun perfectly.

What else has happened? Oh yes, she met herself coming through the first part of the beastly briar patch! She'd slashed and cut through on the northern side, now the next thing was to do the same on the western side but without damaging two 'Jacques Cartier' roses which are on the edge of this patch.

Having dressed again in slippery clothes and tall boots, she waded in to do damage to Mr. Beastly Briar! Oh.. yes, it Indeedy, it is highly satisfying to suddenly find yourself with a clear space in front of you! It's all been cut into manageable bits, will lie in a hideoes heap for about a week and then be burnt in the incinerator.

The first lot of climbing French beans have been planted out, she put glass cloches on them for A. for it's certainly not yet that warm at nights and B. these glass cloches will deter Mr. Slimy Slug from munching these new tasty things!

Nothing else much to report.. I am in disgrace because I got 'ants in my pants' and nibbled my little top feathers on the left wing yesterday, so I wasn't taken to the allotments today. That'll teach me to be stupid. I was left 'home alone' with the mice. She had a visitor which was pleasant, Corinne who has two plots opposite ours, came to call, that meant she could stop feeding the ever-hungry briar gobbling incinerator and sit and chat for a few minutes.

Corinne is a new comer to the allotments but is already a seasoned gardener, she shares the plots with Stuart, who is tall, strong and does the heavy duty stuff! We are most envious of Corinne for having such a useful person sharing the plots with her!

Whoops.. is that the time? Got to go, very early start tomorrow, we're going to the allotments with Claudia, she is from mum's other life when she worked with decorators, designers, architects etc and she's as passionate about gardening as mum is, so today will be a day of much hard work being done and lots of good food being eaten.

Chirps to you all.

GeeGee Parrot.
May 6th, 2017.

Monday, 1 May 2017

A HARD APRIL FROST.. AND HURRAY HURRAY, IT'S THE 1st OF MAY!

Old Jack Frost paid a visit to our allotments last week, she thinks it was on Friday night and he's burnt all the new leaves on the fig trees. All of the other fruit trees are all ok but Jack has 'nipped' a lot of the cherries whose blossoms were the last to form. GRRRR! It must have been one hell of a cold night as we've never had leaves burnt like this before, most are six feet off the ground for goodness sake, what was he doing scattering his icy wares so high up?

Everyone's potatoes were hit by it, as, too, were the vines, the leaves look as if someone has put a flame thrower over them, poor little things, they're scrivelled and twisted, not a happy sight at all.

Apart from that she's slowly, very slowly, winning the battle with the beastly briars, which is what you call blackberries when they go wild and just produce huge amounts of growth with not a piece of yummy fruit in sight.

And you can now actually see Little Shed! She got dressed from top to toe in slippery clothing that the briar thorns couldn't catch upon, climbed into long boots, put on leather gauntlets and set about the briars with long handled loppers and a special pair of secaturs.

It took her the best part of a day, so you can imagine the gratification she felt when she pulled and cut away the last long piece that was growing across Little Shed's door. The incinerator was still there.. heehee.. this is where beastly briar is going to end his reign of terror, as every inch of him is going to burnt! She cut every piece into small sections so that they would fit into the bin.

The door needs replacing, she's not surprised, it was very old when she took on the plots and that was over sixteen years ago. She has planks of weathered wood that will do the job, it can't be a shop bought door as someone built this shed by hand a very long time ago, she re-inforced it and renewed the weather proofing in 2003.

She plans to install the same anti-theft protection that protects the door to Little Shack. For this she needs to dig two holes at least a foot deep, this is filled almost to the brim with ready-mixed cement and into this goes a 6' high piece of 4" x 4" of timber, through which holes are drilled, D shaped bike locks are fitted through these holes. A piece of heavy duty metal grill, originally part of a supermarket cage, hangs onto these locks in front of the door.

Meanwhile.. back home.. It is the First of May and she's just had a coffee with the Pewsey folks, I was not invited! I was left squeaking piteously by myself whilst they drove off but she reappeared about twenty minutes later skipping down our steps in a hurry for it had started to rain and it's chilly.

