Three days off? Sun shining? There was only one thing I was going to do this bank holiday weekend; spend every available second outdoors, enjoying my garden and all the beauty that my rural location provides. And pay a little extra attention to the chooks, of course.
Things didn’t get off to the best of starts as I rather slowly emerged from my slumber on Saturday morning – the previous night’s end of rugby season celebrations having taken a heavy toll on wallet and head.
However, I eventually felt human enough to venture downstairs and immediately decided to tackle the most pressing matters of the day. The house cleaning, you may ask; perhaps sorting out the car insurance or that washing fermenting in the laundry basket? What about completing that job application or long overdue, half-finished magazine article?
No, not at all. I was thinking of something properly important: the vegetable patch.
The veg patch has been a cause of many sleepless nights and endless conversations with my wife (or rather at my wife) as I fret about the state of the soil. The start to the year was so busy that I never got round to planting an anticipated green manure crop on the empty ground and I am such a cheap skate that I never bought any compost to compensate in an attempt to help replenish the soils nutrients.
The chickens have done their part to boost the earth’s fertility (how do they crap that much…) but as things stand, lettuce, onions, peas and leeks are all struggling to get going and I can’t help but worry. I forget that we have had a god awful start to the year, that we haven’t seen sun for months and instead I blame something, or rather someone, far more likely to be at fault.
The awareness of my potential green fingered failings was made worse when my wife announced the creation of her own, rival veg patch. At first I was over the moon; my wife was getting involved, interested even, in the whole idea of producing your own food. Happy days! But then a thought struck me: this was competition.
What if this veg growing novice grew more than me? What if she produced better veg? Tastier, non-slug nibbled, shop standard veg? I would never be allowed to forget it.
Ever since, encouraging words were replaced by suspicious glances, with my wife one side of the fence working away and me on the other; our own version of the Iron Curtain, just a bit more see through and with no nuclear weapons involved. Well, not yet anyway.
Apart from these worries the bank holiday passed with hours’ worth of digging, mowing, planting and cutting, with the garden looking all the better for the attention. The chickens certainly enjoyed the opportunity to nose around what we were doing and spent much of the weekend strutting round making approving noises and chasing bugs. When it all became a bit too much, they retreated to the shade and luxury of the dust bath; content to wallow in the filth and take a well earned break. If chickens could smile I think that this weekend, I came close to seeing one do so.
So all in all, it was a cracking weekend in the garden and when you add in a liberal dash of cider drinking, walking on the Quantock hills and cycling through rural lanes, the end result was a rather sun burnt, but very happy blogger.
But I’m still worrying about the veg patch!