Monday, 5 November 2012

Chapter Fifty Six

Two weeks ago Linda became the proud owner of her own bit of Cornwall. Within the first week we were both up there and digging in. It is Linda's allotment and I will make no interference on the thing. It is best if I just quietly get on with digging out and clearing the ground for Linda to work it properly. I know my place. We put in a good afternoons work and there was certainly a difference to be seen afterwards.
This is the two plots just before we started work on them. The poles are to go in for the raspberries. Plot A is the one on the left and Plot B is on the right.
Linda has made up plans of how she wants the plots to develop and grow and it does look pretty good on paper. The left hand plot will consist primarily of soft fruits plus several rows of potatos on the lower half of it. The right hand plot will consist of vegetables and possible salad stuffs.
With all this in mind, the first job was to clear and dig over the section for raspberries, currants, and strawberries. Seemingly these can be the first crops to go in.
It went well and we did alright. By the end of the first day we had cleared, and dug over, and put in, two huge trenches for the raspberries, Nick has supplied us with two huge piles of manure, so part of that was dug into the trench and left to settle.
The following day we were back up there again to put in the six foot poles which will carry the wires. These wires will support the raspberry canes when they start to grow. Putting the poles in was hard work but we still had a laugh with it all. I'm not quite sure how we managed it but they all went in without to much of a problem...and remain surprisingly solid and upright.

The plots are well situated in a sloping field that faces south. All is very secure as the owner of the ground lives up there as well. He has his own growing places which supply his farm shop and he allows twelve plots to others in the area who want to grow their own.
Security is good as he is close by and there is also a decent water supply for our use as well. He will supply manure on request and also give you old pallets to convert into compost bins. There is also a communal shed that we share with the others.
Our field is quite large and split in two with a strong fence. There are cows in the lower half of it which I believe are the major source of the manure. The top half of the field, (the Northern end) is split up into the twelve plots. There does look to be room for more and these may be opened up at a later date.
Our two plots are to the right hand side of the field and close to a high hedge. This hedge protects all the plots from any north wind. We face south down towards the valley and with a hint of the sea beyond. There are two farms in front of us on the other side of the valley; one to the left and one to the right. They look lovely as we stand facing them. It is a lovely place to have an allotment in.
The soil is a basic clay type but with a good topsoil on it of about a spit deep. It seems well drained as well, so we are hoping for good things. Each plot is 32 feet by 16 feet (10 metres by 5 metres). There is a lot of work to do up there but Linda is very determined. I know I wont be doing a great deal to help as the whole thing is her baby really, but I will still contribute. My main contribution, with any luck, will be the eating of the crop...or watching Linda working.

Having said that; we were up there again today and cleared the last of the rubbish off the plots. It was a tough three hours or so but the difference once we had done was noticeable. Its going to look great in the future. Linda is very much the driving force behind this and you can see the difference we have made since we started. I must confess that I would never have bothered without her pushing things along. It is starting to look good though. Both of us have put the hours in up here as you can see...and I'm exhausted with it all. Thank God for wheelbarrows, that's what I say.

Linda is gradually metamorphosising (is that a word?) into a version of 'Doris Archer'. The kitchen is becoming a hive of industry as she is constantly making a variety of jams, jellies, and chutneys. Now she has discovered the secret of 'the rolling boil', the world is her oyster.
Dont ask me what a rolling boil is either. I'm a bloke and its a complete mystery to me. All I know is that when she discovered it... she felt like Dan Brown finding the Holy Grail...and was just as excited.
We now have cupboards full of pots of this and that; we have a freezer full of homemade soups and the like; and it wont be long before we have a cupboard full of home made wines. Its brilliant.
Thank God I have more hours at work or I would never lose the weight I am sure to pile on.
We had a lovely visit at the beginning of last week from Linda's mum. She had not been down here before but was able to get down for a three day visit. It was the perfect time really with Linda off work at the moment.
Her mum was unable to drive down here on her own so Roxanne and Steven brought her to Exeter in the van. We met up with them there and had dinner at the Barn Owl together before swapping her into our car and bringing her home. The two kids went back up country but promised to come back on Wednesday to collect her.         
Linda took her out on the Monday and took her all over the local area to give her a sense of were we live. They did the usual things of driving around the Roseland before heading on the King Harry Ferry across to Truro. Surprisingly, the rain held off for most of the day and they were able to enjoy the day.
Tuesday, in the afternoon, we both took her down to Mevagissey. This is becoming a favourite place of our's and we had a nice time just walking around the harbour and watching what was going on.
Sadly, all to soon her trip was over and on the Wednesday, Linda had to take her back towards Surrey.
They left early on Wednesday morning while I was at work and meandered slowly up country into Devon. Linda had planned on taking her mum to 'Otters' for lunch and a bit of a shop on the way. This they managed to do and had a great time before driving up to Ilminster to meet up with Roxanne. This is the halfway point on any trip from Farnham to Truro and we shall use it again.
Linda was able to get back in time to come with me to the quiz night at the local pub. That was our first one of the season this year because I have been at college every wednesday since it started. Thank God for half terms I say.
The weather has got colder now but still with a lot of sunshine about. We are experiencing some cold sharp showers of rain though, some of which can be very heavy. The ground is totally water logged after our atrocious summer and they are worried about flooding in the country at the moment. We seem to be OK at the moment though. We did have a hail storm on Friday though that made the whole place look snow covered.
This must have been a foretaste of things to come because the South West has been hit by an inch of snow already. Not here in Devon and Cornwall...but in Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, and parts of South Gloucester. Amazing.
Saturday 3rd November was a good day for us. The Coastwatch group I belong to had there annual lunch in Tregony village hall. Linda made a delicious sherry trifle for the event, and we also took a raffle prize along. It was great to meet up with the rest of the group and Linda and I enjoyed the whole thing. They are really nice people and I know I shall enjoy working alongside them.
As a side issue... I think Linda and I may be getting a little old. We had a great lunch and a drink or two before coming home, before both dozing off in our armchairs for a couple of hours. Would this be the first sign of us both needing the occassional 'afternoon nap'? Its a worry.
We were even too tired to bother going to the Tregony Firework Party that evening.

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