It is risen! It was only in early January that I published photos of my recently erected ‘bus shelter’ (for that is what it resembled); a structure for keeping the worst of the weather off of some of my machinery. I did so with a chest swollen with self-congratulatory pride, chuffed by my architectural achievement. By mid February the whole thing was lying in tatters, having been ripped apart by storm Dennis, stripping the roof off like the lid of a sardine can, and leaving the walls twisted and flattened, as he bullied his way across the landscape, elbowing and punching every puny whimp impudent enough to cross his path. Dennis the menace is long gone, and I need to provide my machines with dry premises to overwinter in, so for the past couple of weeks ‘bus shelter Mk II’ has had a redesign to make it more robust, and today I all but completed the job when I fitted the new roofing sheets. I just have to do a bit of cosmetic titivating and then the job’s a good’un. I do hope that I don’t have to crawl on my belly to you in shame after Dennis’ big brother pays a visit this winter.

What a filthy morning it was, the rain slapping against my bedroom window woke me, and water lay on the surface of the field behind the house, the land drains unable to cope with what was falling. The hens rushed to the shelter of the greenhouse when I went out to feed them, remaining there until the precipitation eased off before purposefully heading off in twos or threes to forage in different areas of the garden. The ditches were running like mountain streams as the brown foaming water headed down the hill to join the ever swelling river. On my way to Moyns Park later in the morning I passed a house with a lake stretching from the garden gate to close to the front wall of the building, the homeowner stood in her wellies looking on forlornly as the flood inched towards her dwelling; I hope that she is not in need of her boots inside the house this evening. The good news is, it looks as though the coming week is going to be dry, so hopefully the worst is over. It remains mild, but should get chilly towards the end of the week; I’m quite looking forward to temperatures that would justify lighting the wood burning stove, it’s time for using the long handled toasting fork to singe crumpets over the flames. I’m partial to Marmite on mine atop lashings of butter, how about you?

Tomatoes. Don’t talk to me about tomatoes! As you know, mine are finished, so I have been buying some from the organic farm on the Isle of Wight. They use a courier to get them to me, DPD to be precise…..well what a shower! For three weeks running now there have been problems with the delivery, and last week they didn’t turn up at all! They should have arrived on Wednesday, then on Thursday, but on both occasions the driver claimed that he was unable to deliver, even though I was there waiting expectantly. After the no-show on Thursday I kicked up a fuss, and as a consequence was informed that I would have a priority delivery on Friday morning (too late for the orders, but I thought that I could at least take some to the market on Saturday). Mid Friday morning I received a message from DPD telling me that the delivery had been rescheduled to Monday 16th “as requested”! My blood pressure by that time was through the roof; the perishable produce had left the Isle of Wight on Tuesday afternoon, so what good would it be 6 days later having been shunted back and forth to the depot and tossed from one van to another? I will attempt to get a fresh delivery this week, but will insist that a different courier is used, but they are in the last chance saloon. And breathe…….

I’ve got a limited supply of Falstaff apples this week, they are very large, not without a skin blemish, but they are very sweet and tasty. It is unlikely that there will be enough for everyone so order early if you want any. The oranges are now normal sized and normal orange colour, with the choice of buying them singly or in a bag of 4. Lemons and kiwi are also available. As for veg, it’s more cavolo nero and kale, and this week there are cauliflowers. Carrots, parsnips, swede, leeks, beetroot, onions brown and red, squash, mushrooms and plenty of potato choices.

I had a call last week from the orchard where my apples are pressed, to tell me that all of my juice is ready for collection – 3 further batches. I will have to make two or three trips to pick it up because there is so much of it and it is so heavy. Finding space to accommodate it in the shed is my next headache, but a good one.

Since ‘lockdown 2’ started demand has gone through the roof again, so I am going to have to limit some of the produce to ensure that more people have access to it. Please exercise some restraint when you are ordering, remember, I deliver on a weekly basis so there is no need to order more than you need for the next 7 days. While we are on housekeeping matters, I will be increasing the minimum order value to £9.50 with immediate effect. I know that some customers are single, so if this presents you with a problem please get in touch; I don’t want to lose customers, and I would like to continue to offer a free delivery service, so I need to find a point where it is commercially viable for me carry on offering this. The final thing is to remind you to keep up to date with your online payments please, making adjustments for missing tomatoes. Thank you.

Right, I had better get on because I need to apply a poultice to my roofers knees, and I’ve still got the washing up to do. Have a good week.



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