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  • #1682878
    Avatar photoBigG
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    • Total Posts 12825

    What can I say, I think this has been the warmest and most honest thread I’ve read …..well ever!
    It fitted in well when raised many a time in Meydan Thursdays where you will always be welcome. It
    has been a delight Sam and if it has run it’s course then I’ll always be able to sneak back and have
    a read through now and again. So much has happened in it and the positivity was like a beacon shining
    across the sea on a moonlit night. I know how important the sea and the good earth is for you Sam. An absolute pleasure to read and believe it or not I’ve learned a great deal. Thanks so much Sam :good:

    #1682931
    Avatar photosporting sam
    Participant
    • Total Posts 16517

    I’m humbled truly that my words and accounts have reached through to you in so many different ways. It’s not quite poetry, but a bit of prose and I’m sure a true essayist would have a critical field day deconstructing my words. But for me so long as you can express yourself, your thoughts and feelings, no matter how inadequate you’ll get your message across and indeed if there’s a point or a meaning, those reading will understand and eloquence is substituted by deliverance in more ways than one!
    A form of it comes tomorrow ( Friday) with my first day as a volunteer at Helmingham Hall. To be simply asked at all by the Head Gardener was as big an honour as actually attending tomorrow and I’m thrilled to take this next step on an entrancing journey. Today I’m going to the food bank the Saint Philip’s Community Pop Up Shop to give it it’s proper name because it is so much more than a food bank. There is togetherness and company and friendliness amongst the people there. Saint Philip’s is in the Parish of Walton. Walton is a small town within a town in Felixstowe and it has its own identity locally. I’m arriving early as they’ve asked if I’ll cut the grass which surrounds it. As always I see an opportunity, yesterday a neighbour gave me any number of Agapanthus which he’d split for me and left in a massive pile at his gate. My van is full of these georgeous plants and whilst they are “beloved” of snails. The whole of the church hall is surrounded by grass on three sides and bounded by a nursery on the fourth. Around the back more grass and last summer I collected the contents of the wheelie bin both green and blue and used all the cardboard and grass to make a massive no dig bed at my town centre car park plot a mixture of coffee grounds manure cuttings kitchen waste dried leaves broke down amazingly quickly and with a few months I was supplying the pop up shop with loads of runner beans. With this vast expanse of grass it is only a matter of time before I coax the people outside to assist in building a tiny no dig bed out back I’ll get a load of hazel sticks coppiced in the nearby ancient grove and we’ll make canes for both runner beans and sweet peas and we’ll maybe even dig out the old borders at the front to put in the “African lilies “ I mentioned earlier which are steaming away overnight in “Betty Bluebottle”. There is a method to my madness and slowly but surely the allotment is changing it’s postcode and one day in a hugely busy season maybe just maybe I’ll be joined by one of the gardeners I’ve befriended for a flying visit here from the stately home.
    If we can simply grow the agapanthus the rubber beans and some sweet peas I’ll be delighted.
    And what of yesterday? A quick spin around town to three cafés on my “café Ole!” kitchen waste recycling scheme bore plenty of fruit 🍎 ;and veg.) I’ve a good relationship with each kitchen and as you can imagine a burgeoning pile of eggshells coffee grounds cardboard tea bsgs and vegetable and fruit cuttings banana skins potato peels orange, lemon grapes, cabbage is forming to go into compost heaps around town. Each café can give me fifty or more eggshells daily . I’ve a load of containers and lids to wash and compost bins to refill. In time like last year some of this waste will go directly into no dig beds and will be producing foods in weeks. I’m pleased to have changed habits and attitudes to the world around us and something to save the world has to be real and direct and not some pointless charade of playing with taps and buttons or “ bean counting “. If the scheme grows something or stops tons of organic matter going to landfill and can show an end use for it to directly make food and flowers then I’d say it was helping and having a huge impact on the environment.
    A mysterious bottle of Prosecco with a card appeared on our doorstep yesterday. It turned out to be from the Dad and his Son who’d stopped to say hi as I was loading Betty with bits of wood and salvaged plant pots on Sunday and some discarded globe artichoke plants near to our house in Brook lane. I spoke to this father and son and showed them a video from that same morning of me and my dog locating Amber on the beach and I talked to the young master the same way the old men used to talk to me on the banks of the Orwell when I was a small boy. They understood nature and how life’s cycle turned and I pointed to the huge walnut tree that dominates Brook Lane and we talked about how a lad a similar size to him had planted this tree as a tiny sapling specifically for future generations to enjoy. I promised him a tree would be waiting for him the next day on my doorstep. I didn’t think for one moment they’d come back so kindly with a card and a bottle to say “thanks”so that was a lovely suprise.

