Tuesday, August 08, 2006

This has got absolutely nothing to do with the allotment, but I am typing it to let you know the reason why allotment news might be a bit thin on the ground at the moment.

Well you know that I have had a busy past week with the family – and it was wonderful, but the allotment was neglected a bit – due to the rain mainly!

Time was spent with the chickens and harvesting crops, but that will all be changing once I get more urgent things done here.

We spent yesterday working our socks off. The hedge cutter came, and where he cut, we cleared up all the debris – for eight hours.

One of the hedges had a row of ornamental cherry trees with different shrubs in between. They were planted by the previous owners – so to were all the conifer trees that have formed a big hedge around the other boundaries.

We had it cut three years ago, and it needed doing last year but we were let down by two gardeners. I tried trimming the conifer hedge myself last year, but just could not manage more than 30 feet.

Gardeners that can trim long runs of hedges seem to be in short supply – but now I have found a ‘proper’ man that can do things other than mow the lawn – which I can do myself!

We got the biggest trailer type skip you could imagine, and neighbours came of their houses ‘to see what on earth was going on’ so we learnt later. It is not often you see a huge tractor and even bigger trailer trundling along our very peaceful lane!

8am yesterday our hedge-cutter arrived on time – so my allotment visit was very early indeed, in fact the girls had only had time to lay one egg – when I looked through the egg hatch door, Adelaide indignantly got off the nest having just produced a wonderfully large one.

It was really wonderful to see a man at work who knows what he is doing. He started on the front mixed hedge and didn’t just go through it with a power saw leaving jagged trunks and branches and damaged leaves. He worked just with hand tools - a small pruning saw and parrot jaws. When he had finished, it almost looked a work of art! The tall cherry trees and jumble of different shrubs, now look like a really neat and healthy hedge, just above waist height. It looks as though it has been a thick living hedge all the time. No big holes, or sharp edges, I can even cut some foliage for flower arranging, we are thrilled to bits.

He has even managed to make a shaggy conifer hedge a work of art. It has never looked so neat before. I am not a ‘conifer’ person, and cringed when I first saw the hedge over 10 feet tall. I wanted to have the conifer hedges out, but apart from the expense, the birds loved it. So we had it cut down to six foot at the time, and it has had several haircuts since then.

It has now been cut into long flat neat ‘boxes’ I never knew that leylandii could be made to look so good. We also had a small conifer on its own where the others had died and he turned that into a nice neat obelisk.

I not longer feel ‘hedged’ into a green box. Now that it is short again I can see more skies and trees beyond.

But boy did it generate a lot of heavy trunks and branches for us to put in the trailer.

We had to throw all the stuff above head height into it, and I had to climb up a step ladder and climb in and jump up and down on it to flatten it down periodically.

I am getting a bit old to go jumping up and down on felled trees and branches at a great height – but Pat wasn’t keen on the idea – and there was only me left!

We did some pruning ourselves whilst we got the chance of the skip – another legacy of the previous owner, a vicious Pyracanthus with thorns that would take an eye out! It was obviously used as a deterrent as it was grown along an outside fence! Now it is tamed and will be a shorter shrub.

Now there is just the job of fixing that fence along the bottom of the garden. Having got tired of waiting for the main man to sort it (with a neighbour allegedly) I took things into my own hands and got a man in. They hedge cutter just happens to be able to fix fences.

The only thing holding it up, are my neighbour’s trees and his shed. The fence panels are 12 feet wide, and the wild ivy that has been growing on it (behind our conifer hedge), was so heavy that the fencing gave up under the weight. There used to be a row of trees the other side of the fence in the bottom garden, and these were heavily covered in ivy, and over the years most of them have died and been felled – which is such a shame. If we put up the same fence the weight of the ivy will pull it down again before long.

So over the next few days the two of us will be dismantling the fencing in readiness for next Monday, when the hedge cutter will become a fence erector – with our help as labourers. We also have permission from our neighbour a the bottom to poison the ivy.

Which brings me right up to date.