The forecast is for rain for most of today, she has no plans to go anywhere, which is a good thing as there's much to do at home! We have two large slabs of plastic lurking in the hall, they are the two tables which are going out to the allotments, one will go inside of Little Shack and one's for the terrace. Their legs snap in and out, so at the end of the Summer, she can take out the legs and it'll be stored inside.

There is also a stack of chairs lurking there as well, you can see why I am glad that I fly over this stuff! Imagine if one was a dog!

Huh, the sun has come out but she ain't tempted to go, she will finish tapping this, put a chicken into the big roasting pan which has the ridged top, pour in a little water with herbs and spices together with a couple of homemade stock cubes from the freezer, put it onto to simmer over a low heat and she'll do laundry and housework

It matters not that it is a Bank Holiday, it is Monday and old habits die hard! Anyway, the museums will be packed with tourists, she has much to do and the week is already getting booked up, she's got to go to out Romford again on Wednesday and a dear friend, John, has asked if he can work with her at the allotments to get exercise and fresh air!

Well, there's plenty of both of those waiting for him out there! I went out there with her yesterday and had forgotten how very pleasant fresh air is, but they, the football teams, were playing at the other end of Dukes Meadows, that was a bit disappointing, I haven't blown my referee's whistle for ages!

She's got to go off to do her chores (rather her than me) and I'm off to doze on the pole. PipPip to you all.. PipPip.

GeeGee Parrot.
May 1st, 2017.
PostScript: Michele of Pewsey's birthday tomorrow.. we picked her a lot of roses yesterday and put them to soak in a rubber gardening trug and yes, we know that she grows her own but one can never have enough highly scented roses in the house, especially if they were 'home grown' by a friend, can you?

Sunday, 23 April 2017

LITTLE SHACK IS IMMACULATE & BEASTLY BRIAR IS GETTING THE CHOP!

Greetings to you all. We haven't posted for ages and so there is much to tell. Where to start? At the allotments because that is the most important place I reckon.

As you know, the blackberry briars are a troublesome member of our community out there, they think they have the right to gobble up every inch but they got a nasty shock about ten days ago. For the big red rubber trug came out with the secaturs and she began the assault in two places on plot number 35.

Why did she do it in two places? Well, it's an evil and very large briar growth and to just do it in one place you can only go forwards but if you do it in two places, before long you meet your work coming from the other direction and it is easier to get the trug into the space (and out again to empty it) and hey presto! You suddenly see that it is 'do-able', instead of it being just a big fat mess!

This work was done on the days when it was quite hot, to put it mildly, and the cuttings dried quickly and the pile of them shrank.

Then we had a dramatic drop in temperature and that was ok too because she needed to work in Little Shack. Mister Rat thinks it's his home in the winter and so it has to be washed out and sterilised each Spring. She uses washing soda and bleach to do this, she had put everything away or hung it in its' proper place in the late Autumn, the glasses had all been washed and were all upside down, so it didn't take long to wash the work surfaces and the floor.

But one thing that is a big fat mess are the hand tools, not the actual tools themselves but the screws, nails, metal pegs etc. She needs to go to go to Poundland and buy a couple of those black plastic tool boxes, then they can be sorted out and separated.

But if the truth were told, which it always should be, these tools are in the wrong place! They should all be in Little Shed. But beastly Briar has gobbled up Little Shed and she will have to cut her way through it in order to get at the door. That's a job for next week as well as killing the briar who has sneaked his way onto the terrace.

She hacked out the path beside the Shack to the wood store at the back, nettles had invaded the path and a briar had come through the fence and grown along the path and up onto the roof of shack, it had grown along the roof, thankfully not between the wooden roof and the water-proof felting!

This weed store is where pots and spare rolls of roofing felt are kept and it needs a new roof, a tornado tore it off which also weakened the structure and knocked off the water tank that supplies the Shacks' kitchen which has to be reinstated.

