For Kate, this was the day we achieved the most on the allotment. I coaxed up other examples - the great 1664 shift, building the compost bins, laying down the GLYCO/glypho. But in the end I think she was right. Just look at the progress we've made :
Awesome! At last it feels like we're making some proper headway.
It started late, as we were procrastinating largely, and I had to head to the dreaded Kings Heath Sainsbury's which barely ever seems to be quiet. It fills me with dread, worse than going to the dentist or a Westlife special on ITV. So I was glad to get out of there and down to the allotment, fully tooled up with huge reams of plastic, a fork, the petrol strimmer + cables for chopping. We worked out we hadn't been in three and a bit weeks so we were eager to go.
There was a setback / bonus in that all our rubbish had been shifted from the bottom of the allotment. Trouble was we still had tonnes of carpet and other bits to dump - essentially we were hoping for one giant shift. But it wasn't to be! Maybe if we're really lucky we can get the council to shift the second batch, but it looks like a gruesome prospect. The spirit of Ian is still playing tricks on us it seems.
Nonetheless it was a beautiful day, mellow sun and full wildlife activity, including a stoned out Gigasmethwick. I started out in the stress mode, looking around bewildered at the amount we had given ourselves, but as soon as I started peeling back the carpet and seeing how effective the weedkiller had been, I was 'becalmed'. As ever worry was banished by a bit of the old GET ON WITH IT mentality. As we only had one rake, I went back to get my hideous lime green Wilko one, in the process making an earl grey for Kt (Parsley) and swaddling the cup in cling film to keep it hot on the way back. It's pretty handy living two minutes away from paradise.
Once I'd eaten I managed to apply myself properly. Kt taught me how to start the petrol strimmer - it's not as easy at it sounds haha. Maybe it would've helped if I hadn't been so sarcastic about how to turn the button to on, and then completely forgetting to do so as I was furiously pulling the rip cord to no effect. What a machine. When it was working I felt like Hephaestus yielding one of his creations, ploughing through the grass like a reaper, with dock leaf juice splatting me in the face, or sharp stubs of dried grass whizzing past my ears. Health & Safety would've had a fit as I wasn't wearing goggles, but to be honest it was the pythons I was more worried about. The ache came from the weight of the strimmer and the vibrations passing through my hands. When I stopped - and that was often, my hands were tingling so bad I felt like I'd just been wrestling with an electric eel. I roared with boyish glee. But then ol' Petrol head decided he didn't want to work for two hours, so I went flip mode and raked off surplus grass with a Samson like fury. We built up a healthy sized pile of glypho - hay near the rear end of the plot. As we'd been clearing a lot of the paths that surrounded the plot, we had a much clearer idea of where we could start digging, with the advantageous prospect of not having our ankles buckled by potholes or hidden bumps. It was really starting to come together.
Jake came over for a while and attacked the blackberry bushes to free up our apple trees. I likened him to Sir Cakealot as he was jousting the brambles with a rake and a spade. He made surprising headway. I was perpetually referring to the myth of Satan pissing on the blackberry bushes as a reason for the shriveled berries see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackberry and look under superstition and myths. Sir Cakelot also tried his hand at getting the strimmer started, throwing down the gauntlet when it just wouldn't start.
The Cider apples :) The Crabs :s
We kept going. The bulldog spirit was never more alive! My left shoulder was killing so I figured I'd pulled a muscle. Took it easy for a little while then we decided to give the strimmer one last go. It proved to be a productive decision. That baby roared into life and I did the longest strim of the day! Managed to suppress most of the grass on the top half of the plot, moving slowly down to batter the rest and swell an already huge pile of hay - which I flattened slightly by a couple of massive elbow drops. Sir Cakealot was too knightly and had his best armour on so he looked like he was fainting like a damsel when he attempted said wrestling move.
My pythons were weeping but I ploughed on as Parsley raked for her life. We wound up some time around 5.30, recovering the areas we'd strimmed with a combination of the plastic and carpet. Just like Kate said we need to get the ground HOT AND SMELLY. Haha! Proper little sweat shop going on. With an abundance of bricks we secured the coverings, most of which will be left for over winter. Next week we will cut back the brambles - FINALLY! And maybe start some tentative digging. Today really was an eye opener and progress though slow has never been more steady. G unit for lyf (life).