17 July 2006
Yes I am back from our weekend of sun, sand, and sea. I was whisked away to the East Coast of Norfolk to sunny, sandy Hopton on Sea where we stayed at Potters Leisure Resort. Just a quick update as I am out this evening.
Although in the 80f’s there was a light sea breeze which made it bearable. Met some great people – who just happened to live near where Pat grew up and went to school, so there was a lot of ‘do you know so and so’ and ‘did you know that’ conversations going on.
The surprise was sprung on me at short notice (which is why they are called surprises I know), so I was a bit apprehensive about going, having lots of things to do, and pounds and pounds of fruit that I had to process which I would not have picked had I known! Peak harvesting time, drought, chickens and so much to do – so I felt a bit under pressure – until I thought, ‘What can be the worst thing to possibly happen? Which was - that the lettuces would bolt, the crops would curl up and die, the chickens would miss free ranging for hours each day and rebel by eating all their eggs - (You can imagine the sort of thing can’t you).
I decided that if any or all of the above happened, then it wasn’t the end of the world, life goes on – and at that point (the day before departure) I looked forward to going.
Of course all the chickens were safe in their long runs, well stocked with more than double the water they would need and enough food to feed a flock for a week! The first thing I did when I got home today, was to go visit the bantams, and to get some empty egg boxes and go up the allotment so visit the others.
Of course they were fine and not clamouring to get out, they had drank only a quarter of the water I had left them, and a fraction of the layers pellets in their new big feeder which releases more food as they eat it, ensuring a continual supply of food.
The egg count I expected was only short by one egg, and none had been eaten or pecked. I let them out and they didn’t seem too bothered about coming out and had to be tempted with a lettuce. They ate that and went back into the run, which is shaded and cool so I gave them another couple of lettuces, changed their water although it didn’t need doing, and will go and visit them tonight when it cools down a bit.
The allotment was looking very sad – well they all are in this heat. Not a breath of wind and 83f . All the squash and courgette plants had wilted leaves which revealed the courgettes that need picking – dozens! If I didn’t know from past experience that in the evening when it cools down a bit, they will perk up, I would have thought that they were lost for sure. The poor peas look to be in a very bad way too. A number of my lettuces have bolted – having not been watered all weekend – but the chickens will do well with those, as they just love them. The mixed salad leaves have faired better though. The runner beans were a bit floppy but the manure trenches that I made over winter were worth all the effort – or else they would be dead for sure.
The foliage on the early potatoes had drooped over and looks like the same pattern as that of the onions ripening in the sunshine.
I didn’t have time to pick and process raspberries and loganberries for a couple of days before I went – and those lovely juicy fruit seem to have shrivelled – the water content in them having almost evaporated by the look of things. Still I will have some Autumn fruiting ones to come – hopefully – and a small crop of blackberries too with a bit of luck.
The tomatoes are holding up well considering the heat and the drought, but if we do not get some rain soon, I can’t imagine how they will survive.
But as I said earlier – it is not the end of the world – and the enforced rest, lovely walks along the cliffs and seashore, running along the headland where the waves were crashing against the sea wall and soaring up into the sky like white frothy fireworks before raining down in torrents onto the anyone walking along at the time, was a challenge that I just had to take – and despite Pat saying that I would get soaked – I am pleased to say that I did not get one single drop of seawater on me – and it was so much fun. It’s great getting older – you can do all those silly things that you never got a chance to do in childhood, and don’t give a jot what people might think.
I could write reams about the lovely time I had – but this primarily is an allotment blog – so I am sticking to just that. Except for..........
a few photos for those of you who live abroad and like to see pictures of the UK.
Just a few seconds behind our holiday bungalow - these trees have been bent by the winter winds over the years - straight off the sea.
Just past the trees to the left - two minutes from our bungalow to the cliff top
This is the walk down when you get to the edge of the cliff
The beach was deserted as far as the eye could see - and it reminded us of Australian and New Zealand beaches we have visited. Such lovely weather.
This is a zoomed in shot to try and catch the waves breaking over the sea wall - we were about half a mile away so it was not clear. I didn't take my camera out the next day when I played 'chicken' with the waves.
Apologies for the quality of the following photos - taken from the passenger seat in the car whilst driving along the lanes home - no places to stop unfortunately so taken through the windscreen - bumpy roads too!
The coast road home - one side the sea and the other the flat lands of farms and fields.
Same coast road - Norfolk is famous for its many windmills - this is just one of them by the roadside.
Almost home - back to rural countryside, with combine harvesters ambling along the lane just around the corner - the 'lead' land rover could have given us a bit more warning of the giant in the middle of the road. No photo - too much of a suprise!