From My Allotment Diary (Friday, Aug. 16th, 2013)

August 16, 2013 by BigGee   Comments (0)

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My head's buzzing this week! In fact I'm so disorientated that all day yesterday I thought  it was Saturday, when in fact it was Thursday!

It's all down to going from being 'home alone' for a week, whilst Josie was away in Birkenhead, with peace & quiet, time to do things at my rate and in the order I choose -  to suddenly going to the other extreme where I feel like Burt from that ancient old TV soap opera spoof called "Soap"!

Everything is in turmoil and permanent flux around me. First Josie came back on a Tuesday,  she arrived at 6pm at 6.30pm our No. 3 son's partner arrived with Cai, our grandson who was staying with us again till yesterday (that's Thursday NOT Saturday). On Wednesday our friend Ying from Thailand who lives in London turned up with her son Kriss who's over from South Carolina where he's in a military academy with Southern Rednecks! Not because he wants to be a soldier (or a Redneck) but because his mother thought he could do with the experience and needed to lose weight!. He's a fantastic bright lad of 18 who's just got a fistful of 'A"s in his maths & science "A" level exams - he hopes to come back to go to university over here, possibly at Swansea, he's reached the rank of lieutenant in the academy, but I digress. Anyway, he and his mother turned up on Wednesday, closely followed by our No.4 son who was Kriss' best friend when they went to Pennant primary & Aberaeron secondary schools together. So he's staying as well. In the mean time Ying who has a 7 year old daughter who's been abducted by her estranged husband & taken to Beirut - as her father is Lebanese is in a fix and wants help to take her case to the European Court of Civil Rights. Right, are you with me so far? Good - let me take a breath.

Yesterday another friend of Josie's who lives in the Irish Republic got in touch to say that she's flown over from Eire to Liverpool where her parents live, because her mother had a 'funny turn' as she quaintly puts it. She's now travelling down from Liverpool to Aberaeron to stay with us for a few days before she goes down to Fishguard to catch a ferry back to Ireland. Getting her to make sense of the list of bus times, numbers & connections from Josie (who has them at her fingertips since she got her bus pass) is in itself a task and a half - Jan's now decided to come by train via Shrewsbury, probably a shrewd move under the circumstances!

In the meantime my mother phones up last night to ask me to take her to hospital next Tuesday (a day I was supposed to go 60 miles in the opposite direction to Prince Phillip hospital in Llanelli for an appointment of my own, that's now been cancelled so that we can take my mam to Aberystwyth hospital). On top of that grandson Cai is coming back again in a week to stay with us while his mam & dad go off to Turkey for a holiday. I feel as if my brain's in a pickle jar. ALL I ever wanted was a quiet life and my allotment plot. Are you confused? You will be after you finish reading this blog.

At the moment our house could quite easily be mistaken  for the reception lounge of an United Nations conference hotel! In the meantime I'm desperately trying to find holes in this turmoil to disappear down to my lottie to do some overdue work, then, on top of ALL that, guess what? It rained yesterday afternoon! Would you believe it!

Anyway, down to more sane moments in my life, here are a few photos of the lottie up until a few days ago (before the chaos bomb exploded around my ears).

I've picked my first apricot. It's a Flavorcot and despite the cynics (who are ALL wrong) you CAN successfully grow apricots in Wales - here's the proof:

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You would not believe the taste!

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This fruit HAS to be picked and eaten fresh to get an idea of how wondrously sweet and exquisite the taste is. If you think the supermarket apricots are nice, you'd wet yourself if you tasted this!

The apples are also quietly ripening. This one's called 'Scrumptious'

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As for the rest of the produce, it's suddenly exploded in growth. But it's been an odd season. Very slow to start with (after the horribly long & cold spring) and then we had all the heat & dryness come upon us. Everything looks good, however it seems to be 'going over' very quickly. Young fruit & veg seem to be maturing very quickly, runner beans especially. Young short pods seem to have the texture and taste of much older & more mature produce. Things like lettuce seem to be running to seed far quicker - everything seems in a hurry to get it over with! Perhaps they know something we don't!

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The green 'debris net' mini net tunnels are home to the giant savoys & other brassicas that I showed a picture of in my previous blog.

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Even the sunflowers have decided to "grow up" early. They've flowered at just over 5 feet instead of the usual 10. They should be the same height as the runner beans.

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The gap is where I've lifted all my shallots - they're now hanging up in the polytunnel drying out ready to rope

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Onions won't be long before they're in ropes.

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You know the wise advice "don't eat yellow snow"? Well when it comes to peas it's a case of "don't eat the purple podded ones". Fine exhibition at over 6', lovely purple & white flowers, flaming awful bitter tasting peas! One to strike off the list for the future - unless you want to grow them to add colour to your flower borders!.

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The corn finally got it's skates on. Only about six weeks ago I was contemplating whether to dig it up and grow something else in the space, because it seemed to be getting nowhere. I'm glad I didn't though! My mate Stephen often muses about the evening we stood in judgement whether to execute or stay the execution. I decided to give it another week or two - it must have been eavesdropping on the conversation and got frightened into life!

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More runner beans than you can point a stick at! These are Armstrong - the 'Aeron Purple Stars' are close on their heels. These had a four week start on the others. Dave - if you're reading this - YES we have purple pods! How are yours developing? Any pure purple/ black pods?

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See what I mean about the lettuce bolting?

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The cucumbers are coming on a treat in the polytunnel.

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Plenty of toms, but unlike the rest of the produce that can't wait to mature faster than usual, the old toms are very stubborn to turn colour.

And here's a few photos of the 'processing plant' complete with child labour in the form of a grandson who was captivated by the runner bean slicer that he was in charge of - with his grandmother's heart in her throat, in case she had to take the tips of his fingers home separately to his mother! No problem he went back with ten digits in situ! WOMEN!

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The one of the left is No.4 son - a bit early in the morning for teenagers (it's only 11.30am).

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A satisfied lottie owner and manager of the processing plant!

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