It said the weather was going to be awful today, but it turned out to be not so bad. A bit windy but not the expected rain. We had a late start, nothing unusual there. Jim and I sat chatting in bed for about an hour. It's a good thing to do. I mentioned that I hated the gathering pond of rather smelly water in our back yard in front of the extension. The builders were supposed to have made a soak away but it wasn't anywhere near big enough and therefore didn't. It just sat there. Having planted this little seed, Jim donned his gear (it had started to drizzle) and headed out, mattock in hand. He wasn't really happy about it but felt that it had to be done.
I joined him with a coffee and observed! He dug a channel, which was mighty difficult, through rock and root and soggy soil. Then he unearthed a drainage pipe, the end of which had been bunged up. Whoosh, away it all drained in a rather smelly stream, this in turn ran into our usual soakaway area (laughingly called the pond), under the road and away. Jim's gloves were off by now and he was scooping up handfuls of mud and stones to make the channel deeper. It was a great effort and has at least got rid of the smelly pool. The builders are going to dig a much larger soakaway area, but that won't be done for some time and I couldn't stand that 'pond' any longer.
There is a little copse of willows to soak up some more of the water at the side of the arboretum and they needed pruning. Jim, enthused by his success, decided this was our next job, so I cleared away grass and nettles and the willows received the big spring prune. 'Shall we do the ones on the other side?' said Jim. I thought it was time we ate something so we decided to go and have breakfast. At 6.10pm!!! That must be a record, even for us.
We were having turkey roast for evening meal, so Jim put the turkey in the oven for later. Outside, and we beavered away cutting the row of willows down and giving them their spring haircut. Phew. It all took some time and we then carried the piles of cut willow up to the 'bonfire' area. We had to walk past the other side of the fairy hill. A huge ash tree had fallen down over the first winter and the remaining large trunk was stuck at the bottom of the slope, hovering above the stream. We had tried to move it several times, to no avail. I tentatively gave it a shove to see whether it was light enough to move. Jim joined in and we heaved. Nothing.
I moved a couple of bundles of willow up to the bonfire and in the meantime Jim had wrapped rope around said trunk. Shall we try and pull it out? One loop of rope on each side of the trunk and Jim and I in the loop in the middle, like a couple of shire horses. Heave. Nothing. At one end of the trunk, a piece stuck out so I suggested we just both pull on that end, which might have more leverage. It did move, but Jim couldn't hold it and let go and I fell over into the mud!! We should have had a video running! We had a rest, then another go. I could hold the rope as we pulled it up but couldn't move, so Jim had to give it the final heave and over it went! Hooray! It looks splendid now and makes a marvellous bench in front of the little stream. A new feature.
I gathered up the grass and rubbish we had pulled from around the willows into my wonderful motorised wheelbarrow and whizzed it up to the compost heap. Jim appeared with 2 coffees and biscuits. 'Is this afternoon tea?' I asked. Yes, it was breakfast at 6, afternoon tea at 7.30 and dinner was going to be at 9pm. Seems fair enough!!
We have an old greenhouse at the top of the allotment and I'd mentioned that it was about falling down. No sooner had I mentioned it than Jim sprang into action. He was on a roll. He fetched various tools and started to demolish it! First we need to take the glass out. It's amazing how firmly this piece of glass was stuck into the frame, considering the frame was falling apart. It then started to rain. In earnest. Jim was determined to get this window out, but in the end he had to admit defeat as the rain came down in torrents! But all in all, a most successful day/afternoon and evening.
Here are some photos Jim took of the new enclosed 'Buster Proof' allotment area:
The soft fruit bed. Rhubarb nearest to the camera and strawberries behind. They will be covered by a net.
From the other end, the strawberries are at the far end and there is a gate between the beds. If you enlarge this photo, you can just see my parcel hanging from the tree on the right!
Down the left hand side, this plot is ready for planting. Jim has already planted gladioli, carrots, broad beans, onion sets and 4 different varieties of peas. Oh, you can see the rotting greenhouse at the back on the right hand side!
I still haven't quite finished the far end of the soft fruit plot. It was a path and as such has been well trampled down and is full of stones. There's no rush though.
Our late turkey roast (about 10pm) was quite delightful, followed by Jim's home made apple and rhubarb crumble with cream. We watched England beat West Indies in the last of a series of one day games, which was very satisfying. Well, I went and cleared up the kitchen after a while, but could tell England were winning from the shouts emanating from the snug.
Another short-ish one today.