I had some dreamy utopian idea that over the Easter holidays we would all go to the allotment (me and the boys) and do work and we'd get loads done and it would all be wonderful. Which in the end made me wonder how long it was since I'd taken them all there at the same time. How on earth I had I forgotten what it's like when all three want to do the same thing, with the same pair of secateurs/hoe/rake at the same time and what unbelievable drama ensues when one person's samosa is perceived to be bigger than everyone else's.
I saw an experienced allotmenteer at the shops the day before and he laughed and laughed when I said we'd all be going along together to plant potatoes. That should have given me a clue. But I was blissful in my ignorance, so we wellied up, grabbed our chitted spuds and headed out.
Somehow I'd ended up with loads of potatoes, partly because I'd bought a big bag from the local garden shop, and partly because I'd then also been tempted by some other varieties. In the end there were Nadines, Charlottes, Maris Pipers, Swifts and Pentland Javelins, all lovingly pre-sprouted in egg boxes on the boys' bedroom windowsill.
The children attended to the most important stuff first - getting the chairs out of the shed and eating the Wheat Crunchies. They reluctantly did a very small amount of weeding after various arguments about trugs, trowels and mud being shaken in faces. Honestly, there were so few weeds in the bottom of the trugs they needn't have bothered.
I took them one at a time to plant a few potatoes, which have taken up far too much room. Already I'm thinking I won't bother with them next year (the potatoes, not the children), they'll need to be good to convince me to grow them again. I think my main concern with them is all of the work, making sure they don't poke up above the soil and also all of the digging to get them up. But you never know, I might be converted. I'm sure we've planted them too close together, and in a quite higgeldy piggeldy fashion, but to be honest by the end of the morning I was just happy to have the things in the ground and not cluttering up the windowsill any more.
This was the view from my deckchair, once I'd evicted the littlest boy and found some spare Wheat Crunchies.
The shed belongs to the neatest plot on the site, I always like to stroll past on the way home, to see how it should be done.
And this is my plot. Not the untidiest plot on the site, which is good enough for me. I'm realistic - I don't have the time to make it into perfection, but so long as it's productive that's all I'm trying to achieve. (The two littler ones are behind the rose bush playing Harry Potter with the rake and the Dutch hoe).
The biggest boy sowed some radishes very painstakingly, with every seed neatly placed about four inches apart. I gently suggested he could put a few more in next time, so I think he sprinkled some extra in in the end - we shall see.
And then to restore entante cordiale I lit the pile of woody stems that were pruned from the blackcurrant bushes a while back. Nothing restores brother's faith in brother quite like burning stuff together.
Oh happy day. Behind the shed I found some rhubarb struggling through the grass. This kind of thing makes it all worthwhile. The first precious harvest of the year.
I made a crumble with it when we got home. We'll gloss over the fact that the pinger went off when I was outside for a moment and I forgot about it and burned the edges. The middle's still good, and sometimes that's as good as it gets.