    Yesterday was the second interview conducted by myself in my continuing art project TWELVE and I literally had moments to complete a taxing task of digging out a very deep rooted spirea shrub from a front garden over two marathon sessions of digging and hacking away at the root with an axe. With the help of my transistor radio playing radio Caroline and an endless stream of coffee the job was finally done in double quick time and 100 lbs plus of remaining root now lies on my allotment waiting to to chopped into hedge bearing sections for a new border there. The interview went ahead soon after with Vera Chierico who talked about her life and her early introduction to the theatre and the world of dance. Her story reaches a critical turning point when aged 13 she began working with a young Helen Shapiro and formed an alliance that was to last down the years and inspired by her she has gone on to celebrate her Jewish heritage through dance. She runs her own dance troupe which travels the globe and She travels regularly to London to teach dance to multi faith groups. It is an absorbing interview and hopefully my own literary portrait of this amazing woman will be posted on the project 12 website over the coming days.
    http://www.the-twelve.co.uk
    Finally it was in the gathering gloom that I really got a result. For the last few years now, I have collected huge quantities of beech leaves from an avenue where 95 per cent of the houses have tall beech hedges. I’ve called at the same house for all of those years and always enjoyed a welcome and an engaging conversation with the elderly house owner a gentleman in his late Eighties. I knocked on the front door as usual but was greet by a young spainish man. I’m the carer for Mr xxxx he explained. Then a lady came out I explained why I had come and said for the first time I’d like to pick the magnificent Camilias I’d always admired as I’d branched into flowers as well veg now. The lady explained she was a daughter of the man and now well advanced in life as well as years, he taken a turn for the worse and required full around the clock care. She said that her father had often mentioned about “the young man who swept away the leaves from under his hedges who turned them into soil”. He be delighted that you were now collecting flowers too “ It was sad really and I’d hoped to see him again and laugh and talk about the weather and his huge Camilia bush with the amazing blooms. “Would he remember me now ?” I asked hopefully. The daughter replied no, he’s changed totally and is very much unresponsive”. “Tell you what, I asked, just grip his hand firmly but gently and tell him Dave the gardener is here who used to gather up his leaves in a huge builders bag. Tell him I said hi and I’m gathering his lovely Camilia’s now to give to people that will love to have a bouquet.”
    The lady went off for a few minutes and I started gathering his camilia’s with the aid of a ladder 🪜 . The Daughter came back out and said, “ when I told him you were here, His eyes lit up, and he gave me a big grin and then went back to sleep.”
    I cannot buy moments of joy like that and I’ll always hold them dear.

