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a frosty trip to the plot

30 Dec

Often described as a dead-week, the week between Christmas and New Year is actually perhaps the closest many of us get to an extended period of real genuine non-doing. A time to disconnect from work and just be with your nearest and dearest. This of course can come with its own challenges but as the week is nearly over it’s also worth reflecting how precious a week of non-doing is these days.

If my kids read this they would perhaps laugh at the idea of me ever having a non-doing week as there have been chilly picnics at nearby Audley End and several frosty walks through a nearby forest. Yesterday they were promised a lazy day and both declared they would not leave the house, even to venture into the garden.

They kept their word but by today my youngest, a spirited seven year old boy, was asking when that promised trip to the allotment would be. For want of better plan I said how about now and left the hubby in charge of lunch. We walked down to the plot in the fog and enjoyed getting some fresh air whilst aware we were the only people out and about bar a couple of dog walkers. I often make the comparison that having young kids is akin to having a dog, they really do need to get out at least once a day which makes non-doing a challenge to navigate.

Once at the allotment we planted out garlic, dug up some frozen onions and weeded a frosty patch of earth where we then planted out broad beans. No idea if this is the right time to do it, we found the broad bean seeds and went for it. My son enjoyed moving worms out of harms way and breaking a frozen pond in an abandoned plot next door. His hands got soaked and frozen and he shivered all they way home but we both enjoyed a brief bit of purpose amidst the non-doing along with a well-earned flask.


Now I have been out of the house I feel settled enough to enjoy non-doing for the rest of the day! I predict by tomorrow my feet will start itching for action and adventure once more though and I might think of another excuse to escape to the plot.


The best laid plans….

4 Apr

Today was meant to be a day for sorting out the allotment  and making it tot proof for when spring finally arrives. But the best laid plans as they say aft gan a gley. I blame this sudden quoting of Robbie Burns on spending the last week with my favourite Scotsman, my hubby and co allotment conspirator. This is actually meant to be a joint blog but so far he has remained the silent partner in this venture even though he does do a lot of digging, fetching and carrying, I think he prefers not to talk about it!

Today my mum has taken the kids for a fun filled Nana day – much artwork and pampering will lie in store for them with the added bonus (for us and them) of a sleepover. We have 24 hours sans children we whooped this morning and how did we really want to spend this bit of precious freedom? By sorting out the plot. Honestly. That was what we thought would be a great way to spend a day.

The weather conspired against us though. When I saw the snow falling this morning my first thought was reschedule but at 9.30am it was already too late. Oh well said my mum as she whisked the kids off, you could always just have a day off. We both looked at each other aghast, wondering who would crack first.

Ken stuck the kettle on, I started wracking my brain for indoor jobs. Soon all the crappy jobs I had been avoiding by being so in love with the allotment, came flooding into my brain. Where to start? Clean the mould off the bathroom ceiling or repaint the wall where my son eats his dinner and has turned from magnolia to a fetching shade of gravy brown. Oh and don’t forget there’s also the loft insulation to trim. No wonder I wanted to escape to the great outdoors. By lunchtime there were no more indoor jobs to do that did not require a trip to B&Qs.

after dutch hoeing

Bed number one after being Dutch hoe’d

‘Can’t we just nip to the allotment?’ I asked. Ken looked at the snow, now falling quite heavily and sighed. It was bloody freezing but my tenacity was victorious. If our allotment gave out prizes for being optimistic idiots we would have won it hands down today. We lasted an hour, I learnt the beauty and simplicity of using a Dutch Hoe and Ken froze his hands off as he assembled our new potting shelf – an old shelving unit I brought from Argos twenty years ago. Proof if ever you needed it that keeping stuff in your mum’s loft for several decades pays dividends once you become an allotment keeper.

my new potting shelf

My new potting shelf!

Anyway enough of this, it’s too much like hard work. I have now defrosted and I am officially taking what’s left of my child free day off!