Happy New Year one and all, I hope that you enjoyed the festive break the best you could given the circumstances. Thank you to everyone that left me a Christmas gift, they were all very much appreciated. That last delivery on Christmas Eve was another hairy one, with lots more floods to negotiate; there were two occasions when I seriously thought that the van was going to conk out in the middle of one of them. I was hoping to get finished early, but the orders were so big this year that I had to go back to Moyns Park to load up again to complete the delivery round. I hope that everyone got all that they had ordered in their boxes, I am sure that one or two errors will have slipped through the net.

I am feeling relaxed following my longest break of the year, and also because I’ve only been and gone and done it. Yes, I used my time off wisely and productively to get my accounts up to date and my tax return filed – never before have I done it with a month to spare! I now need to look down the sides of the sofa and raid Emily’s piggy bank to scrape together some funds to pay the tax bill. I did a lot of walking over the holiday, have done some reading, played lots of board games, imbibed more alcoholic beverages than are probably good for me, and resisted the magnetic pull of Moyns Park….well except for two occasions.

Yesterday the market gardening circle of life started all over again when I sowed the onion seeds and got them in the propagator. Traditionally these should be sown on Boxing Day, but I was otherwise occupied by escaping from a haunted museum after consuming bubble and squeak on that day, so they had to wait. It’s good that they have to be started so early, because it means that the propagator is clear before I need it for some of the higher value seeds. It will be the end of January before I really get going on the seed sowing front, but before then my time will mostly be filled with hedge cutting and apple tree pruning.

This week the ‘shop’ is like many others in the country, in that the shelves are fairly sparsely populated. Because of the break there is a lag in the supply chain filling up again, so choice is limited. Ironically it is the produce coming from Europe that there is no shortage of. In the days before Christmas there was considerable doubt over if and when goods would be able to enter the country; thankfully that issue appears to have been resolved, so this week there are Lemons, Kiwi fruit, blood oranges, and the first of the Seville marmalade oranges. While we are on fruit, the apples this week are Gala. As for veg, at the time of writing the only greens I have this week is kale, though I might amend the list tomorrow if anything else becomes available. There will be leeks, carrots, dirty parsnips, swede, beetroot, onions, red onions, garlic, mushrooms, small squash, sweet potatoes and a limited supply of red cabbage. There are Charlotte salad potatoes, Cara, Twinner, and some small baking potatoes – mostly 200-230g in weight, unless your appetite is small you will probably need one and a half of these to fill your belly. Next week there should be more of a selection.

I regret to inform you that my supply of honey is exhausted. There has been such demand for it that I am unable to keep up, and I won’t have any before the end of May – all being well. I will contact some of my beekeeping friends to see if they have any surplus that I can buy from them, but I suspect that they will be in the same boat as me.

The Farmers’ Market at Wyken resumes on Saturday after its short break, so come along and support your local suppliers while you can. Sadly the Leaping Hare café, restaurant and shop will be closed again following the decision to put Suffolk into Tier 4 restrictions. I suspect that we will all have to get used to these, and perhaps more, for some time to come. What I don’t know is, what I am going to do with all of the Christmas presents that I bought which need to be exchanged or refunded? I didn’t have a great success rate this year.

My return to work tomorrow will be delayed by a few hours, because I have an early appointment at Addenbrookes Hospital to donate blood platelets. I sometimes feel a bit washed out afterwards, so it will be a gradual easing back into working again. I just hope that the poor cancer patients who need the platelets are able to receive their treatment.

Right, that’s me done; it’s good to be back. Have a good week, wrap up warm – this chilly weather is set to continue.

Phil

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