Don’t worry allotment, Auntie Michelle will look after you.

I popped up the allotment today to do a last minute check and harvest before we go on holiday. It’s all growing really well, and as we’ve had loads of rain in the past few days there was no need to water. Hopefully the weather will be kind to the allotment when we’re away this time. I harvested some more green Climbing French Beans, just enough for us to have with dinner and then had a good look round my plots to do a final check. When we go away to Spain my wonderful sister looks after my allotment and my garden at home. It’s a huge ask for her as it does take all morning or all afternoon. But she is very welcome to take whatever produce she needs or wants for her troubles. I also tend to buy her a little gift of some sort as well, because of what she has to do. So as I left this morning I told the allotment, not to worry when I’m away because auntie Michelle knows exactly what she’s doing and will look after them all really well. When I told Mark this, he though I was rather odd (no change there) and that the plants don’t know you’re away. But they do know!! It’s great to be able to leave it all in the capable hands of someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. I wouldn’t trust many other people with it all. So we’re nearly packed, just the last minute toiletries to put in, a very early night as we have to get up about 3am to leave by 4am!! I think a snooze on the plane is in order. This year we’re spending 3 days in Seville, then stopping off at Granada on the way to mum and dad’s. Oh the pool is beckoning. Oh the joy of loads of sun and the odd spit spot of rain (which doesn’t happen very often). See you in Spain!!

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A weekend of two halves!!

Well what a weekend. Two contrasting days at both ends of the spectrum. So let me begin at the beginning, which is usually the best place to start. Saturday was beautiful and sunny, very warm, and the perfect day to have our allotment Summer Fete. We had a BBQ, Tombola, Cake sale, Guess the weight of the Cake, and a Bric a Brac stall. Loads of plot holders came and lots of fun was had by all. A huge thank you to everyone who came and also helped set up and make the day so much fun. Then came Sunday….well, when I woke this morning the sun was not shining, in fact it was pouring with rain. This I was none to pleased about as I had planned on walking the 24 miles from my house to Nymans as part of my training for my Shine Walk in about a months time. The rain had eased by the time I left just after 9am, but I wasn’t taking any chances so borrowed Marks waterproof as mine isn’t waterproof anymore.

Waterproof on I plodded on!!

Waterproof on, and I plodded on!!

Now as I walked the rain came and went. I had my instructions on Google Maps, but every time I looked at them the rain hit the screen and made it move. This isn’t good when you need to know where you’re going.  But I soldiered on and then the wind started to blow rather strongly. This wasn’t going to put me off after all I create enough wind myself. It then came to the point where I had to cross a rather busy main road and then use some rather narrow roads. Google Maps had suddenly gone from my phone. Where it had gone I have no idea. Now I’m rather lost without it, and as I was trying to re install it there were a couple of flashes of lightning and a rather large rumble of thunder and then the heavens really opened. Oh my!! There I was not knowing where I could shelter, with a storms brewing over head. So after about an hour and a half of walking I phone Mark to come and get me. I found a petrol station to shelter in as I waited for him to arrive. A massive thank you to the men in the petrol station who didn’t mind a very wet bedraggled figure making their floor very wet. When I got home I went straight in a lovely hot bath with a currant bun and a cup of tea. Now after lunch and a little nap I feel much better. The sun’s shining now, but I’m not going out for a walk now it’s too late. I’ll try that walk another time.

A very appropriate t-shirt for a very appropriate day's weather.

A very appropriate t-shirt for a very appropriate day’s weather.

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The robots have arrived!!

If you look on the Pinewood Pictures website, they are listing Robot Overlords!!!! You have 10 seconds to click on the link….… This you’ll understand when you’ve seen the film. I’ll let you know when it’s out.

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Thursday 7th August 2014 – Pumpkins are doing fabulously!!

Having dropped the kids off at the park this morning (it’s on the way to the allotment), I left them there to play whilst I went to see how the allotment was getting on. My Pumpkins are growing amazingly well. I’ve not taken any photos of them as I want to surprise you with their size when I finally harvest them. I’ve got loads growing, some are green and others are orange. They should all be orange, so I don’t quite know what’s happened there, never mind. I also harvested some more Climbing French Beans and some more Dwarf French Beans. The climbing ones are still going strong, but the dwarf ones are coming to the end. They have produced loads this year and I’m very pleased with them. Also my Tomtatoes are growing well. Well the Tomatoes on the top are doing well, I have no idea what is happening below the soil. I harvested about a dozen Tomatoes and we had most of those for lunch. When I’d finished at the allotment I went back to the park to find the kids. They were both very hungry (no surprise there) so we all ate several French Beans on our way home. Emily said “I do like your French Beans mummy”, to which I replied, “I’m so glad, I did grow them all myself you know.”

