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  • Originally posted by Mark_Riga View Post
    Hello Penellype, I met my daughter and grandson at the London Wetlands Centre a couple of days ago, first time since January. Walking round, a lot of your posts came to mind. The place has a lot of waterfowl but the main thing I noticed was how healthy the horsetail looked. The whole place seemed just full of weeds and horsetail in particular (and July apparently is the best time to see them), a bit like most neglected allotments that people display here.

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    Yes, the horsetail seems to have a massive growth spurt in July and then thankfully slows down a bit after that.
    A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

    Comment


    • Very pushed for time at the moment - let's see if I can remember what I did over the last week!

      Thursday
      Busy as usual and nothing got done except collecting water after a wet night and harvesting peas, raspberries and one ripe cherry.

      Friday
      Planted out some beetroot in the onion bed. Pulled weeds and horsetail from the raised beds. Harvested a cucumber, a few raspberries and another cherry - these seem to be splitting, probably due to the rain.

      Saturday
      Rain or drizzle just about all day. Collected water, harvested some baby turnips and decided everything else could wait.

      Sunday
      A better day. Had a good go at trimming dead leaves and fruiting stalks off the strawberries and got more than half done. I still need to decide what I am going to do with the increasing number of runners. I also weeded and dug some horsetail in the tunnel and trimmed the long bits off the hedges. Harvested raspberries, blueberries and a few redcurrants from the hedge.

      Monday
      As a lot of the raspberries have now finished I spent a good hour going over them cutting off any branches with no more fruit on. This revealed a reasonable amount of fruit that had been hard to see, so I picked nearly a butter tub full. I also removed yet more horsetail from along the roadside hedge. The other job I needed to get done was cut the grass, which had grown quite long. I got this done and some of the long edges before I ran out of energy. Harvested a cucumber.

      Tuesday
      Busy all day. Harvested a courgette and a bag of peas.

      Wednesday
      Seemed to get caught up in a load of stuff that presented itself to be done immediately, and nothing at all got done except watering and harvesting peas, a cucumber, a few raspberries and (probably) the last cherry. There is one more cherry but it is small and may not ripen.
      Last edited by Penellype; 23-07-2020, 07:37 AM.
      A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

      Comment


      • Thursday
        Another day when nothing got done, partly because I was busy and partly because it rained most of the day. I did go down in the evening to collect the water when the rain finally stopped.

        Friday
        A better day weather-wise, but work remains an issue. I work part time, and there are stretches of weeks or months when very little happens, then suddenly there is loads to do. Unfortunately you can't choose when these are, and today was one of the busy times.

        I escaped for nearly an hour at lunchtime and walked down to the plot, and the first thing I saw was a dead hedgehog by the hedge just a couple of feet from the pile of sticks I've put under the hedge for hedgehogs to hide in. The poor thing had probably been hit by a car

        The first job was to find a home for a sack of sheep's wool which my sister gave me to compost. She has a small flock of sheep but is finding it impossible to sell the fleeces this year and has run out of storage space. I put some of it in the compost bin in small pieces as I can imagine that a big lump of it will take forever to rot down. The rest went in the black dalek in its sack, displacing the bucket of rhubarb which I put in there to force - this has now died.

        I spent some time trimming long grass edges - the grass contains a lot of creeping bent which grows extremely fast and will completely take over if not kept in check. Hopefully the grass will help keep the compost bin nice and hot. I harvested a cucumber and went home for lunch and more work.

        Mid afternoon there was a lull in the work and I went back and cut down some of the finished peas - there are plenty more to do. then I tidied up the tomato plants a bit and tied them in, and watered the blueberries, cherry and melons. I found that the Alvaro in the growhouse has 2 developing fruit, which was a nice surprise. I got some nets and string to support them with and tied them to the shelf rods. Harvested a baby courgette and some blueberries for tea.
        Last edited by Penellype; 24-07-2020, 09:20 PM.
        A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

        Comment


        • Saturday
          Showery and damp, and with plenty of other things to do I only went to the allotment briefly to harvest cucumbers, peas and turnips.

