Well that was a challenging week. It started well, with blue sky and a pleasantly warm temperature; but then it became increasingly uncomfortable, with oppressively hot, airless days, making for very difficult working conditions, but to compound the misery sleeping became something of a challenge. My bedside clock has a thermometer built into it, and for 2 or 3 nights it was registering up and around 30 degrees when I hit the sack! That’s just silly. Was it Tuesday night we had the spectacular thunderstorm? Crikey, that was a real humdinger! So there I was, laying on what were, let’s be frank, damp sheets, with lightning illuminating the sky with strobing flashes, accompanied by growling bass rumbles of thunder in the distance, when Nellie started barking downstairs. So up I got and went down to reassure her, but the poor girl was in a very distressed state. The kitchen blind was doing little to blank out the lightning, and this brand new experience for her was one she really didn’t like. So I took her into the sitting room, where the thick curtains did a great job of blocking out the flashes, and laid on the sofa and spent the rest of the night there with her; not another whimper was to be heard….from her or me.

A great photo taken of the storm near Plymouth last week

 

Thursday is when I normally harvest and pack the veg boxes for Friday delivery, but it was clear that I could not cut salads and leafy greens, without them wilting into a soggy mess, as the mercury rose to beyond 30 degrees in the potting shed. So I packed the dry vegetables in the boxes, and then had a 5am start on Friday morning to cut the fresh greens and finish packing the orders. After another broken night of sleep I was feeling somewhat zombified for the rest of the day, as you might imagine. And then, as if by magic, a switch was thrown on Friday night, and Saturday morning dawned, damp and overcast, and 15 degrees cooler! As I write this the drizzle is hanging in the air, and the temperature is a jumper and a rain jacket colder.

On Monday I had my annual inspection by the Soil Association to verify that I am doing everything in accordance with its organic standards, and I am delighted to say that I complied fully. Therefore I will be issued with a new certificate covering the next 12 months, for which I pay them the best part of £500 for the privilege!

I hope that you enjoyed the peaches. I listed them as ‘mini’, but when I picked them many of them were ‘micro’, so I hope that you noticed that you got 6 or 7 fruit in the punnet, rather than 5. Unfortunately, such was the demand for them that the tree is now virtually bare. Oh well, that’s how seasonal treats should work.

I still can’t justify the £55 shipping charge for taking a delivery of bought-in produce, so I am afraid that there is no fruit this week. I will see if I can put together an order for next week. On the home front, I may well be picking Discovery apples next week (commencing 5/8/19), I will test them later this week.

The availability list is fairly sparsely populated this week, but the good news is that French beans are now ready to pick, and the runners won’t be far behind, particularly after this nice drop of rain. However, we say goodbye to broad beans. There should be plenty of tomatoes, courgettes and cucumbers. Charlotte potatoes, onions, carrots, limited leeks, chard, mushrooms, red cabbage, lettuce and beetroot make up the bulk of what’s available. There may be a few patty pan squash, so keep your eyes peeled for them appearing on the list in a day or two.

I am looking forward to Thursday when the Ashes begin at Edgbaston; it’s going to be very exciting. Quite what the England selectors will have learned from the warm-up test against Ireland is beyond me….and them I suspect. For a second tier team like Ireland to bowl England out for 80 odd is a joke, and even in the second innings we had to rely on the night watchman scoring 92 runs to extract us from a hole. The fact that we skittled them out for 38 will provide some encouragement. What a crazy game.

I mentioned Nellie earlier, but I haven’t given a general update on her for a while, so here goes. She is growing….fast. When we first got her she weighed 10kg, last week when I put her on the scales she was 25kg! She has very long legs, and her coat has lost its fluffiness, and some of her marking have changed a bit, with some darker patches developing. She is quite naughty, likes stealing the cat’s food, and generally scavenges for anything she can find, but I like her. She is still a baby and has lots to learn, but she is bright, and likes a game and a cuddle; I think she will be alright. Her worst fault is that she can’t resist chasing the cats in the garden; inside the house she licks them and makes a fuss of them, but outdoors it’s a different matter. Actually, in terms of her worst fault, it’s a toss up between that and her flatulence!

Right, I’m off to a family get together in Bedfordshire, so I’m going to love you and leave you. Have a lovely week, and grab as much sleep as you can in these blissfully cool conditions.

Phil

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