Monday, 16th November.
Our runner beans – Scarlet Emperor – did very well and kept us supplied – over supplied often – with delicious additions to meals. Not quite knowing how germination would work out, after a slow start, maybe too early in the season , I planted everything that looked viable, and apart from one that got eaten by something – I blame wood pigeons, of which we have many, they got away well. With hindsight I planted too many. Less would have avoided over supply, and would also have made the beans easier to see and to pick. Also they grew so vigorously that it was difficult to reach the beans growing near their tops. Next year, if we are still here, the french dwarf beans will be a better bet for us as they don’t need civil engineering work before hand, and can hopefully be picked much more easily.
Today I finished removing the old plants, a messy job. They were hard to disentangle from their framework and left a considerable mess behind on the bed, and also on the path. Getting them off the framework is not yet finished, a slow and tedious job, but a great deal have been put through the shredder and are ready to be composted. My main problem is that at age 86 (87 next month) I can only manage fairly short periods of work. I keep a garden chair at the ready in the garage and have frequent rests to relieve back ache but two hours is the absolute maximum, start to finish. I can sometimes do a bit more later in the day, which is useful for tidying up if I did not manage it all earlier. My cousin, who is 10 years older than me said exactly the same thing, 10 years ago, and it is interesting to see how the same thing has happened to me in turn.
One of the things apparently affected by Covid is building work. There are two houses close to us with jobs on. Behind us an extension is being built, and slightly further away a garage is being knocked about, whether to make a bigger garage, or to make extra living space is not clear. The extension job seems to proceed very fitfully with long intervals where nothing happens at all. On Monday of this week three vans appeared and some sort of activity commenced, but even that proceeded fitfully with breaks where they all stood around whilst one member talked to a mobile phone clamped to his ear. The gargae work proceeded apace for a time, then ceased entirely and the whole thing was boarded up, now work has restarted but at a slower pace. It is difficult to reconcile any of this with the rules about isolation and social distancing. Behind us no one wears a mask and inevitably as they work together any chance of maintaining two metres of separation is doomed to failure. Perhaps, if they work together a lot, they constitute a “bubble”.
Tuesday, 17th November.
Wednesday, 18th November.
Wednesday morning was quite awful, weather wise. Continuous quite heavy rain, gale force winds and cloud down on the hills. But the builders turned up late morning, and they must have known something, because the weather cleared and they had a good half days work.
Thursday, 19th November
Thursday dawned dull, wet (very) and windy to the point of gales. No sign of any workmen. About mid morning they turned up in force although the weather had not as yet moderated much. However, they knew something we didn’t, the weather rapidly improved and they cracked on. Sections of wall, timber framed and covered with chipboard or something similar appeared. I don’t know if they arrived pre fabricated or whether they were making them under their gazebo, but whatever, they went up rapidly, and the picture above shows how much progress they made in the one day from a concrete base and wooden flooring.
Friday, 20th November
Not a good day weatherwise, but the men cracked on with ceiling joists and by the end of the day they had completed the job.
Saturday, 21st November
A fine day for a change although showers built up in the afternoon. In the morning we dug up old potato plants which appeared once the runner beans had been removed. A good crop which will keep us going for some time. One of our potato tubs was showing signs of sprouting, so we tipped it out and found a small but usable crop. This is a first time effort for us, and we grew International Kidney, otherwise known as Jersey Royals. hey seem to have produce one or two largish tubers and a quantity of tiddlers which we can eat, but are not really a lot of use. The potatoes in the ground were Charlotte, and they seem to crop much better with a mixture of medium sizes and one or two whoppers which would be good for baking. Charlottes are readily obtainable from Tesco, but one is not supposed to plant these as there is no guarantee as to their being disease free. The ones we had grown were seed potatoes from a local garden centre. We have grown the Tesco variety in the past and they came up year on year with no sign of disease.
In other news, we learnt today that great grandchild No.2 is due a few days before Christmas – what better Christmas present could you have ?