          Sunday
          Less wet but rather windy. I spent a good hour cutting down finished pea plants, trimming finished fruiting stems off raspberries and pulling a few weeds. Harvested a decent tub of raspberries, some blueberries, a few redcurrants and the first few gooseberries.

          Monday
          It rained almost all day. All I managed to do was collect the rain water (1/2 a dustbin full) in a short dry interval early evening.

          Tuesday
          A better day weather-wise although rather windy again. Managed to "steal" about an hour at lunchtime from a very busy day. Collected some more rain water. Pulled out quite a few weeds from various places and plugged a gap under the fence - the people the other side have put a board across, but in one small section there was a couple of inches gap and some animal (probably cat) was clearly digging to squeeze under.

          I'd brought some canes with me and put up an extra tripod for the beans among the rhubarb with a pole connecting it to the original support and tied a long bean shoot to it that was thrashing about in the wind. There are other branches growing in that direction too so hopefully I can train them to grow along the pole and the beans will hang down for me to pick. I was not amused to see that (as well as shredding my geraniums at home) the wind was blowing the flowers off the beans complete with their stalks and breaking the potato stems.The weather this year seems determined to disrupt everything.

          I ran out of time and had to hurry home after giving the melons some water.

          Wednesday
          The best laid plans... The best description of today is probably AAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH.

          The forecast was for fine weather, and although I had an appointment this afternoon I had planned to spend a good chunk of the morning at the allotment. that plan lasted until approximately 5.45am when I logged into the work email having got up early to get a few jobs out of the way. The normal overnight email usually consists of a couple of queries from Australian customers at most, so I was alarmed to see 24 emails in the inbox. Without going into details this effectively meant that our software was broken by a relied-on 3rd party for the 3rd time in about 6 weeks and the 2nd time in 5 days. Customers were understandably not happy, and I spent the morning replying to emails and alerting people who could actually get the thing fixed. My schedule originally involved fitting about 5 hours work into 8 hours, and this rapidly became 5 hours into 3, and the gardening time was gone.I didn't even have time to notice the weather, but I did see that the sun was out while grabbing a quick bite of lunch. I ditched any ideas of a coffee and dashed outside to mow the lawns instead. I then sat down to prepare notes for my appointment at 2pm.

          He was 20 minutes early, I was not properly prepared and my head was all over the place when I needed to be thinking straight. I managed with difficulty to remember that I had to keep 2m apart - not easy when you are trying to look at plans etc. Some important questions didn't get asked, but I will have to trust that all will be ok.

          While squeezing the lawn mower past the rack of drying onions in the garage, I noticed that a couple looked a bit strange. I'm supposed to be keeping an eye on them for white rot, but this was at the top of the onion and was a sort of brown, sandy deposit. After the man had gone I went to have another look. The onions were full of maggots. There had been no sign of this when I harvested them, and the few that I cut bits of white rot off, peeled and kept n the kitchen didn't have them. I didn't have time to inspect all of them, but put the worst affected ones in the hotbin. Later, when the havoc had finally died down a little, I went back and inspected the onions. Every single one had either maggots in or on, or holes in. This looks like onion fly, I think. The question is, where has it come from? The onions were grown under enviromesh and transferred straight to the garage. I've never had onion fly at home or at the allotment before, although I have had leek moth (I think). This does not look the same - the leek moth ate the leaves, these have gone straight for the necks of the bulbs and the bulbs themselves. I decided to have another look when I had been to the stables and see if I could cut off and salvage anything.

          This evening, with a recycling bin of leylandii clippings to go out, I couldn't face maggoty onions. I decided to chuck the whole lot in the bin and have done with it. As I cleared them up I found pupae and cases all over the floor in the garage. No doubt there will be plenty of survivors for future infestations.

          I have had just about enough of maggots. Various different ones are in the raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, apples, turnips and peas so far, and now its the onions. Right now I feel like giving up.





