Tuesday 23 August 2011


Well, my guests duly arrived and settled in. After a salad lunch we all headed off to DD's allotment to see the wonders she has wrought. It is seriously impressive. When she took it over it was a barren wilderness with waist high weeds and no beds dug. It's still weedy now and will be for some time to come, but she's dealing with that. It now has good sized beds, surrounded with grass walkways and filled with vegetables and fruit: baby corn, potatoes, courgettes, butternut squash, pumpkin (she hopes), parsnips, borlotti beans, runner beans, broad beans, red cabbage (these are seriously impressive!), sprouts (some of these latter two are destined for the Christmas dinner table, as are some of the parsnips and potatoes), mange tout, herbs, raspberry canes, rhubarb . . . and I am sure I have forgotten some things. She's worked her socks off and should be very proud of what she has achieved. We certainly were, looking around!

And so back to sit in the garden and then to cook and eat dinner. Slow roast lamb, roast potatoes, runner beans and courgettes and the trimmings. Well, it was meant to be slow roast lamb but I didn't leave enough time. It should have gone in a fair bit earlier really so it was semi-slow roast but it was delicious anyway. Morrison's meat is generally very good and this was no exception. Diane will be pleased to read that there are some good leftovers which will be carved and the rest boiled off the bone and frozen for another day, some sliced and in gravy for another roast dinner and some minced for a shepherd's pie.

I have no idea about lunch, but dinner will be roast chicken with stuffing and pigs in blankets, roast potatoes, broad beans and more runner beans - I do love runner beans and these are fresh picked. I didn't get round to making that fudge sauce yesterday so I think what I will do is make it this morning while I have time and hope that it will heat up OK later. I don't see why it shouldn't, anyway I will try and see. If it is something that has to be done at the last minute, then it's no good to me!

Weather permitting, we are hoping to get to Hyde Hall today. I've never been which is very bad of me seeing as it is very local and just the sort of place I love to visit. It's an R H S place and supposed to be well worth a visit, so how come I have lived here for 26 years now and never been? Shame on me! Being gardens and an outdoor place, it does very much depend on the weather, so fingers crossed. The forecast is, unfortunately, not promising.

And finally (what a long, waffly entry this has turned out to be), the bush that thinks it's a tree has had its come-uppance. Thanks to some heavy duty loppers and semi-professional advice and help, it's been lopped right back in the hope that it takes note and doesn't try to take over that part of the garden next year if, indeed, it survives. Of course, where it was looks very bleak and empty now, so I might see what (if anything) they have at Hyde Hall to fill the gap temporarily. And if all else fails, I found the label that came with the bush - it's a sambucus nigra Black Beauty - so can dig it out and get another to replace it.The label also says it can be 'cut right back each year for bold new growth' which is what I haven't been doing until the last couple of years. We will see! And looking it up on Google for the link above, I discover that the berries are edible! What a wasted opportunity. Doh!!!

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