    #1684684
    Avatar photosporting sam
    Participant
    • Total Posts 16517

    I’ve been back to my old friends place and built up a relationship with the chap caring for him. A Chech republic Man who has been great to talk to. He’s not a gardener but seems to know plenty about plants. The garden has remained well cared for and whoever comes in to maintain it previously under the elderly Gentleman’s exacting instructions. I thought the front garden was very well kept but the rear is another step and and his camellia’s in the back are exceptionally beautiful. They rival roses in their texture and range and there is a white Camellia with flowers as exoctic and beautiful as the most extravagant parrot 🦜 tulip. I thought I’d reached the summit last autumn with the wonderful Hydrangeas with their range and beauty. This is just another step in the journey that a learning Gardener takes and it is one of sheer discovery and delight.
    I cannot say too much about my old friend, I’m delighted he reacted to my greetings but he’s not eaten for a while and these are the final stages. The Carer looks after him well and the other day I popped in a pack of Guinness for him to say thank you for his kindness towards both the gentleman and myself. He reciprocated and insisted I take one back home.
    The bush out front is about fifteen feet high and like apples the best blooms are tantalisingly “ out of reach”. Of course that only seems to be the case and there are dozens of blooms that I can reach to choose from. I forgot my step ladder on this occasion and “Stan” was quick to offer me the use of one of three step ladders. “Take your pick” he said. There were two sturdy Aluminium ones old but rock solid looking and an even older looking metal one with wooden steps. “Good old British crafted ladder” I enthused and chose the one which look very much like my own ladder, only mine had moulded plastic steps.
    I took the ladder to the bushes and confidently stepped onto the second rung just like it was my own ladder. The woodworms 🪱 had done their job well and my left leg crashed straight through the very weak rung which disintegrated under the force of my walking boot. My first day out of wellies and the just below knee height of them would have prevented me gashing my leg on the next rung. With my right leg a firm anchor and hand gripping the ladder strongly I somehow stayed on my feet. I didn’t realise I was cut until I got home.
    Cuts and bruises are part and parcel of gardening. Thorns and splinters are my pet hate. Touchwood I’ve been very lucky 🍀.
    My first day at the stately home could not have gone better 👍.
    I feel part of the team and worked alongside the head gardener. You’d have to be an idiot not to learn from these exceptionally talented people and the huge grounds bear testimony to their skills. We worked on pruning and tidying up in the walled gardens the same ones where my partners statues had stood as part of the festival of light over Christmas. Remember I’m an allotment gardener back home and this is Allotment heaven globe artichokes and shrubs and plants of all descriptions everywhere. Ancient apple trees 🌲 and fruit trees espaliers of all descriptions and climbers. The range and depth is incredible and that they have taken time to show me what to do leaves me grateful and very humble indeed.
    Im back up there on Friday morning and am grabbing this opportunity with both hands 🙌. On the way home last time I called into the Grundisburgh Dog. A beautiful rural pub which in addition to being the focal point of village life serves Guinness beautifully. The pub used to be on my fish round back in the day. Im friends with the landlord who doubles as the head chef. I told him about Café Ole and I’m contacting him prior to visiting this week to see if he’d be able to save his kitchen scraps in containers for me to take back home. If he can I’ll drop him some Jerusalem artichokes in exchange. If we can make it work then I’ll collect three times a month before rolling café Ole out to local gardeners who can wipe out the carbon footprint print and put the organic matter back into the local ecology.
    What strikes me about the dog 🐕 is that it is the perfect mix between pub and restaurant and the main asset is the friendliness of the staff and the punters. Closer to home the big news horticulturally is that there are signs of spears coming through already on both of my new asparagus beds. That is a wow on my own Richter scale of achievement because I have never ever grow these classy vegetables before and I’d heard such tales of woe from various quarters that I can see why people don’t bother with them as they assume it’s difficult and time consuming. I like many folk don’t want to wait two years or longer for results from veg and established twenty plus years old crowns was the perfect answer. Getting them out of the ground in very wet winter conditions was hugely testing physically other than that making up no dig beds to put them was really rewarding at the main allotment. I’m not going to get overexcited and cut mountains of them as I’m treating them as first year crops and will be very selective about picking them. I am delighted that they have transferred so well.

    #1684687
    Avatar photoTriptych
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    • Total Posts 16448

    Nice to have you back Sam. Be careful with those old ladders🪜. Thank goodness it was only the 2nd rung up that gave way.
    Stay safe and keep up the good work you are doing..Jac :rose:

    Things turn out best for those who make the best of how things turn out...
    #1684688
    Avatar photosporting sam
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    • Total Posts 16517

    It’s good to be back Jac.
    Things are ramping up at the allotment and I’ll be very busy there for the next few weeks putting my own personal stamp on its shape and layout. After a good year here it really now feels like mine and I understand it much better than last year. I’ve some outstanding pruning jobs to do which must occur today. It’s the much needed shake up of changes which will need to be done so the spring can commence in earnest. I’ve fed the dog and he’s ready to go down to the beach right now. Sunrise until it comes back to very early will have to wait today. The biggest thing today is the date and it’s my lovely Daughter’s sixteenth birthday today.
    I’ve tried to bring her up right on a diet of heavy rock and tasteful music mainly the Kinks and AC/DC she was singing 🎵 it’s a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll 🎵 before she could walk and Thunderstruck too.
    She still loves the Kinks but is also a fan of One Direction. She’s a very good drummer and sat on a friends drum kit aged three and just banged out an incredible solo for her age and that was that, rock and roll.
    It was mother in law’s birthday yesterday too and both of my Daughter’s Grannies will be in touch today. Over in Guernsey she’s as tough as the granite that defines the island and celebrated her 82nd birthday with a drive down from the parish hilltop village of Torteval down to the picturesque Portrlet Bay for her daily swim 🏊‍♀️ in the harbour.
    I’ve got a gardening job or two to get in with so its busy busy this week.
    My “café ole!”scheme has taken off and I can hopefully reward my four participating cafés with some produce in due course. The fifth one is coffee grounds and another café turned out not to be treating it’s staff well or fairly, so I had to drop that one .
    I’m going to put some of the organic matter straight into a no dig bed rather than break it down in the compost bins.
    Onwards and upwards Jac and I’m really looking forward to finally meeting you next month at Newmarket racecourse.

