Parental Visitation

The weekend was scheduled for the installation of the guttering and water butt, a task I’d handed over to Lynn but not before I had passed on the benefit of my huge and heroically unsuccessful experiences. I’ve been spouting tales of woe for the last week, predicting DIY disasters of monumental proportions and just to add to the pressure I thought I’d invite my parents down to witness the whole event.

Of course my parents are renowned troopers in the allotment world so I might also have hoped to benefit a little from their digging prowess and work ethic as well.

Kinky Boots

This shot nicely captures Lynn’s fear as she spots the kinky boots I bought my mum a couple of Christmases ago, I like to think she’s wondering desperately how she can backtrack and remove wellington boots from the xmas wishlist she left me with.

Too late though I’m afraid.

I’ve been revisiting an old book “Companion Planting” by Gertrud Franck and it triggered a little obsession with the mass planting of spinach seeds. I sourced a bulk supplier, Seeds By Size, awaited delivery of my 25,000 spinach seeds and then waited for the general mocking and guffawing from the children to die down, before sitting down myself and wondering if I’d gone ever so slightly nuts.

I am reasonably content that the mocking will die down when they find plate-fulls of slimey green stuff turning up day after to day but between then and now there is a lot of planting to do.

Spinach Sowing

Luckily my Dad was quite prepared to get stuck in there and start me off with the first row.

I think the general idea with the spinach planting is to cut and leave in-situ as a mulch or green manure but I’ll worry about the specifics later.

water butt

Heading back to the water butt, I’m afraid there is very little left to say.

It was disappointingly uneventful.

The guttering was erected in moments, Lynn and my mum sorted the trajectory without recourse to swearing and the whole thing was dressed up like a work of art before I had chance to get my hands dirty.

Sync Dig

My hands may have remained relatively clean but I didn’t let my folks get away with anything easy.

All in all they transplanted two fruit trees, dug the grotty front patch, planted a rhubarb crown, transplanted a row of spring cabbage, commenced the sowing of the 25,000 and demonstrated a bit of synchronised digging.

I did give them a cup of tea though.

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A Stormy Kind of Calm

A post storm reccy revealed that the wind had completely denuded the shed of its patchy roofing felt. With only 15 mins allocated for the plot visit there was never going to be time enough for a full repair job.

Shed Roof Repair

A shed related edginess cast it’s shadow over our corner of the site as a slight “tension” emerged between the lazy starter-leaver (me) and the task focused completer-finisher (Lynn). I was of the view that without a hammer, a ladder, the time, the inclination or the right clothes, we should put the soon to be rotten shed roof to the back of our minds and continue with Plan A, returning to the shed problem next week.

Lynn isn’t built out of the same “sit down and ponder over a cup of tea” mould as me and it was clear that we were going to have to get this job done pronto or suffer the consequences.

Plans were hastily rearranged and after a quick retreat for tools (and a flask of tea) we were back and ready for action.

I tucked myself well away from the stressy end of the plot and dealt with the rubbish pile while Lynn got up close and personal with the shed.

The rubbish pile was the main reason for our planned quick visit, most of it had already gone – thanks to the committee ladies who had been helping us to dispose of all the crud. All that remained was for me to bag up the few remaining bits of polythene and carpet and evict a few squatters. Seven mice and a toad ran clear of the carpet (at least the mice ran, the toad just looked aghast and covered up his private parts).

We’ll have to add “Build Wildlife Haven” to our construction to do list now.

We left the plot with a new air of satisfied calm – the shed roof was repaired before the rains returned and the shed interior began to take shape as the “Room of One’s Own Mug” returns to it’s rightful centre stage spot in the prized construction.


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Shed to Sedan Chair Makeover

Lynn’s words rang clear in my ears as she dropped me and her Dad off at the plot to get a head start with the shed: “Don’t let him turn it into a ridiculous Sedan Chair!”

When we first signed up for the plot, the good ladies of the committee informed us that we wouldn’t be able to install a shed until we had proved ourselves for a full year. That and the absence of running water almost amounted to a deal breaker but I was keen to start the plot transfer before the growing season kicked in and hoped we might be able to broker a shed deal in the New Year.

Last week we were rather overjoyed when a steady stream of committee members paid a visit and then offered us first dibs on an abandoned shed. It proved to be a rather smashing shed, probably a 7′ x 5′, half painted and yet completely draft proofed with expanding foam.

Roll on this weekend and the perfectly planned visit from Reg, shed builder extraordinaire, aka Lynn’s Dad.

Sedan Chair

I’ve done shed transplanting before and found it to be extremely stressful, so to be fair, if Reg were to come up with a suggestion that even hinted at making life easier, regardless of the comedy factor, I was going to jump at it.

And so it was when Lynn arrived back. Reg had constructed a sedan chair par excellence. Having unscrewed the floor all we had to do was enter the shed, close the doors, take the strain and walk it straight off it’s foundations along the road and onto our plot.

Weekend 4

There were a good few people on the site that Friday morning but I have to give them credit, not one single digger looked up to gaze at the apparition of a walking shed. Maybe these things are commonplace in Norbury.

It was a heavy job and my forearms are still screaming but it was the most satisfactory construction project I’ve been involved with to date. In 3 hours only we had shifted the shed, mounted it on a level surface of bricks and pavers and completed the painting job.

Herb Path

Three cheers for Reg who came up with the bright idea and managed to sell it to a pair of doubting Thomases who ended up being extremely grateful for a job well done.

There was enough time left over for the more usual allotment chores such as digging, paving, planting and muck spreading. I’ve just set out a few herb plants between these paving slabs to provide an aromatic division between the beds and Lynn has prepared the holes ready for the fruit trees that we can shift across next week.

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