          A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

          Comment


          • Sorry to hear about work ...more sorry about the onions..a little ((hug))) no more talk about giving up..your more then a few maggots...x

            Comment


            • Thanks Ms-T. I won't give up - what would I eat if I did? I just didn't need that after the day I'd had. I also don't really know what more I can do to prevent onion fly - the bed was covered with insect mesh from the point when I planted the onions until I harvested them, firstly to keep birds and cats off and then to prevent allium leaf miner or leek moth which ate some of the leaves last year (when I covered the onions with bird netting). I'm completely stumped.
              A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

              Comment


              • Sorry to hear about your day...I suppose we need days like that to really appreciate when things go well?

                My father used to say something like that....and in retrospect I think he was right.

                Can't advise re the maggots though...sorry.

                Hopefully things will improve soon -you are such a successful gardener (normally!!!) I'm sure they will
                "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

                Location....Normandy France

                Comment


                • Chin up Penellype, I hope things start to get better soon
                  If I'm not on here, I'm probably fishing.

                  Comment


                  • Thanks Nicos and Burnie. I agree that its the problems and failures that make you appreciate the successes more. I do at least have plenty of chopped onion in the freezer so all is not lost from that crop.
                    A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

                    Comment


                    • Thursday
                      No gardening time, apart from harvesting a couple of courgettes and some french beans and collecting rain water. It rained for a fair chunk of the day anyway.

                      Friday
                      More rain water to collect from over night showers. it was forecast to be very hot, so I went down early and got on with things for an hour or so. I sprayed the brassica foliage in the tunnel with potato water again, This is very successful and there were only a few whitefly left. I then spent some time weeding and pulling out horsetail until it got too hot. Harvested a cucumber, a few raspberries and the last cherry, which I'd thought was going to be small and inedible, but was actually fine.

                      I was going to go down and water in the evening, but a glance at the radar showed I didn't need to. There was a huge thunderstorm heading straight for York. It actually split into 2, and we didn't get as much rain as anticipated, but we did get enough lightning for it to strike a house about a mile from me, setting it on fire. My loathing for lightning increases, and I am seriously considering getting a lightning conductor fitted to my house as this is the 2nd time in 2 years that a house in the village has been struck.

                      Saturday
                      Busy and tired from lack of sleep (due to heat and anxiety about thunderstorms), I got very little done at the plot apart from watering trees and potatoes, collecting a little rain water and harvesting salad leaves, turnips and a couple of courgettes. I took down 2 kale plants and took some photos as it was 1st of the month - I will post them when I get time.

                      Sunday
                      A better day, although a little showery. I managed a good hour in the middle of the day and did some weeding, planted out some lettuces in the old onion bed and sowed a row of florence fennel. Harvested a few raspberries, most of the remaining peas, a yellow beetroot and all of the gooseberries.

                      Monday
                      Spend nearly 2 hours at the plot in the morning. Set about removing the finished peas in the tunnel - there are about 3 pods left that are not quite ready. When my hands had had enough I spent a fair while digging out horsetail from the tunnel and pulling up a few weeds. Then I cut down some more of the old raspberry canes - there is very little fruit left now. I tied in the new canes and cut off any weak ones, completing just over half the row before I'd had enough. There was plenty else to do, but another fine day was forecast today and I didn't want to overdo it. I harvested some baby spinach (showing signs of bolting already), baby lettuce, a cucumber and a beetroot, plus the first runner bean. I was back in the evening and gave everything a good drink of water.

                      Tuesday
                      The forecast for today was dry. In fact, looking at the most recent forecast for today from the GFS model released at 6pm, it is dry all day. This is not just inaccurate, it is plain wrong, because it rained all morning and was showery this afternoon. I went down to the allotment at around 5pm and collected a bucketful of water from my lids, barrow and trays. So much for a nice dry day in which to get plenty more gardening done!

                      A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

                      Comment


                      • Photos from 1st August, as promised. Sorry for the delay, mainly because about half were bigger than 2mb and had to be shrunk.

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                        New runner bean support amongst the rhubarb. Melons doing ok in the hotbeds.






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                        Tomatoes in foreground have some small fruit now. Nasturtiums have completely taken over the pea bed. Courgettes in the bed behind with turnips (nearly finished) under the bits of net. Beetroot in the onion bed has since been joined by lettuces and a row of florence fennel.