    #1688913
    Avatar photosporting sam
    Participant
    • Total Posts 16517

    This is the longest sojourn the thread has had and it has given me a chance to take stock of a few things and work out how things will run this summer.
    The depth of my contribution to charity has to be consummate to the depth of my commitment to domestic life and that need not and indeed must not suffer because of it.
    Betty Bluebottle has taken a battering this last year and much of that has been due to the uses I have put her to.
    She is like a shire workhorse and her payload has been set around movements related to charity and work.
    Finally we did something pleasure related and drove to the Cheltenham festival.
    I went there for a rugby tour with my local club just as the game was about to following its little brother league into professionalism which meant all of the premiership players were going to do tax returns for the first time rather than have brown envelopes ( boot money).It was getting rather hard to hide them in their Mercs and Bmers.
    We had stayed at Cheltenham racecourse on the Saturday after our match and whilst it was lost on many of the tour party after a heavy night on the tiles in Cheltenham town centre, I was up with the lark to walk around the racecourse.
    The most intriguing feature was the sheer size of the backdrop to this most amazing of sporting arenas. The hills more than anything blew me away and I always hoped that one day I’d return. There were several trips from work over the years but I never went on any and the same set of people also made similar pilgrimages to Le Mans. I did not have the constitution of tin innards required for the liver bashing demanded to travel with this particular group. I never smoked either so it wasn’t for me. I can only think of two or three of these lads who’ve remained above ground sadly.
    But I always said I’d do the trip one day and as it happened try as I might not to go, circumstances unexpected ones at that came up at the eleventh hour and go to Cheltenham we indeed did. Betty Bluebottle performed magnificently as she always does and finally a trip to Guernsey on the ferry from Portsmouth three years ago apart, we were using her as she was intended to be used. After a great day’s anthropology at Prestbury park we headed for the hills literally away from Cheltenham landing at the Inn on the Marsh at Moreton.
    I’m eccentric. I didn’t think of myself as such ever. Different but not eccentric, but clearly that is exactly what I am. It has opened up many doors since I started knocking on them over the last year or so and the doors very rarely remain closed for long.
    Café Ole is growing and going well.
    I get help now so it is expanding at a manageable level. I’ve worked out how to deal with the increasing amounts of coffee grounds and kitchen waste that has come my way and the number of compost bins I use around town has increased accordingly as has the number of no dig beds also. The most successful project so far has been the acquisition of asparagus crowns at zero cost from a garden in the town. I’ve made four large rows of asparagus beds in my two plots. Having undertaken the not small task of removing and transferring these huge crowns from submerged beds in December and planting them over a month long period these ancient crowns have begun to throw up spears already and they provided a lunch at home last week. Any produce you eat fresh they you’ve grown yourself gives immense pleasure and this was most satisfying. I’ve never found myself knee deep in mud before. Horse muck yes and on a regular basis. It was a titanic battle to extract the crowns in freezing wet weather and it did not seem possible that anything would come of the crowns which seemed to fight tenaciously against extraction each time. When finally they came out the realisation hit home that their new beds still needed intense preparation. I’ve done as best as I can for them and this new plant is a steep learning curve, but it certainly looks to have paid off and hopefully next years harvest will be even better as the crowns adapt to their new surroundings.
    The art project has had to take a back seat to personal events but it has
    re-emerged for me to tackle on a visit to Guernsey 🇬🇬 for a week and a small punt on the Irish national yesterday signalled a return to the forum betting ranks albeit on a much reduced level these days.
    The demise of Ian Davies presence has been a disappointment and I added a comment on the thread 🧵 in the lounge which may be added to by others as it has been allowed to run after an earlier assertion that it would be deleted was questioned. Censureship makes little sense when people want to discuss the issue. He contributed keenly to this topic in the threads early stages and the balance he added was welcome.
    Me of the mammoth 🦣 posts, little has changed and only the most interested will read on. That suits me fine for this is not merely a thread of titulation, it’s a work in progress.
    Third day of a lovely visit to the blessed isle and indeed Baliwick of Guernsey 🇬🇬 few if any places match it for it’s beauty and eccentricity. If they’d looked a little harder for a setting for the Prisoner they’d have found it here Patrick and all.
    Victor Hugo made it his home and every description of vessel has floundered on the rocks here right up into the nineties. They’ve finally safely charted the waters and channels to the point shipping accidents are now a rarity but complacency and cutbacks means human error will determine when the next mishap will be. Agapanthus not normally in flower was the first bloom I saw on landing on Guernsey 🇬🇬 The first stansted arrival in post covid times. We kept coming but from other ports. I’m on a busman’s holiday pleasure first as always. Some artwork tonight,but spade and fork are needed today and I’m detailed to restore allotments at the rear of my brother in law’s house and I’m looking forward to it rain or shine…..

