Spring has sprung!

It is certainly true now that I have no idea where I found the time to work full time. Jill and I have such a beautifully busy life. We are very lucky. The past weekend saw us take a much needed rest from all our endeavours in our new Campervan, which we collected in mid February. We have named her ‘Summer’ due to the ‘ETE’ in her number plate translating to summer in French. She took us to Windermere, Lanarkshire in Scotland and North Yorkshire for some time on our own and to also visit old neighbours and my son, Jack. The sun shone on us throughout our trip. and driving many miles in the van was a surprising pleasure. Mind you we missed all the rush-hours!

This past month saw us get down and dirty in the Borrowed Garden (twitter @borrowedgarden). With spring fast approaching we bit the bullet and hired a turf lifter to create one new bed and extend two long narrow beds. To start with it was supremely hard work, until we released we were lifting up an old hidden pathway! We soon got into a rhythm, but it took Jill and I the best part of 8 hours to create our new beds. Having been lifted the turf had to be rolled, moved and stacked. We worked until the winter sun disappeared, but we were pleased with the results…..

We needed a further day to dig over all the new soil, plus an extra morning of adding manure to these new plots. The new beds enable us to plant potatoes, brassicas and root vegetables aplenty in the spring. Jill also started planting lettuce, broad bean, kalettes (which we love having for breakfast, with tomatoes on sourdough toast!) and pea seeds. All these she started to pot on later in the month.  Other tasks for the past few weeks included repairing the potting shed door, constant weeding, further pruning roses and fruit trees (lightly), transplanting a triffid like hop plant and buying loads of seedling compost to supply us for the next month or so. We also planted mushroom plugs into old logs in the hope of producing oyster and shiitake mushrooms in the autumn.

This busy month also saw us celebrate Jill’s birthday, have a romantic meal on Valentine’s Day at a local village pub and visit my dad down in West Sussex. We took the campervan to show him, but didn’t camp. However we did find a great campsite near Chertsey which we may use to break up future trips to the south coast. Much to our surprise Jill and I are now proud members of the Caravan and Camping Club; I have truly embraced middle-age. I will be joining Saga next! We have a trip a month in the van planned through until September. We have to plan our breaks otherwise we simply won’t find the time to go. It is not only the borrowed garden keeping us busy; Jill has re-modelled the Old Bakehouse Deli (www.oldbdeli.com). We now open 10am-2pm every Saturday morning in the village pub. This allows people to collect their orders and/or shop for our breads, pies and pastries.

It seems to be going very well, so we spend much of Thursday until early Saturday morning preparing food or baking. We wanted this new model to help the pub so persuaded the landlord to provide tea and coffees to compliment Jill’s £1 per slice cake. It is great to see the pub bar full on what was, previous to the shop opening, a very quiet Saturday morning. What with the shop, plus providing breads to the pub and a local delicatessen things are looking rosy for the business Jill runs. So much so she is now the sole director of a limited company; Old Bakehouse Deli Ltd. I remain her sole staff member; unpaid but in love with baking & her!

Our other main pastimes are walking the dogs and the occasional trip to the cinema or theatre (saw the hilarious The Play That Went Wrong). The dog walks have enabled me to experiment with photography. Some nice results, but much practice needed….

I have even found time to unpack the dolls (bake-)house model we purchased back in December but whether I ever find time to make it remains to be seen. A blog-story for another time perhaps.

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