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Our trip to Scotney Castle, Kent.

Today the kids and I went to Scotney Castle near Tunbridge Wells, Kent. It’s a really beautiful fairy tale place, and has only been opened to the public for the last 6 or 7 years. It’s National Trust, so we don’t have to pay to get in. Great news as it would have cost us just under £30 for us to get in, and then £3 for parking. Worth every penny if you do have to pay, but a massive bonus if you don’t. So armed with our map we went a wandering. Firstly to the Old Castle and Moat that was built in the 1300’s. It’s such a rickety old building, with lots of cupboards that the kids said were great to put “Naughty children in!!” I know some children I’d like to put in the naughty cupboard and then leave there for a long time. George found the loos, well he would wouldn’t he. Not like ours of course, just some holes over the moat. I can’t imagine what those smelt like!! The after we’d looked around we sat on a bench just outside the Castle and ate our picnic lunch. Then we went wandering round the grounds.

The Old Castle and Moat.

The Old Castle and Moat.

We found a little boat house, that to be honest looked like something the 7 dwarfs would have lived in. We then came across a rather bizarre Henry Moore sculpture, which we weren’t sure what it was supposed to be, but it looked rather interesting. An amazing quarry garden that I could have lived in it was so beautiful. There were steps going here and there and plants growing out of every crevasse in the rocks.

The perfect quarry garden. I could have got very lost in there if it wasn't for our map.

The perfect quarry garden. I could have got very lost in there if it wasn’t for our map.

The views of the surrounding grounds were beautiful. George found the perfect old Oak tree to make a tree house in. The tree was 250-300 years old, and the branches were so gnarled it looked like it would come to life during a full moon. And finally before we left we went into the walled garden. It was so beautiful, the perfect vegetable plot. All sorts of fruit and vegetable were growing from Rhubarb, Chillies, Jerusalem Artichokes, Kale and Carrots. All in perfect rows with raised beds with herbs in. I was in heaven. Instead of using little plastic labels to show were everything was planted they used plates!! Ingenious!! I may pinch that idea, very easy to see and you can write in large letters.

Now where can I get some cheap white plates? I know Ikea!!

Now where can I get some cheap white plates? I know Ikea!!

Then it was a quick trip to the shop. As the kids had been so good I bought them some jelly beans, and as Mark had to work so couldn’t come with us I got him some Rocky Road chocolate slab. I can’t have him missing out on all the fun, he would sulk. George was very quiet on the way home in the back seat. When I asked Emily why that was, well you can see for yourself…..

Even when they're 12, they still fall asleep in the car.

Even when they’re 12, they still fall asleep in the car.

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Friday 1st August 2014 – Beans, beans are good for your heart, the more you eat the more you….

Not that we need any help with that in our house!! But I popped up the allotment this morning to do some harvesting and to generally see how everything was behaving itself. Very well from what I saw. I harvested a load of French beans, which I have now taken the tops off and they are now in the freezer until we need them for dinner. I managed to harvest 2lb 12oz of Dwarf Purple French beans and 3lb 10oz of Climbing Green French beans. So I think that’s enough to keep us going for quite a while. There are still lots more to come. It doesn’t matter if your french beans go too far, they don’t get stringy like Runner beans do. I then dug up some Potatoes, mainly rogue ones that I forgot last year. I got some rather sizeable ones, so that’s potatoes for dinner sorted out for the next few days. Then finally I had a look round my plots to see how all the other veg were getting on. The Pumpkins are growing very well. I have loads growing, all of varying sizes.

Pumpkins are growing well, here are a couple to show you. I do have an even bigger on, but I'm keeping that a secret.

Pumpkins are growing well, here are a couple to show you. I do have an even bigger one, but I’m keeping that a secret.

Also my Butternut Squash are growing well. I have loads of flowers and I found 3 little ones growing. Hopefully I’ll get loads this year as they keep for ages in a frost free place over the winter. We do like to roast them with chicken.

Two baby butternut squash growing. Keep growing my beauties.