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                        Lettuces and spinach growing well under the white net. Potatoes behind are starting to die down.

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                        Parsnips and beetroot under the tall net.


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                        Raspberries have about finished. My poor gooseberry has been completely defoliated by sawfly. The purple fruits have since been picked.

                        More photos to follow.
                        Last edited by Penellype; 05-08-2020, 03:31 PM.
                        A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

                        Comment


                        • More photos from 1st August.

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                          Cherry has now finished fruiting, blueberries are ripening fast. I left the hollyhocks in the hedge as I like them, even though they are a bit in the way.

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                          The DIY lid on the green dalek.

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                          Strawberries have about finished, although some of the ones on the shelf (off picture to the left) are flowering again. Romanesco, calabrese, cabbage and PSB on the right, beetroot, strawberries, carrots and leeks on the left. Peas in the middle have finished now.

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                          From the other end - cucumbers in bottomless pots are producing harvestable fruit. The big calabrese is ready to cut.

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                          Another view of the cucumbers and peas, plus leeks and carrots. The flowering strawberries are on the shelf at the far end.
                          Last edited by Penellype; 05-08-2020, 03:43 PM.
                          A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

                          Comment


                          • Very busy week this week with work taking over, as it does sometimes. The challenge is to remember what I did a week ago!

                            Wednesday
                            A reasonable amount of time and finished off tying in the new raspberry canes and removing all the old ones except a few that still had green fruit on. Also went round the hedges trimming off long bits, brambles and nettles and pulling out horsetail. Harvested the last of the peas and a cucumber from the tunnel.
                            Watered everything in the evening.

                            Thursday
                            Aware that it was going to get very hot I made an effort to get down to the plot first thing and removed the finished peas and a few weeds. Harvested a courgette, a lovely big head of calabrese and most of the remaining blueberries. Watered everything again.

                            Friday
                            The grass was getting long and desperate for cutting so despite the increasing heat that was an essential job. Also did some weeding and pulled horsetail in the tunnel and sprayed all the brassicas with potato water to keep the whitefly off. Harvested some lettuce and baby spinach leaves and a handful of runner beans. More watering.

                            Saturday
                            Number 1 job was to cut the leylandii hedge at home and everything else had to wait. Harvested salad leaves, courgettes, cucumber and a couple of beetroot. More watering.

                            Sunday
                            A bit more time, so I made an effort to trim all of the long grass edges along both paths that run alongside the hedges. Also turned out the bucket of forced rhubarb from last year that has mostly rotted down and put the unrotted bits in the compost bin. Used some of the compost, with bfb added, to fill one of the mushroom trays, and pinned down 6 strawberry runners into it. cut off a lot of the other excess runners, but as usual I find it really hard to get rid of viable plants, and I didn't anywhere near finish the job. Dug some horsetail out of the tunnel. Harvested a few more runner beans. More watering as the forecast rain did not arrive.

                            Monday
                            Not quite so hot, with a pleasant breeze. Trimmed the grass edges along the fence and raspberry beds and did a fair amount of weeding and removing horsetail. Harvested cucumber and more runner beans. More watering - most of the dustbins are nearly empty so I bucketed some water from the big water butt to make room in case of heavy rain from possible thunderstorms.

                            Tuesday
                            Very hot day. Work threw another curved ball and wrecked my plans to get gardening done early, so I had to put up with being hot. Trimmed the remaining long grass edges, including the difficult path between my allotment and the neighbouring one, which is full of horsetail. Also went round most of the hedges pulling out yet more horsetail. Found a 3rd melon (Alvaro) has set - a long time later than the first 2. Nothing visible on Magenta or Emir yet despite loads of female flowers. Pulled out a few weeds before giving up and going home, eating a couple of late raspberries on the way out. No storms so more watering.