    #1688915
    Avatar photoBigG
    Participant
    • Total Posts 12825

    I’ve just read through your update and I’m so glad that you are seeeing the
    fruits of your hard graft Sam. It’s a delight reading through your reflections
    on work and life in your community, and the positivity that beams out from all
    you do.

    Whether you are eccentric or different or whatever, then thank God you are because
    it makes you one of the most interesting characters, not just on these blessed forums
    but in life out there in the real world. I’m so glad you got to go to Cheltenham, it
    is, for me anyway, the place of dreams and God willing I’ll get back there one of these
    years.

    I agree with you Sam that it is a blow to these forums that we won’t have the eloquent
    wit of Ian Davies treading the TRF boards. I don’t know the ins and outs of what happened
    but it is a great shame that David couldn’t resolve whatever it was with Chezza. Being the
    torchbearer (David that is) for TRF, he must be aware that it was going to leave a hole
    that will be hard to fill. I will miss him.

    Keep up the good work Sam, very few people have the capacity for life, work and an
    appreciation of the environment that you do.

    All the best to you mate and best wishes to Tracy and Poppy too :good:

    #1688921
    Avatar photosporting sam
    Participant
    • Total Posts 16517

    And there’s a Daisy in there too!🌸.
    Ah Big G,my old mukka. It is good to converse with you pal. I’ve just come indoors to have a cuppa ☕️. I’m about sixty feet from the cliff at Torteval in the allotment section of my partner’s Brother in law’s house.
    I’ve agreed to tidy up his allotment beds.
    I’m in my element here.
    Just on Sunday night we were able to walk outside in the wee small hours of Monday morning to view a clear sky and all the stars on view on this “dark sky “ island.
    yesterday the full force of Island life came to bear as a big gale and a depression swept into here and we were hit by prolonged storms and torrential rain 🌧 from early evening to about 8am today. as swiftly as it blew in, it has ended. we now have temperatures and sunshine touching the teens. It’s windy and overcast but not too much to prevent me enjoying a busman’s holiday. I love gardening it’s part of my life Graham and the challenge of restoring these beds to their former glory is too good to resist.
    It’s hard going but I’ve been able to utilise a trailer and a sit on mini mower tractor and a hard graft task becomes playtime again. I’ve made a fertile Loam bed so that all the top soil pulled up by my ‘BIL’when digging up the clumps of weeds and sods of turf can be transformed back into useful soil in a matter of months. I’ve arranged to meet Tracy and her Mum at lunchtime to go down to Portelet Bay a local beauty spot to swim.
    You’ll have to Google it but what a lovely place it is and I’m blessed to be here. Granny makes monkeys 🙉 of us all and swims here every day she’s well enough to do so. So I’d best crack on so I am ready to go down the valley trail to the amazing Portelet bay. A swim is essentially my dinner break today.
    I’ve found a bicycle to use too!!
    Music 🎶 has always been a part of my make up and hence my record of the week is this version of grease movies your the one that I want by Shula
    Excellent acoustic version and an improvement on the one featured on the “irritating” music thread.
    Simply excellent have a listen 👂

    #1689159
    Avatar photosporting sam
    Participant
    • Total Posts 16517

    Splinters come in many forms some thorns in particular come whole and barb on your skin and are readily removed and if you choose to waltz around gardens in shorts 🩳 as I do, you are never far away from your next incision.
    When it comes to beachcombing rather than gardening I am particularly careful as wood can harbour many hazards particularly treated wood from which a splinters can be highly infectious in terms of all sorts of nasties so gloves for protection is essential. I always tend to drop my guard when gardening because bare hand work often becomes necessary for feeling your way round s job when a barrier although safe can be an impediment. It becomes a case of finding a balance involving risk assessment and commonsense.
    The only ones I fear are the old bits of wood which break off in your skin or in this case your finger which catch you unawares. I’ve got a beauty floating around now and it went into my right hand pointy finger ( the one next to your thumb) at an odd angle and only makes it’s presence felt when the odd bit of unexpected pressure is applied in handling or touching something. This one is going to hang around and annoy me for a while it’s virtually invisible and it’ll dissolve or work it’s way out in its own time. All I can do is wait and let things take their course. On return to the mainland I’ll update my tetanus jab. All gardeners should do this.

