Cuppa Char Anyone?

Room of Ones Own

I woke this morning with plans of allotment pottering on a slightly more sophisticated level than I managed yesterday. I still wasn’t feeling on top form so my plans centred mostly around my new chair and dreams of a hot steaming mug of tea.

My mug of choice was A Room of One’s Own – Virginia Woolf, so apt for the shed I think, and my stirrer is a little family heirloom from my Gran.

However, these were just dreams. I actually woke to an email from a freecyclist offering me a gift of a 9ft extendable ladder. Now as I’m in need of a ladder to apply some roofing felt to the shed I was very happy to take him up on his offer, but herein started a 2.5 hour challenge to claim the goodies.

The ladders lay 6 miles to the west of me, an easy enough cycle but it was quite an ordeal to lug them back. My trusty revolution cargo trailer proved its worth again though and really took the weight off me. Most of the route was along the thankfully straight dual carriageway – it is understandably tricky to steer a rigid 9ft bike around tight bends.


I was knackered by the time I arrived on the plot, so stopped for the first in a long line of cuppas. After this essential revival, I started on the roofing task.

Applying roofing felt is quite tricky, I made a fair old mess of it all and am choosing not to illustrate the point as its too embarrassing. I even had a barracking from someone waiting on the train platform opposite, who informed me I had put it on upside down. He’s probably right. I daubed the edges with bitumen paint so it should do the trick anyway.

Talking of bitumen, I met my closest plot neighbour today, seems we keep missing each other. Anyway she was just passing by with her kids to pick up something from her shed and popped over to introduce herself. We shook hands and I’m afraid she left covered in the black tar that had somehow spread itself across my palm. I know how to win friends and influence people!

Bird Box

Just before the day ended I started on another task. I have a stack of wood offcuts lying around that either littered the plot when I took it on, or came with the freebie shed. I’ve had my eye on one of the planks for a bird box.

Rather like the roofing task, I rather botched this one as well, cutting the base too short. Still, I was able to wing it by substituting the roof. I then fashioned a new roof with some extra thin ply, covered it in an offcut of roofing felt and bashed nails in liberally.

I was at the bashing stage, feeling rather hopeless about the future of the box when a little Robin came and settled on the doorstep of my shed and watched my progress for a while.

I hope he comes and lives there.


I’ve just found what appears to be the definitive guide to designing bird boxes for specific species and it informs me that Robins like open fronted boxes, not tiny squeeze threw hole boxes. Maybe I’ll make another one just for my digging pal. It also looks like I might need to enlarge the hole a touch, at the moment it is 22mm but it seems that even tits like a minimum of 25mm.

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Carriage Awaits

After last weeks struggle with the compost I decided it was time to invest in a high tech conveyor – a wheeled contraption is required for lugging the heavy stuff.

Revolution Trailer

This particular model is the Revolution Cargo trailer by Edinburgh Cycles. It normally goes for £125 but I managed to source one on ebay and save myself a fair sum. It is pretty impressive, very manoeuvrable and can carry 50 kg, which is a lot of compost. Now I have to go in search of things to carry, perhaps I should cancel the veg box and set up my own scheme delivering fresh produce from the back of the bike.

Pea Planter

Yesterday the trailer showed its worth by carrying two whole seed packets to the plot. My freebie pea and bean seeds had been delivered so I thought I’d better get them in before the weather got much colder. So thats another double row of Aquadulce and a row of Feltham First. It also means the whole of one side of the plot is now completed, where am I going to put all my plants next year? I think I may need another plot already, I can imagine the remaining side will be filled by squash plants as I have in the region of 7 varieties of seeds and I haven’t even started on the spuds and carrots and……

Shakti (pictured sowing peas in her posh gardening clobber) has offered me her garden shed for use on the plot. How exciting is that? The next few weeks are going to be taken up with dismantling crises, as we try and take it apart, balance it on the bike trailer and deliver it the allotment ready for reconstruction. The whole family have been called in to help with the construction part so it will make for some Heath Robinson style photos as I don’t think any of us are that talented in the DIY department.

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