Not a great deal to report, really. I have been busy at work; lots of people off sick so lots of covering to do. Happily, people are starting to trickle back, including a couple of people who have been off for weeks and weeks and weeks. Eases the pressure a bit.
The old SE team went out for dinner last Friday evening. We went to a new “Italian” place on Ecclesall Road. The food was lovely, but it’s only notionally Italian. Mediterranean might be a better description. Mediterranean with a distinct Chinese influence. Crispy duck with hoisin sauce pizza, for heavens sake! Not that I had it -- but it was tempting!!! Felicini, it’s called. Excellent place to eat, as long as you are not, actually, wanting Italian. Fantastic pizza, mind. But with ham and mushroom rather than duck :-)
Actually, I’ve been doing quite a bit of eating. Last Thursday I was coming in for my evening duty early. I had a class of post grads at 1 and wanted to be in for 12 to get ready. The Builder said he would drive me in, and what about a spot of brunch. Excellent idea. We went to Caffé Uno where I had a vegetarian breakfast with poached eggs and loads of roasted vegetables. Then we hastened in to the Adsetts Centre, where I found an email sent from the tutor to say that the class had been cancelled because no students had turned up. She had sent it a mere ten minutes after we left home! Pity. Had she sent it just that wee bit earlier, we would have gone out for a leisurely lunch somewhere interesting rather than a hasty brunch!!
On Monday we did go out to lunch. Another evening duty, and I had the afternoon off as well. So we went into Chesterfield. I was looking for the shop which the Ecover website assured me refilled empty bottles (Ecover is a brand of allegedly environmentally friendly cleaning products.) Eventually found it tucked in a little laneway I had not previously noticed. There’s Organic Heaven (which refilled the bottles), a cookware shop, a card and craft shop and a bookshop. I do like Chesterfield. It has lots of little lanes tucked away with interesting things down them. Off the Shambles you will find the Royal Oak, which is a 14th century building, connected to a 17th century building. The 14th C bit was once two little butchers shops. The whole thing has been a pub since the 1700s. It was fortunate that we called in for lunch on Monday. It was closed on Tuesday and Wednesday for refurbishment. The menu is not extensive, it must be said, but it’s a more than adequate pub menu; the food was cheap, filling and very tasty. You are always but always better off with a limited menu that is cooked on site than an ambitious menu which is shipped in from elsewhere and heated in a microwave! We will go there again. After we have tried the other pubs in town!!!!!
Garden news. The orchard is all but complete. The beds down the side of the path have been dug. One of the things we did on Monday morning was a visit to the Chatsworth Garden Centre, where we bought some more fruit bushes. Everything is now planted except the red currants which have just been moved from their “striking” pot into larger pots to continue rooting. I’ll plant them out in April or May. Here is the grand total of fruit, then:
3 x sweet cherry
1 x sour cherry
1 x sweet apple
2 x cooking apple
1 x pear
1 x plum
4 x black currant
3 x red currant
6 x gooseberry (4 green, 1 red, 1 yellow)
2 x blueberry
12 x raspberry canes
2 x tayberry canes
12 x wild strawberry in the garden
1 x rhubarb on the allotment
There is a peach tree coming and I'll put some proper strawberries in, in the spring. There will be room for another couple of bushes in the red currant bed. I might see if I can get a couple of white currants. The Builder, who is not in paid employment this week, will now turn his attention to the allotment. We need to crack on up there, ready for March sowings of onions, shallots and things. Potatoes and cabbages/sprouts/caulis/broccoli to follow in April, and the kitchen garden needs to be up together ready for May, I guess. Perhaps I should keep him at home digging until it is all done. After all, what do we need money for?
It is getting noticeably lighter in the mornings. The sky was lightening in the East when we left at 07:10 this morning. It won’t be long before I will be able to see the garden before I go! The weather this week has been stunning. Beautiful still, sunny days. Around 11d yesterday. Not exactly hot, I grant you. But strikingly warm for late January. Should be around 2 or 3d. I’ve put my thick winter coat and hats away and am wearing my spring stuff. I haven’t put my thick winter stuff very far away, though. I am confident I will have further need of them before very long. It’s cloudy today. But still quite mild.
PS I have this very day sent off my notice to quit the Hangingwater Allotment. End of an era. A bit sad, really. Will be mine until March 31st. Hope it gets someone who loves it. But who's going to tell Martin?