Today I have wasted so much time it has really been annoying, as I could have spent it doing much more interesting things – like up the allotment!

Up and out early to see to all the chooks, then off to get some fence panels ordered. Now if I lived in a town that would be a quick task with a visit to a B&Q or similar store, but it is not that simple in these parts.

A visit to a ‘local’ building suppliers was not a success – just fence posts and screws – so I had to go further a field to a wood yard. I of course phoned up first, only to get an answer machine, and having left a message and waited for a return call I decided to pay them a visit.

Around here during the war, all road signs were taken down – and it is a ‘running joke’ that a lot of them were never put back! When you ask for directions, you are told, ‘turn right past (a particular church in a village), follow the road and it will lead you straight there – opposite the pub is the wood yard.
In reality after the right turn past the church, the tiny winding lanes lead to T junctions and those that did have signs, never mentioned the place you want! If you head for a church (which is often the best way in the country as most villages have churches), it is a good bet, but often those are no longer in the centre of the villages – the villages moved when there was the plague in bygone days! So I had a wonderful, but frustrating, mystery tour around the middle of nowhere. With no one to ask, no shops, single file lanes often so little used there was grass growing along the middle – but not one to give up easily, I found it.

The chap wasn’t there though, but I found someone who knew where to find him. (It is like that in the middle of nowhere). He didn’t have any fence panels but will make them for me in a couple of days. Yippee.

I just had to find my way home. I did find a sign with the name of my village on it – and took that turning, another teeny weeny lane, along which I held my breath on each bend – but judging by the grass nothing had ventured along it all summer!

I finally came to a T junction that listed two other places but not mine! Fortunately there was a chap in the middle of nowhere using his mobile phone near the junction, and when he came off the phone he pointed me in the right direction!

I was too worn out after all the hard labour yesterday, to do any really heavy work, so I gave the inside of my car a much needed spring clean and vacuum cleaned it.

Next I decided to get the car washed. OK so it is not very eco friendly, driving to a town, but I thought that I could buy a tin of woodstain whilst I was there, drive along the main road to the garage to get my car washed, then on the way back drive to the farm suppliers to get a sack of chicken food. Job done!

The shop did not have any of the woodstain colour that I wanted. Not the end of the world, a five mile drive to the garage on the way home, filled up with petrol, paid for car wash, drove in – and hey presto a step ladder and a portable jet wash were inside. A chap unloading things said that it was out of action – so back inside the garage for a refund – only to hear all their troubles about a 5 and a half hour power cut! And an apology of course.

Never mind, only a couple of miles to before the turning for the farm supplier. Oh oh, road works up ahead – no right turn into the road I need so only another four miles detour.

I mentioned the road closure where I by the chicken food – and they told me that they had only shut the road this morning – but it is a permanent closure!

A trip up the allotment to collect a couple more eggs and to give them their treat of apple and pear cores, and I packed up all the onions – the whole barrow full!

So that was my day – how was yours!

It did end on a high – my new camera arrived – just got to wait overnight until the batteries charge up – and then more photos!


I wish that I had read my horoscope before I set out 'trying to accomplish things'

This is what it said..................
You may be feeling like you are not able to get much done today, dear Sagittarius, but don't sweat it. Whatever you do, don't pressure yourself into thinking you have a certain agenda that must get accomplished before sundown. Your heart and mind are in the same place, but you may not be exactly sure in which direction you should send this energy. Don't feel like you need to decide right now. You won't deflate by tomorrow.

It was wrong on two counts!


  1. will be looking for lots of photos.

  2. my day is nowhere near as busy as yours, although you were frustrated with all your winding lanes and having to reach a certain place it sounds lovely, the countryside must be beautiful.
    glad you have found somebody reliable to do the big hedge work, good luck with all your fencing.

  3. Good news Lottie!
    I also think it is a good idea to write at the beginning of your blog what you are writing about. ie nothing to do with the allotment! I think I should do this incase people think nothing is happening!

    Whatacmera did you get?
    Can't wait to see the photos!


  4. I thought it was a very interesting read!I can't wait to get lost in winding lanes. lol


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