    #1689202
    Avatar photoDrone
    Participant
    • Total Posts 5951

    I find the most annoying splinters to be the tiddlers from raspberry canes and cacti: all but invisible but painful at the merest touch. Nice though when a ball of pus envelops them and a gentle squeeze pops them out

    Your reminder about tetanus boosters is well made, though apparently after three – which I’ve had at intervals over around 50 years – there’s no need for any more

    First asparagus spears are pushing through…yum yum

    #1689239
    Avatar photosporting sam
    Participant
    • Total Posts 16517

    Well put Drone! They can’t be seen, but hurt at the slightest touch. I’ve had a charmed life this last year with thorns and splinters, so the luck had to run out.
    I’m also reaping the benefits of asparagus. I’ve always wanted some but to me four or three years always seemed an eternity. So when the offer arised to acquire twenty plus year old crowns, for no cost but my physical efforts to extricate them from their beds, I jumped as high as I could. It took from December to January to dig them up and a couple of weeks to prepare beds for them in very very wet cold weather.
    My wonder house muck (about half as old as the crowns) was put to good use in the beds and a usual three year wait has taken barely three months to yield the first spears. I won’t be harvesting heavily this year but it does look like there will be a decent yield this first year.

    #1689333
    Avatar photosporting sam
    Participant
    • Total Posts 16517

    YOUR THE ONE THAT I WANT

    The way this beautiful song is constructed lends itself to those who find inspiration in breaking it down.
    It was a massive hit from the movie Grease.

    I got chills, they’re multiplying
    And I’m losing control
    ‘Cause the power you’re supplying
    It’s electrifying (electrifying)
    You better shape up
    ‘Cause I need a man
    And my heart is set on you
    You better shape up
    You better understand
    To my heart I must be true
    Nothin’ left, nothin’ left for me to do
    I’ve highlighted an acoustic version by New Zealander Shulam further up this page. And it is this version not the original that has captured my interest. It opens a new door on an old timeless classic. Sometimes, looking at things slightly differently can bring more out of a song and the lyrics.
    The performance of Newton John and Travolta was beautifully animated and stands the test of time of course. It’s hard to believe Olivia has left the building.
    I’m up at five am on my first day back from the Channel Islands most folk would be pushing up the zzzzs asleep 😴 and sensibly so. But I’d got plenty of rest on the journey home both onboard the flight and on two drives back. Firstly my brother collected us from the mud stay area and drove us back to his pretty Essex village and we sat in the sunshine and ate lamb and sweet potatoes 🍠. The land at the back of his house bordered onto a field giving a fabulous view across uninterrupted woodland and fields.
    Soon enough two mistle thrushes arrived swiftly followed by the first swallow of the year. No doubt plenty have already been spotted on the mainland by now but this was my first. Instead of saying to her “ what kept you?” She’d be fully entitled to ask me the same question. I’d have a valid excuse of course. “I’ve been away on my Easter break off the island Mrs Swallow!”.

    You’re the one that I want (you are the one I want)
    Ooh, ooh, ooh, honey
    The one that I want (you are the one I want)
    Ooh, ooh, ooh, honey
    The one that I want (you are the one I want)
    Ooh, ooh, ooh
    The one I need (the one I need)
    Oh, yes, indeed (yes, indeed)

