Week 35 – Rubbish, Rainbows and Rhubarb Jam

This week, in almost total contrast to last week has been completely normal and not at all weird which seemed to work out very much better for all of us!

I left my job on Friday, which, to be fair is not something I do every week so could be argued as being a bit weird but it was actually really lovely. My colleagues held a tea party for me on Thursday after school. There was lots of lovely cake and beautiful bunting and they gave me some amazing presents, some of them gardening related. I was so pleased to receive a jute garden tool bag, some gardening vouchers (shopping!), some miniature bottles of gin, a ‘Calm’ candle and some hand cream.

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However, my absolute favourite gift, by far has to be one this one. My teacher for the last 2 years sent me a photograph of the leaving present she had ordered for me with a note asking me if I could spot the mistake (the big red arrow is a bit of a giveaway!) I can totally understand how mortified she would have been when she unwrapped it and realised they’d spelt ‘welcome’ wrong and, knowing what a pedant I am she felt she couldn’t give it to me. I’ve told her I love it and I’d like to have it even with the spelling mistake so I can see how many people spot the mistake! (I must point out the spelling mistake was not her fault, she spelt it correctly in the order, it went wrong in the execution) Thanks R. for the best gift!

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On Friday people kept arriving at my classroom door with cards and presents and then, in afternoon assembly I was called up to the front so the children could give me cards they had made. I had held it together pretty well up to that point but when one of the pupils I looked after last year came up with a card for me I was almost a blubbering wreck and totally lost for words!

I’d arranged to go out for drinks on Friday evening to celebrate  but, boy did I choose the wrong venue! I have absolutely no idea why I chose a club – I’ve never really enjoyed clubbing, I’ve always preferred pubs so why on earth I chose a club to celebrate in is, seriously anyone’s guess! It was loud…very loud! and dark and most of us had absolutely no idea what the music was! Quite a few people from work turned up and we had a laugh. I managed to stick it out until about midnight when I really had to call it a night and go home to my bed and a mug of Horlicks!

The benefit of it not being the best night out I’ve ever had was on Saturday morning I was totally hangover free and on the plot by 9am. Unfortunately it was peeing with rain by about 9.30 and myself and Michelle had to take shelter in her shed so I really didn’t get much done apart from cutting back some of the nettles in the extension area and picking up a few bits of rubbish.

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We did, however see a lovely rainbow just before it rained.

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I had a much more productive time on the plot earlier in the week when I took Louis and his friend after college. When I picked them up, I told Louis we’d be going to the plot and his friend asked if he could come along. This is not something I EVER hear from Louis as I often have to bribe him to join me on the plot!

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We had a great couple of hours. I showed them where to dig and where to put any rubbish they found and I, pretty much left them to it (I don’t mean I left them and went to the pub but I was able to have a break and take some photos.) They actually managed to clear much more than I thought they would.

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We negotiated sweets as payment for their hard work. I haven’t actually come through on that promise yet but I have no doubt they will remind me! Louis’ friend has asked if he can help me on the plot again and was super excited about it which was so lovely to see. I’ve told him he can help me every week after college. I may have just acquired an apprentice! YAY!

Louis’ friend did learn a very valuable lesson while he was on the allotment. ALWAYS remove your muddy gardening gloves BEFORE you start rearranging your underwear! He was a really good sport and he let me take this photo of his muddy bum.

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I wanted to go down to the plot again today but it hasn’t stopped raining all day so we couldn’t. Pleased I left the lid off the water butt though, as it could be half filled with the amount of rain we’re having.

I spoke to Gino and Michelle on Saturday morning about the peppers – whether it’s worth moving them to my mum’s greenhouse. They both said they didn’t think they would survive a move and I’m better off leaving them where they are and harvesting them before the frost kills them (Nobody told me I would need to acquire psychic abilities to be an allotment holder!) So it looks like I’m going to have loads of very small peppers in the next week or so.

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Squashes are still growing so I’m just leaving them to it even though the bed looks absolutely shocking. I think I’m going to need to tidy it up – maybe that’s a job for next week.

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The rubbish pile is also growing! It’s almost as satisfying to see this grow as it is to see the vegetables growing but I’m very aware the rubbish pile is going to be much more difficult to dispose of (even more difficult than getting rid of the marrows!) Hopefully I’ll have time to take some of the bags to the tip next week  to try and keep the pile as small as possible.

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I may have to take the net off the brussel sprouts. They’re growing so well they’ve nearly hit the top of the net (apart from the middle one at the back – I don’t know what’s going on with that one but it seriously needs to bucks its ideas up!) and I guess there aren’t many butterflies still knocking about laying their greedy little babies all over my vegetables so the brussels may be safe now.

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Louis and I visited friends this afternoon and they, very generously served us fruit scones with clotted cream and a selection of homemade jams, honey and marmalades made from fruit grown on their allotment and bees from their hives. I’m really not a fan of honey and I don’t like marmalade so I tried a rhubarb and orange jam and it was bloody marvellous! I even came home with the recipe taken from a reassuringly ancient cook book. So I have something else to try with next year’s rhubarb – not just gin!

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Talking of rhubarb – Rhubi is looking great. She’s really big, so now I’m worried she’s going to become too big for the space I’ve allowed her!

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Despite only making it to the allotment twice this week I’m really happy with the progress we made. I know the extension area is going to be a long slog so any progress made is good as far as I’m concerned. Hoping to make lots more progress next week.

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