Friday, 18 June 2010

The "Home" Counties

After a long and very strenuous week working on the allotment, Philip and I travelled South for a week's camping. No not St Tropez. Last year we discovered a lovely little campsite in Tenterdon, Kent. We decided a return visit was on the cards. So, on Monday we set off with the car packed to the roof and the dog sat on my lap. I wouldn't normally travel with Zak in the front, but unfortunately the wheel bearing on the trailer went a couple of days earlier so everything had to go in the car.

The campsite boasts a lovely pond which is home to some of the biggest carp I have ever seen. One of my favourite things to do is to feed the fish, they know you're approaching as soon as you step onto the jetty, and by the time you've reached the end they are working themselves into a frenzy. Their mouths are so large, the food is vacumed up in seconds.

I am originally from Kent but don't know the area well, and anywhere I thought I remembered has changed so much anyway. I did revisit Dungerness, and even though there is a pair of nuclear power stations there, it is a very quaint and original place. Dungerness used to be a thriving fishing community, the fishermen lived in little wooden shacks from where they would sell the daily catch. The place has changed but some of the shacks are still there. The area appears to be a popular place for artists and "crafty" people.

Dungerness is a very picturesque place and has a wonderful "feel" about it.

Philip, Zak and I had wanted to travel on the RHD light railway, I love the smell of steam trains. Unfortunately we missed the train and took the car instead.

Philip excelled himself with his camp cooking. He roasted a chicken in the cobb cooker, made pancakes for breakfast and stirfried pork and peppers in black bean sauce over an open fire.

Whilst strolling along the harbour in Rye, Philip and I fell in love....with a beautiful canadian canoe. Philip stood talking to the boat builder while I ran my hands along the sleek lines of the sublime vessel. Oh yes ..yes.. YES!!!! sorry I forgot where I was.

Philip has asked me to try and control my excitement over baby animals when he is driving. I saw this adorable Shetland foal and frightened the life out of him with my joyful cries, it must have been loud because I did feel a little horse!

Eggs, chips and beans

247..248..249..250!!!!! We did it! We planted 250 potato sets in, possibly the most inhospitable piece of ground in County Durham!

If you have been following my blog you will know that Philip and I have worked very,very hard on preparing the ground on our allotment for planting. We have been totally amazed at the amount of bricks and other debris we've dug up over the last week, and every day we believed there simply could not be any more bricks in the plot. And every day we have excavated more, in fact we could build a shed from them. Nonetheless the spuds are in and will hopefully break up the earth for us and make the next digging over much easier.

After all our hard graft we both felt a little jaded to say the least. We needed a break. We decided to take a week away in the open. A week under canvas was just what the doctor ordered.

On returning home, we couldn't wait to go to the allotment, and lo and behold we have potatoes growing. It is so satisfying to see the first green leaves of potato plants just peeping out of the earth. Spurred on by this we have now planted four varieties of bean and some mange touts. Next to go in will be carrots and beetroot. I know we are planting late in the season but we are hoping for some success.

I cannot wait to get the allotment fenced off so that we can build the coupe and buy some hens. Most of our fellow allotment holders keep chickens and some have given us eggs from them, what a difference in taste!

We may end up being self sufficient some day. Ah the Good Life.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Making beds and raking it in.

So, we had the weekend off from the allotment, but today we hired a rotavator and got stuck in. You won't believe the difference it has made. We had an early start ( well early for us) and have managed to clear a sizable chunk of land for planting.

Unbelievably we unearthed yet more rusty metal and I really think there was an entire village buried there! So many bricks!

Having the allotment is a very social thing, every time we are there we have visits from fellow growers. We have been given lots of things to help us on our way and so much advice. Actually I think we are considered to be quite mad for taking on the plot. They are probably taking odds on how long it will be before we throw up our hands in defeat. Hear this fellow growers..... I will not be beaten!

So, ever the optimists, we have purchased 250 seed potatoes and will be planting them tomorrow. Apparently they will break up the soil and push up the weeds and rubbish from beneath. All hail the common spud!

Another job for tomorrow is to order a load of manure. Now you may find this strange but I am really looking forward to shovelling shit. Apologies for the language but it just doesn't have the same ring if I say shovelling manure.

We have both caught the sun, perhaps a little too much but there you go. I am so looking forward to tomorrow. Lets hope for more sun, but I must remember the sun tan lotion.