    Soon after we spotted a red kite in the distance and watched him soar into the sky he was getting further away but suddenly he changed direction and headed our way. “He’s coming our way! sit down and keep perfectly still and we’ll get a show!” I cried excitedly. Sure enough he swoop low and displayed right over our heads white undercarriage and brown and yellow plumage. He’d be terrifying to any prey there are plenty of these birds who’ve made their way steadily down the A1 over the years before fanning out at the midlands and now they’ve conquered East Anglia.
    If you’re filled with affection
    You’re too shy to convey
    Meditate in my direction
    Feel your way
    I better shape up
    ‘Cause you need a man
    I need a man
    Who can keep me satisfied
    I better shape up
    If I’m gonna prove
    You better prove
    That my faith is justified
    Are you sure?
    Yes, I’m sure down deep inside
    You’re the one that I want (you are the one I want)
    Ooh, ooh, ooh, honey
    The one that I want (you are the one I want)
    Ooh, ooh, ooh, honey
    The one that I want (you are the one I want)
    Ooh, ooh, ooh
    The one I need (the one I need)
    Oh, yes, indeed (yes, indeed)
    You’re the one that I want (you are the one I want)
    Ooh, ooh, ooh, honey
    The one that I want (you are the one I want)
    Ooh, ooh, ooh, honey
    The one that I want (you are the one I want)
    Ooh ooh, ooh
    The one I need (the one I need)
    Oh, yes, indeed (yes, indeed) ooh, ooh
    You’re the one that I want (you are the one I want)
    Ooh, ooh, ooh, honey
    The one that I want (you are the one I want)
    Ooh, ooh, ooh, honey
    The one that I want (you are the one I want)
    Getting back to home after a week away every thing feels so different it always does when the weather has been different here too. In just a week everything has changed and moved on. Summer is so close now that you can feel it touch it and smell it. But above all you can see it.
    Cafe Ole has meant that through my gardening I can always find flowers to pick and I use them to say thank you to the cafés on my round for not putting their organic waste into the dustbin and ultimately landfill. I can recycle it responsibly enough and the end use is directly food and more flowers. This very simple process means quietly and almost secretly the economy and the ecology is improved. The land I tend gets better soil the plants get better and they attract pollinators and the pollinators attract predators as do the predators there are more butterflies and direct wildlife of all manner are attracted right up to mammels. The actual biodiversity of the area that I’m working in is changed and that’s the microclimate and the local environment all rolled into one. I’ll never fully realise it and it’s only a small part of a patchwork quilt I’m weaving. this winter it has been a steady supply of the beautiful Camilia’s that adorn so many places quietly and now as they fall back and the weather warms it is the brilliantly diverse varieties of so many spring blossoms and early and unseasonally early flowers. In Guernsey 🇬🇬 I saw a beautiful deep blue agapanthus in full bloom on arrival at the airport and took its picture as I left yesterday. Yesterday being departure day and the first were the only days I didnt swim and with a ten o’clock flight there was little time. But six days on the trot and a good fifteen hours restoring an allotment over three days meant I’d kept my hand in. That annoying splinter is still standing up and the slightest touch sees it prick me and like the smallest slither it’s the most painful I gashed my leg on the rotted rung of a wooden step ladder last month and the sharp immediate pain of that was so quick it didn’t match the annoyance of this tiny tiny insurgent which as Drone says will hang around until it gets encircled and forced out by natural means. The clocks change has thrown this time of the day back into a dark shroud and the sun up is once again accessible to the sleepy heads among us for another few weeks.
    Of all the seasonal changes viewing my allotment after just a week away, is the most dramatic of all there is a handful of Asparagus to gather and lots of sticks of Rhubarb to collect. Just time to contemplate a harvest today before heading to a local church hall for a full rehearsal for the mayor’s charity fashion show coming up on Thursday. I wasn’t expecting to be able to attend due to the huge journey but there was time enough and I certainly need to learn all the routines. It’s great fun and s total change from the quiet slow methodical work I’m used to. It’s a social activity too and it’s very differently working in such a group of different people a wide age range and a ton of diversity all mixed into one. Even the mayor gets to strut his stuff here!! Hopefully one day soon he’ll strut his stuff and wander over to my allotments for a gander and a cuppa too.
    I’m aching all over and it’s been a long week of activity and the catwalk and cliff walks and swimming and gardening have sent my joints into lots of different directions and my best swim is going to be this morning on the rising tide. But first things first and there are plenty of unattended, unloved allotments and gardens calling out my name.
    And they are the ones that I want, yes indeed.

    Ooh, ooh, ooh
    The one I need (the one I need)
    Oh, yes, indeed (yes, indeed)
    You’re the one that I want (you are the one I want)
    Ooh, ooh, ooh, honey
    The one that I want

    #1689357
    Avatar photovikingflagship
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2162

    Sporting Sam did you do tomato’s and strawberries last year. We often do them but last year they where a let down, don’t know if it was because of all hot weather then all downpours.
    But we ended up with horrid soft tomato’s. And the strawberries ended up all deformed like leaves growing from seed of developing fruits before they had changed red. Then on some half fruit ea red half pure white

