This is where I should be right now, sunning myself on the beautiful Roseland Penninsula in Cornwall. Apart from the Christmas break this is the only week off that I have all year, and I have been denied 😢 I might have to order some authentic Cornish pasties online (cheese and onion) to ease my pain. I can buy St Austell brewery ‘Tribute’ beer, and Roddas clotted cream in the supermarket, so if some scones could be conjured up I could sit out in the garden, ask Alexa to play the sound of seagulls and waves breaking on a beach, and imagine myself in my favourite place; granted it’s a poor substitute, but it would invoke the spirit of my beloved Portscatho. To add insult to injury the letting agency that we rent our cottage from has been rubbish, so it looks unlikely that we can book anything later in the year. And another kick in the teeth is that the weather down there is looking very nice for the whole week! It would have been far easier to take if it was going to be cool wet and windy.

I am not to be denied a break, so I am going to take tomorrow off. A nice walk, a picnic, or possibly a little canoe trip on the river Stour from Sudbury. The weather is set fair, so the world is my lobster. If you were to look at the state of the garden at the moment you would question whether or not I can afford a day away from the coal face, but realistically what difference will taking one measly day off make? After all, I was going to be absent for the whole week.

Look I ain’t claiming to be Nostradmus or nothing (that piece of grammer is for my friend Jillian), but I told you so. Only a day after my prediction this time last week I received my first horsefly bite. Since then I have had a good half dozen more, but I think that I am probably marginally ahead in terms of bites versus splatted horseflies, but it’s a close run thing.

My powers of looking into the future did not extend to the great Strawberry experiment, which did not go well. I am hoping that it didn’t go too badly for you, because I ended up going through every punnet to try to grade out the sub standard fruit. That operation resulted in me rejecting 20% of the berries I had bought. It’s clear that they just don’t travel well, and unfortunately I have been unable to track down an East Anglian organic grower of soft fruit, so to paraphrase Basil Fawlty, “the strawberries are off!”.

I hope that you enjoyed the new potatoes, there will be more ‘Maris Bard’ this week, plus bunched beetroot, summer cabbage, chard, and cucumbers, all from the garden. The cucumbers are limited in number, so I will prioritise everyone who wants one getting one; I will only fulfil order for multiples once this goal has been reached. By all means order more than one, but the chances are that you will only receive a single fruit in your box. Fair? I think so. Cucumbers for the masses is my election slogan. Quite a few tomatoes in the greenhouse are beginning to colour, so it shouldn’t be too long before I will be self-sufficient in them. Until then I will be buying some from a UK grower; this week they are cocktail size on the vine – slightly larger than cherry, but not as big as a salad tomato. There will be courgettes, carrots, old potatoes, half dry onions, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, red chili peppers. Oranges are not the only fruit, there are lemons too.

The rain last week was just the ticket. I measured over 40mm, and it was mostly nice and gentle, though on one occasion it didn’t half hammer down. Anyway, it has made potato digging a less arduous activity, and it has perked up a lot of the crops…..and all of the weeds. This week we are back to baking sun with temperatures in the high 20’s; you could say beach weather.

I made my return to the farmers’ market at Wyken yesterday, and a very civilised event it was. Stalls were well spaced apart, and customers were very respectful of the distancing rules. The new set up works well in this fine weather, but I’m not sure how it will be when it’s blowing a gale and lashing down with rain. Perhaps things will have improved by then. I will be back again next Saturday, so if you would like to collect an order from there I will be happy to oblige.

I had a very pleasant evening with a couple of good friends observing the summer solstice yesterday. We sat around a camp fire in a wooded glade, watched the stars and talking late into the night, covering topics as diverse as the natural world, the current shortage of builders plaster, bedtime reading, 2-stroke motorbikes of the 1970’s, and the new format of the Archers. It had the feel of Last of the Summer Wine about it….bliss.

Have a good week. Please remember to make your online payments – including any adjustments to your order amount.

Phil

 

 

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