Monday, 22 October 2012

Clearing The Patch

So last saturday we signed up for our allotment and then on sunday we spent a couple of hours clearing.

Before I left on Sunday I sprayed a bit of weedkiller on some of the big offenders (the kind that becomes inactive when it hits the soil) and then crossed my fingers that the rain which hit in the middle of the night had started after the specified six hours on the container.

I paid another visit on Tuesday in pouring rain and high winds, mainly to see just how much wind hit it with it being on the end and next to a farmers field and also hung up a bag of bird seed on a hook and checked the weeds. Not much sign of imminent death.  Turns out there are two big trees which shield the wind a bit and I hadn't even really noticed them.

Talk was of hiring a strimmer and getting rid of it all to see what the blank canvas looked like.  We decided against it because there is a dilapidated fence down parts of the boundary with next door but under the grass and lots of hidden metal wires which I really didn't fancy hitting me when they were strimmed.  My decision was to get a pair of long handled lawn shears. B&Q had a 20% off weekend so I wanted to wait and buy them plus some other bits including chicken wire for the fence at a cheaper price. 

The little man had a day off school on friday so we spent an hour digging up some weeds between a fence post and then dug up some thistles.  Still not much sign of dead weeds.

Saturday with newly purchased lawn shears in hand we embarked on a 2.5 hour clearing session.  The husband dug all the way down the length of the fence posts ready to dig a trench and bury the first bit of the chicken wire fence  to prevent rabbits etc.  That's a job for next week.

I took the shears to the big grass and weeds on the growing part of the plot. 

Got lots of roots to dig out this week but I needed to get rid of the gazillion feet tall nettle stalks first.

Then we managed to pull up most of the rotten boundary fence with the help of the shears cutting the very overgrown lawn as we went.  Those hidden metal wires were a proper pain to get out. 

Yesterday we had another 2 hour session and hubby tried to dig\around the rubbish heap so we can eventually burn it all.  He found what we can only presume is part of the roof of that flipping pigeon building next door hidden under the weeds.  It looks lots better for clearing that bit and will look lots better once this pile is gone.

He also spent a bit of time pacing out the boundary.  We put some string up to what we thought was level with the post the council had put up for marking the plots out for the meeting.  I then spent my time with the shears trying to define a line. Found some daffodil bulbs growing there so they should be nice in the spring.

So after a week this is a then and now piccie. 

Of the other people at the meeting I have so far only seen evidence of one of them doing anything active with their plot.  I don't know if our neighbours are just waiting for the pigeon loft removing before they do anything.  I'm hoping they will be around soon so we can talk fencing.

The Overgrown Allotment

I've mentioned being on the long waiting list for an allotment before. A few weeks ago I got a letter from the local council inviting me to a meeting at the allotments because they had cleared some overgrown plots earlier in the year and were now in a position to reallocate them.  The letter said there were 14 people on the waiting list and I knew from asking earlier in the year that I was number 5.  Turns out the full 14 people didn't turn up and actually the 4 before me gave it a miss so I was top.  Yeehaw (erm yeah we'll get to that).

If I'm honest I don't know what I was expecting. Maybe a ready to go plot with minimal work, fenced in with a shed full of tools and seeds? Not exactly but I certainly wasn't expecting (given that the letter said plots had been cleared of undergrowth) just how overgrown and out of the way of the tended plots these ones would be.  From the start the council man said there would be no money for anything at all and we would be renting them as they were but with no rent to pay until 2014. I didn't expect anything less with the current budget cuts etc.

There were 6 plots out on their own down a dirt track next to two already established plots.  Very overgrown and on closer inspection one of them had a nice little den under a tree with lighter gas canisters, cushions and, in the words of my 8 year old, vagina magazines.  Definitely wasn't having that one. They were all pretty much of a muchness with overgrown brambles and almost head height weeds. The main turning off point of this lot of plots, apart from the den, was that there is no water and although the man from the council was going to see about it being turned back on after it had been capped off due to a fractured pipe he couldn't say when that would be.
This was one of them:

Then we looked at 3 plots closer to the main community of the allotments. Still very overgrown and the middle one had a decidedly dodgy looking dilapidated building that most likely once housed pigeons.  Very quickly we decided that we would be choosing one of these plots rather than the others.  One of them had fence posts already in down the exterior side so we went for that one. The council man signed me up and then went to chat to the other people waiting.

This is where we get to the erm yeah bit I mentioned above.  As we were walking away past our plot he caught me up and said another couple had expressed an interest and were above me on the list.  Fair enough I thought because despite him saying I was top of the list they could have arrived after that.  We then set off looking at whether the middle of those plots would be worth trying to restore or remove the dilapidated pigeon loft or whether the one on the end of the three would be better despite being the worst overgrown with massive rambling brambles. 