                            Wednesday
                            Much hotter today. I made an effort and went to the allotment, mainly to get cucumber beetroot and baby spinach for lunch. There had been a little overnight rain (but thankfully no thunder) and I collected about a litre of water from lids and barrow, which won't go very far! The spinach is bolting in the heat. Half-heartedly pulled out a few bits of horsetail and weeds from the raised beds and removed the remains of the turnips, which are clearly not gong to swell properly. Removed the nets but didn't have the energy to fold them up properly and put them away so dumped them in the shed. No more rain, so more watering this evening.

                            We appear to have been lucky with the storms, which have so far avoided York and the forecast now is for them to continue to do so. While we could do with some rain and less heat, I am very, very happy not to have the storms.
                            Last edited by Penellype; 12-08-2020, 07:15 PM.
                            A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

                            Comment


                            • Work has intervened again this week, which along with the weather, has made gardening difficult.

                              Thursday
                              No time for gardening, although I did spray the brassicas in the tunnel with potato water and harvest beans (runner and french) and a courgette.

                              Friday
                              Thankfully a bit cooler, due to being cloudy. I was aware that there were thunderstorms around, so I didn't spend very long at the allotment. I pulled out quite a few weeds and bits of horsetail, which still seems to be growing really strongly. I also netted some developing melons, which have finally started setting fruit again in the hot weather. 2 of these were in the growhouse but I can't tell if they are Alvaro or Magenta as there is a lot of foliage all mixed together. There were 3 Emir in the hotbed too, and probably more to develop.
                              Watered everything well as the showers avoided York. Harvested cucumber, beans and spinach, which is the best summer spinach I have ever grown.

                              Saturday
                              A busy day and with thunder again in the forecast nothing got done at the allotment except watering and harvesting lettuce, cucumber, a courgette, beans and beetroot. We again managed to avoid any showers and storms. Most of the water bins were now empty and I bucketed half a bin full across from the water butt to leave room in there in case we had a deluge. I'd resisted the temptation to start carrying water down again, due to the amount of rain in the forecast, but I was beginning to wonder if I had made a mistake with this.

                              Sunday
                              More storms on the menu, which again didn't arrive, although we had had some overnight rain so there was water to collect. I'd been hoping to cut the grass but it was far too wet. I spent a decent amount of time at the allotment, again concentrating on weeding and removing horsetail. The rain had flattened the spinach, which is rather a shame as it means that a lot of the leaves are now on the surface of the raised bed, getting dirty and vulnerable to slugs. I picked a large bagful for tea.

                              Monday
                              It rained hard all night, but again no thunder. When the rain finally stopped I went down and collected a bin and a half of water form the bin lids, barrow and trays and scooped up another bin full from the flooded paths. I also emptied the drip trays under the strawberries as they were full.
                              Went back in the afternoon and did a bit of weeding (the things seem to appear over night) and tidied up the strawberry plants in pots. Some of these are starting to develop more fruit. I also planted out the 2 kale plants in the tunnel and harvested almost all the remaining blueberries plus another bag of spinach and ate a couple of late raspberries.

                              Tuesday
                              A bit more water to collect from overnight rain, but mostly it was a very pleasant day. We again avoided the storms - I can't believe my luck with this as we have had a solid week of thunderstorm warnings and not a single rumble of thunder!
                              Unfortunately work required me to stay at home a fair amount of the day, but I did manage a short stint at the plot at lunchtime. I took down some more potato water and doused the brassicas in the tunnel. The whitefly are still quite bad, but are noticeably mainly confined to new leaves (which are growing very fast) and patches on the older leaves, presumably where I have missed spraying on previous occasions. This clearly needs doing weekly, but is a lot better than nothing. Other than that, all I really had time to do was pick a bag of beans and another of spinach. Even though I had only been out about half an hour I found I had missed a work call when I got home.
                              A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

                              Comment


                              • Wednesday
                                A better day work-wise so I was able to spend some time at the allotment. Surprisingly, despite a little overnight rain the hedge was dry and I decided to trim the top bit which I can't reach from the ground. I moved the strawberry plants off the chair and used that to stand on and managed to reach pretty much all I wanted to trim with the aid of my loppers. I then had quite a pile of trimmings to chop and put in the green dalek. By the time I had done this I was out of time and energy so I harvested a beetroot, some spinach, a cucumber and a decent sized carrot that I'd noticed had been damaged by slugs and went home.
                                I went back in the evening to check everything was secure, and put nets under several developing melons to keep them off the floor.