    Vf x

    #1689420
    Avatar photosporting sam
    Participant
    • Total Posts 16517

    Hi Viking.
    I grew some lovely strawberries 🍓 a few years back ( about ten I guess on my previous plot) and I don’t think I’d ever top those as they were hand me downs from the previous custodian and although I took runners and tried to preserve the best crowns they have a limited lifespan these days. The ones from my childhood (my Mum’s )lasted forever or they seemed to. I’m having a go again at strawberries and raspberries now that I’m settled on this plot. My good friend and old neighbour Helen gave me a big clump of strawberry plants in the Autumn and apart from replanting a couple of runners from it I’ve left the clump in situ and will divide or pin whatever develops this summer.
    We have a huge pyo farm locally which has closed without rhyme or reason at the turn of the year throwing all the staff out of work at the doff of a cap. There has been much speculation over the future of the site most conclude there is one likely reason why a successful business would stop in its tracks and close lock stock and both barrels without recourse to the impending season, the needs of the staff, the community or the housing needs of non aspirational folk who don’t wish to become richer merely needing to be able to buy or rent affordable housing.
    Who can afford to pass up the income from a planned for and impending full pick your own season? Even leased out as a going concern would have reaped thousands for both incumbent and leaser and would have kept everyone in a job. I couldn’t tell you the turnover but we are looking at a six figure amount passed over. The stock all remains in situ and unsold while many thousands of strawberry plants lie in their raised trays unwatered save for the rain and rotting. In the ground they’d have survived like the raspberry canes pruned in readiness in their pots for the summer of 24 have done. Same story for the gooseberries in the ground and flourishing, but uncared for. Someone doesn’t give a flying .uck about people who’ve picked here for many years or the staff and their needs and even less about the plants whose basic care has also been abandoned.
    Given half a chance the raspberries could be cared for and bear lots of fruit for folk and the two food banks I’m involved with could be richly aided with even half an ounce of forethought and consideration from whoever stands to profit richly from this massive mismanagement…

    #1690915
    Avatar photosporting sam
    Participant
    • Total Posts 16517

    It seems the company running the farm went stony broke and subsequently closed lock stock and two smoking barrels overnight. A full fruit growing season would have pulled them out of the fire but to get into this kind of position is rather extraordinary, that means months before a full and lucrative season is due to begin which would have covered most costs that have folded with a winning line in sight what is more extraordinary is that no one has attempted to take the place on as a going growing concern tens of thousands of strawberry 🍓 plants allowed to rot and dry out in their trays without any kind of care. Thousands of raspberry blackcurrant redcurrant and gooseberry plants left in situ in pots ( the raspberries the rest in the ground and all faring better obviously than the “stranded strawbs” sounds like a seventies punk outfit but joking aside with plenty of people going short of nourishment these days due to the cost of living, here lies a ready made solution right on the doorstep of a semi rural community in one of the nations most prolific growing regions. It’s tantamount to a sin that no one has been allowed to run this farm as a going concern even for charity. Overseen by someone like jimmy’s farm one of the Christian groups who are running food banks in the area could easily run 🏃‍♀️ this place and reopen it to the public sell the stock reemploy the staff whilst making a small profit. No need to employ any fruit pickers this is a PYO business gone to the wall. Most of the land in this area is owned by Trinity College Cambridge possibly courtesy of favour of king Henry the eighth. Funny that maybe there may be a distant distant relative of someone deported to Australia 🇦🇺 who actually holds rightful ownership and deportation for self same reasons took place…, arise Lord Rodney Earl of Trimley and save your Land from the powerful and wealthy “landowners”, owners whose only concern seems to be the concreting over of this part of the Deben Peninsula with the odd bird and nature reserve dotted on each pathetic edge of land bulldozered.
    Fact is most of this area was already one of outstanding natural beauty and I often drove over mile after mile of quayside watching oystercatchers wandering around pecking at the intricate concrete million bricked patio wondering where their feeding grounds had disappeared to. Animals have their built in navigating tools and just like the swallows returning to the same place year after year to find houses in their place after generation upon generations have nested for hundreds of years and in the case of estuary birds thousands of years cannot be fixed by reserves no matter how big they are. Numbers in hundreds of thousands die and are reduced by lack of habitat and food unfound after long journeys from different climes. It is not rocket science the western world is no different from the rest of the world 🌎 and even though East Anglia clearly is a massive wildlife haven and home to the RSPB pressure on habitat hss exactly the same result as anywhere else on a species no matter how great in number.
    What I could do with even a dozen of each of these fruit plants instead I have watch them yield their fruit and rot untended except by birds and aforementioned wildlife.
    The law states any unauthorised intervention no matter how benevolent is theft and trespass.
    If there exists a Baliff or holding liquidator I cannnot find them.

    #1691663
    Avatar photosporting sam
    Participant
    • Total Posts 16517

    Water falls and flows under the bridge and the only important thing is not to burn them. Because water is such a substance it’ll never be qualmed or hindered or halted in its inexorable process. Deep maybe so, and maybe necessarily so too. The last few weeks has simply reaffirmed a few base principles to me and also a few Suffolk staples. The prime of which is “ never be shocked or suprised by anything. Otherwise you always be shocked and suprised by everything!!!

    #1691664
    Avatar photosporting sam
    Participant
    • Total Posts 16517

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