The council man walked past again so I stopped him and just double checked whether there was anybody else above me before I set my heart on something else. He got his paperwork out and with a puzzled embarassed look said 'actually you are top of the list' and went to tell the other couple.  I was relieved but very nervous about how they would take the news.  They seemed to have a chat with the council man and then looked at the plot next to it with the pigeon thingy. The man came back to me, said the original one was mine and they were having the next door one.  I was very nervous about how they were going to be about it but we had a nice chat and he said the council man had agreed to have the pigeon loft removed.  They were talking boundaries when we left.

So this is what we have got

Plot number 19

When I got home I had a look on google earth knowing that they pictures on there are a few years old.  In 2009 it looked like this (it's the one on the end with the lines of veggies)

Looking at that picture triggered a DUH!!! of course moment.  This is one of the very few plots visible from the road and I walked that way a few times in summer 2011.  It was tended back then because I remember being a bit jealous of the owner for having an allotment when I was stuck on the waiting list.  So only just over a year of weeds.  As you can see on the picture a lot of it was lawned. 

We got to work the next day and spent a couple of hours seeing what was what and pulling up a few weeds. My husband spent his time digging inbetween a couple of fence posts and clearing a bit of land.

A lot of what we were pulling up in the first instance was just overgrown veggies.  We found carrots and beetroots and plenty of seeded onions.

My dad came with us that first day and spent a fair bit of time talking to the allotment owner just opposite about how it used to be when all three plots were active.  Sounds as if it was lovely and hopefully we can make at least our plot that way again.  At the very least I want to grow some veggies and leave the lawned bit so the kids can kick their ball about.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Glossybox October 2012 Review

The October Glossy box has just arrived.  This month the theme is DIY Beauty.

The full contents piccie

and each individual item -

Dr Jart Premium Beauty Balm - This Dr Jart+ BB cream provides high SPF40 protection with anti-oxidents. A slightly glossy, low coverage cream which helps fight ageing. Particularly suitable for those over 30.  Original product £24/40ml. This is 15ml so about £9 in value.  

It actually says The Boots Company on the packaging which I was surprised at.  I tried a little bit and I like it.  It appears quite dark when you squeeze a little out so I was expecting to be a bit oompaloompa like after applying it but I wasn't.  Maybe a little expensive for me to purchase again but if I could afford it I would consider it.

Olay Regenerist 3-Point Treatment Cream Fragrance Free - doesn't really say much on the info card about it. Olay say it is for areas prone to ageing - eyes, jawline and neck.  Original product £29.99/50ml so this 7ml sample tube is worth around £4.19.

I do like Olay products but this is the second month in a row I have received their products. Nevertheless I will use it.

Skinetica Anti-Blemish - A unique solution for clearing skin blemishes, showing results in 2-3 days. Kind to skin with no side effects. Original product £6.99/100ml.  There is no size on this product but it isn't very big - maybe 10 or 15ml so less than a £1 worth.

I do get blemishes every so often so I will definitely be finding a use for this and if it works as it claims then I may buy the full size for my teenagers.

Anatomicals - Don't Just Clean It Woman, Scrub It Body Scrub - A pink grapefruit body scrub that buffs with a bravura sense of charm and wit. Original product £3.49/200ml so this 75ml sample is worth £1.30. 

Nothing special when I tried it on my hand but it will go into the bathroom with the other shower products that we use in the bath (no shower in our house :( ) I've no idea what bravura means - maybe it just means brave.  I've purposely not linked up to their website because it goes through a film sequence thing at the beginning that gets stuck.

Yves Rocher France - Moisturising Cream Lipstick - Couleurs Nature Framboise - Perfect coverage from the first application: a smooth, supple luminous film covering the lips. Full size product worth £14.50

Now Yves Rocher is a company I used to buy quite a few things from.  They had some great offers but they kind of tailed off a bit so it is nice to see them back.  This product however is not me in the slightest little bit.  It's bright red and definitely not a colour I will use so if anybody fancies swapping for something a little less bright please get in touch (
The call centre for Yves Rocher used to be quite close by and I knew people who used to work there. It always used to make me laugh when I had cause to ring them. The operators had to talk with a french accent.

My Verdict - I'm not disappointed with this box but definitely not thrilled either though. Maybe if the lipstick had been a more muted shade and they hadn't sent Olay for the second month in a row it would be a different verdict.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Yarn Along

I stumbled across the Yarn Along blog recently. Every Wednesday knitters around the world share what they are knitting and reading. They are two of my favourite things so I couldn't resist playing along.

I'm working on a shawl called Carson using Jubilee yarn by Natural Dye Studio in pink and grey.

Rubbish photo because I'm having to use my phone.

Thursday, 4 October 2012