                                Thursday
                                More overnight rain to collect. I had appointments all day so all I had time to do was harvest lettuce, cucumbers, courgettes, beans and beetroot.

                                Friday
                                A diabolical day weather-wise, much of which was spent clearing up at home as the wind seemed determined to destroy everything in sight. It ripped the net down on the fruit cage damaging a lot of the blueberries, knocked over the cosmos plants (which were tied to the arch) so I had to put them in the garage, snapped the cane supporting the peas in the bucket and then managed to force open the locked garage door 4 inches at the bottom. I have no idea how it did this as the locking mechanism is a steel circle with a groove in it that turns round a very secure steel peg! Last time the wind forced the garage door open it demolished the whole garage, so I was (I think understandably) more than a little worried that this had happened.

                                Once the wind had died down a little I went to see what havoc it had wrought at the allotment. It had dislodged one of the nets and knocked quite a few beans off the plants, but the supports were still secure. 2 of the tomato plants needed re-staking and a lot of the leeks in the tunnel had been rather flattened. Otherwise everything seemed mostly ok. There was plenty of water to collect.

                                Saturday
                                Still windy but thankfully no further damage. All I had time to do was collect more water and harvest lettuce, pak choi, beetroot and runner beans.

                                Sunday
                                A very pleasant morning so I made a point of going to the allotment before the stables and spent about an hour going round the whole plot removing all the horsetail I could see (except for in the grass paths and under the roadside hedge). I think this is starting to slow down a bit. I also removed some of the nasturtium plants from the pea bed as they were looking miserable. There were nasturtium seeds everywhere and I ran out of time before I had made much impression on them. Picked a cucumber and some spinach and one ripe strawberry from the tunnel.

                                I'd hoped to go back and cut the grass in the afternoon, but it turned showery, which put an end to that idea.

                                Monday
                                Finally a dry day - it was in fact a perfect summer day, sunny and warm but not too hot, with a light breeze. The plan was to go to the tip in the morning to get rid of the horsetail and also some stuff at home that has been hanging around for months, then cut the grass and weed the whole plot in the afternoon. I must stop making plans as they never work out!

                                The first thing I had to decide was whether to try to remove the horsetail from under the roadside hedge before I went to the tip. I've done this for the past couple of years, and I really should have done it a few months ago, but the proximity to the pavement and lack of storage space has stopped me. It took me about 5 seconds to decide no, for 3 reasons - it is still too near the pavement for comfort as people don't necessarily keep their distance, the (hawthorn) hedge hasn't been cut and I won't be able to reach under it without getting very scratched and if I spent time on the horsetail I may not have time to go to the tip, which could take much longer than usual if I had to queue. The horsetail will just have to stay there, and I will do my best with it next year.

                                I was lucky with the tip, only having to wait behind 1 car for a place. I had an early lunch then went down and decided to get on with cutting the grass as it was nearly dry and getting very long in places. I then picked up as many of the nasturtium seeds as I could from the half of the bed I had cleared and covered it with a piece of weed matting to keep the cats off (I disturbed a cat sizing up that bed when I collected the trugs of horsetail for the tip). Having done that I went back home for a break as I was tired and rather hot, and it was then that everything went pear shaped. I checked my inbox to find a load of mails from customers complaining that there was a problem with the software. This had happened suddenly during the afternoon, and was due to a 3rd party changing something, not our fault. I had to try to sort it out, which took the rest of the afternoon, although I did manage to steal a few minutes here and there to cut the lawns, nip off a few deadheads and pull a few weeds out of the drive while waiting for replies to emails. The weeding at the allotment will just have to wait. Apart from bringing home a bag of beans picked after I cut the grass, I didn't harvest any veg for tea and had to completely change my food plan for the evening as I hadn't time to cook anything.
                                A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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