And to help us greatly, we have been given a wonderful gift! Dean, the man who drove for her all those years ago, has given her his old decking! Wow, just as she was thinking of costing up the price of wood with which to make a whole new section of raised beds. How fortuitous was that?

For where the big patch of briars is used to be vegetable beds and she wants them back! The ground is fertile, we know this as nettles are growing there, a sure sign of good earth. And now we have the wooden planks with which to make the beds AND they're already drilled, all she has to do is put little square blocks of wood into each corner to connect the planks and go vroom.. with the powerful Bosch drill which is charging as she taps.

The Asparagus has given us more than she thought it would and it was early too. She cuts it all and then close trims it with the grass trimmer. This way she keeps the weeds down and the Asparagus stands a chance but she thinks it's probably its' last year. She'll make a new but not so large bed and ask Mrs. Ayling or her son William for three year old crowns.

Then that bed needs to be dug over and weeded properly. It will free up thirteen square feet, that is a good space and will be useful for several smaller raised beds.

In the meantime we have several trays of things growing here at home. Different varieties of Beans and Courgettes / Zucchini plus our much beloved Sweet Peas. Yes, you can start them off in the Autumn but slugs lurve Sweet Pea shoots and there is nothing sadder than the sight of slug munched Sweet Peas.

So she starts hers off at home and then puts then into a bed with sand, finely ground egg shells and slug pellets and they race away in mid May. They don't like frosts and we have had a couple of really strong frosts in the last two weeks, a couple of the new allotment plot holders were moaning about it having caused damage and one of them asked her on Thursday "When is our last frost date" and was shocked to hear it is the ninth of June!

But at the risk of being hated.. she is crying out for rain! As are all the farmers as well, the April showers? We didn't / haven't have any so far, what we did have was a hot spell that reached 74 F, which was FAR too hot for this time of the year and unless we get significant rain, the fruit that is already forming on all of her bushes and trees will dry up and drop off.

Then the June Drop won't be just of the smaller fruit, it will be all of the fruit, we have another five weeks before we reach June, which is the first month of Summer and this season, Spring, is the season for gentle but consistent rain in order for fruit, vegetable, wheat, hops, barley and grass for cattle, horses, sheep and goats to grow.

Goodness me.. it is nearly eight pm! Time to eat.. yumyum calls, it has been a strange day here today, for there was a plan to go to the allotment with a friend but yesterday she knew she wouldn't be able to make it, she has a Spring cold which has gone up into her sinuses.. very painful.. and yes, she has done lots of her usual treatment of mashed garlic, ginger and cloves in a tea and put drops organic sesame oil up her nostrils at night which has cleared the left side but the right side is proving to be a right ........ and it will take longer to clear up and clean out.

But she has a pleasant day planned tomorrow with gardening on Tuesday. Hopefully we will post again soon with good news of briar killing and the rescuing of poor Little Shed from its' evil grasp!

Until then.. PipPip to you all.

GeeGee Parrot.
April 23rd, 2017.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

THE SUDANESE WAR. 2 FILMS ARE ON THE UK TV CHANNEL 4 APRIL 5 & 6 @ 7.00pm.

How much do you know about the war in Sudan, the current war that has claimed thousands of lives and caused millions of people to be displaced? There's an article in The Guardian today that is worth reading.. to put it gently!

The article is written by a journalist, Phil Cox, who, together with a Sudanese colleague, was captured, tortured and held for 70 days.

Read it on-line and then go to Channel 4 on the UK tv network to see his two films. Be informed about why the people of the Sudan and other African countries are fleeing their country in their thousands.

Be informed about what is going on in African, the corruption, the land grabbing, this is not just happening in Zimbabwe but throughout Africa, the Mineral rights being sold to China.. all roads, in this case do not lead to Rome but to corruption, the scale of which is beyond immense.

She's off to a lecture at the V&A, to balance the horror of what will, undoubtedly, be shown in the first of these two films tonight.

GeeGee Parrot.
April 5th, 2017.