Fall back, Spring Forward ?

As back to speed as I ever was (having been lazily absent from blogging for a while – so idle I can’t actually remember how long I’ve been away). I am now intending to write and publish more or less at the same time.

October has been a gentle and kind month, some super, warm and dry days. Whether this is something to do with climate change – long term or short term – is irrelevant when you’re in a growing season: something for the academics to debate and, maybe, something to consider when buying seeds for next year.

But now, with daylight flexing and – literally overnight the clocks changing (Daylight Saving Time) – it is time to crack on with end of season plot clearing, planning for next year, planting a few things and the task of autumn/winter digging.

Image result for harold lloyd films

It is normal, at every stage to be thinking ahead, so while I was planting the taters I was thinking, rotation wise, shouldn’t put spuds in here next year … but, once the crops are dug up I’ve always kind-of forgotten those things. We planned to put over wintering onion sets in (below the autumn fruiting raspberries where the early potatoes were this year. The ground, having been turned over to root out every Arran Pilot tuber we could find (surely; all of them?) is easy to dig so I used a fork. Ergonomic handle said to make the digging less stressful on the back. Maybe it is now I am used to the slightly different technique needed to lift it (who would have thought a slight modification would make such a difference?).

And the soil is absolutely gorgeous (in a strictly horticultural sense of course): light, friable and dark. Making turning it an absolute pleasure as well as a work out. “nothing to prove to anybody,” as my very good friend reminded me when I spent a happy day driving a dump truck for him … so I took my time, barrowing annual weeds to the compost heap, now sweating away nicely near the path, cutting a cabbage and chatting to other plot holders.

Gaffer: about football, Alan and Mrs Alan about crops, families and pets, Sailor Dee about daylight saving Time and missing pears.

Over three days we purchase Aquadulce broad bean seeds, fifty red onion sets and, the soil having been raked and firmed, with a sprinkling of chicken manure pellets for the onions and a half trench of compost for the broad beans they are duly planted and the rows marked.  Broad beans and onions, I discover, were two of the staples of Medieval life, along with cabbages (this has me wondering about parsnips).

Meanwhile I have read three of henry Williamson’s animal sagas; namely Tarka the Otter, Brock the Badger and Chak-Chek the Peregrine (thanks to my brother in law Geoff). As I expected I find each of the tales different from when I last read them. Firstly, of course they represent a way of life that simply no longer exists: a time of otter hunting and rural isolation. Secondly I noticed the absolute richness in detail and description. But, most noticeably they are just not sentimental, anthropomorphic tales but well-constructed and very credible. So glad to have originally read them (with affectionate support from my maternal grandmother and a wonderful teacher (Mrs Clarke) … but also pleased to have read them again. Only Salar the Salmon to go now.

Image result for tarka the otter

“Fall back, spring forward,” we remind each other in a state about which way to dial the controls of the central heating. Thinking about it “fall” is such a more resonant name for this season, is it true that this was the accepted name back in the day here in England?

My mother, while not looking forward to darker nights is somewhat stoical about it:

“Sooner we start,” she said, “sooner it’s Christmas and it starts getting lighter again.”

But, as I rise this morning, 30th October, the heating is on-time, the day is reasonable (we spend time clearing out an old brick path in the back garden. We laid it when our daughters were  so much smaller and it has been overtaken by “benign neglect”, but looks better for our efforts. The stove is in use again – boys with toys (and why not?).

And, ready for Halloween there is a muted display in the front porch: my idea of coating sprouts in melted chocolate for any trick or treaters was not taken seriously, so there is a small basket of sweets by the front door.

Image result for Halloween

Assuming we can get it unlocked; it seems to be malfunctioning – a great idea for a Halloween episode of Twilight Zone or what?


2 responses to this post.

  1. Apparently someone in Manchester was going around glueing people’s door locks, I hope the tricksters haven’t gotten to you already 😉


  2. Posted by assia7 on October 31, 2016 at 7:48 am

    Great description of this changing time, my friend


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