Two baby butternut squash growing. Keep growing my beauties.

But everything else is doing well, so I’m a very happy little lass. I also harvest some more Cucamelons from the greenhouse, they’re prolific growers, and I’ve got loads of Tomatoes growing to. So all in all it’s progressing very nicely. Long may it last.

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Monday 28th July 2014 – Oh I do like to be beside the seaside….

There are two things that the British do better than anyone else: 1- Queuing, we do like a good queue, and know how to behave in one. And 2- Enjoy our selves on the beach what ever the weather. Today myself, Emily, George, my sister Michelle and her youngest Sam we all went to the seaside. We’d spoken about this last week, but as Sam broke up from school later than my two we waited til this week instead of going last week. Now me being horribly organised, I checked the tide times at West Wittering beach to make sure that we were on the beach when the sea was going out and not coming in. The day started rather oddly. I was woken up just before 7am by torrential rain and thunder, not very good beach weather at all. But I checked the weather where we were going and it looked ok for the time we’d planned to be on the beach. The rain stopped after about and hour, but we were still planning on going ahead with our little trip. I picked Michelle and Sam up just after 10am, and we firstly drove to Petworth House and Park. Michelle is also a National Trust member, so it was great that we could all get in for free. On the drive down the weather was dry…ish. We had a few spots of rain, but nothing major. But when we arrived at Petworth, the heavens opened, so on went the water proofs, and we headed straight into the house, which was dry. After we’d had a good old nose around, it was lunch time, so we sat under a tree on a fairly dry bench and ate our picnic lunch. The sun had come out now, and the sky was blue, so we were optimistic about the rest of the day. It wasn’t completely dry under the tree, because every time the wind blew the leaves dripped blobs of water on us, but we didn’t mind, because we’re British and we don’t mind a bit of rain, we get so much of it anyway.

Picnic lunch under the tree at Petworth.

Picnic lunch under the tree at Petworth.

After we’d eaten loads, we then go back in the car and headed for the seaside. The sky ahead was blue, so we were all very happy. We did take a bit of a detour, as the postcode on the beach website was wrong (either that or I put the wrong one in), so we turned round and headed in the right direction. But we finally arrived at the seaside. As we were walking to the beach with our chairs, rug, bags, and fishing net (George wanted to catch a jelly fish, don’t ask). I asked Michelle which is the boys would be the first in the sea. This we couldn’t decided. But when we’d set everything up, I rushed down for a quick paddle. So I was the first one in (only up to my ankles, but that still counts). Once the boys had got changed they were straight in, and disappeared for ages. The sea is so shallow and you have to go out for miles to be even up to your knees, and also there’s no under current, so we weren’t worried and knew they’d stay together.

Off they go into the sea...don't get too cold.

Off they go into the sea…don’t get too cold.

Later on Emily went in, and Michelle also had a paddle, so we all got to have a go in the sea. After we’d been on the beach for about an hour and a half, rain started. It wasn’t heavy and we saw it coming. Michelle and I tried to blow it away, but we didn’t succeed. About three quarters of the people on the beach left. Emily went to the car to get the umbrellas, so we sat on our chairs huddled under the brollies and waited for it to pass. It didn’t last long, and then the sun came out again. So play resumed and the kids were back in the water. Michelle bought us all and ice cream, which was fabulous, so we all sat and tried not to get sand in our treats.

Yummy lollies and ice creams, thank you Michelle!

Yummy lollies and ice creams, thank you Michelle!

We finally left about 6pm, and just as we did the grey sky dropped loads of rain down, so we got back in the car at the perfect time. The journey home was very easy, and the kids were very quiet, I think we’d worn them out. Sam fell asleep for most of the journey. Once we’d dropped Michelle and Sam off at home the kids and I got take out Fish and Chips (well it has to be done after a day at the beach) and also took some home for Mark. As the kids didn’t have any shoes on I had to leave them in the car when I got the fish and chips, but as I couldn’t see them I locked them in the car, but the alarm was still on, and they set it off. Emily sent me a text to let me know and I told them to sit very still otherwise it would happen again. Emily’s reply was “Sitting still sucks!” Once we got home, had eaten our Fish and Chips, we all had a shower. Sand gets everywhere!! And then it was off to bed. We were all very tired after such a wonderful day. We’ll have to do that again soon, it’s been a while since I’ve gone out for the day with my sister.

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