I always enjoy this time of year as March approaches and the days get visibly longer from week to week. This year is no exception so we've been giving some thought recently about what to do with the increased number of daylight hours as spring gets properly underway. We also concluded that it would be good to have a few things to keep us busy to act as a distraction from the continuing Brexit saga, the deadline for which is not now that far away.
So on Saturday we joined another of the Anglesey Coastal Walks that have been organised by Trearddur Bay Sailing Club as part of its Centenary celebrations and we spent Sunday focusing on our own Brexit contingency plan.
The Anglesey walk started in Rhosneigr shortly after 10am and the destination was Aberffraw. It was a pleasant walk of about 7.6 miles. Just shy of fifty people joined in which was a great effort.
The first half of the walk was relatively straightforward and uneventful. However, the second half of the walk was made considerably more interesting by virtue of the fact that none of us, all sailors, had taken into consideration the fact that the tides were very large spring tides and high tide was shortly after noon!
This minor oversight led to large swathes of the coastal path being unpassable and caused us to have to take a number of minor detours, to scale unforgiving rocks and to navigate all manner of obstacles.
Neverthess, most of the group rose to the challenges and completed the route to arrive in Abberfraw shortly after 1pm, which was perfect timing for a well-earned pint or two and a bit of grub at The Crown in the heart of Aberffraw.
We travelled back to Alderley Edge in the afternoon and arrived back in time to watch the second half of Wales versus England which, whilst painful for England, was the right result based on Wales's performance in the second half.
The coastal walk series continues over the weekend of 23/24 March and will take in much of the Menai Straits.
Turning back now to our strategy for a Brexit distraction, when we moved to our new house in Alderley Edge, we had the foresight to put our names down for one of the allotment plots on Heyes Lane about 100 metres from where we live.
For the sum of £41 per year, we are now the proud tenants of a bit of land that we can use in conjunction with our 6' by 10' greenhouse to mitigate the risks of Brexit by becoming more self-sufficient so far as fresh food is concerned. That's the idea anyway, albeit is heavily reliant upon us committing the time to make the venture work.
Sunday afternoon, therefore, was spent digging away with forks and getting rid of all of the couch grass (horrible stuff) that has built up over the past couple of years whilst the allotment has been fallow.
It's a thankless task and as you can tell from the photo, there is a very long way to go!
This being said, we made good progress today and I am confident that we will be able to get a large chunk of the allotment up and running over the next few weeks.
- I am bringing my skills and experience from the days when I worked on a farm (from aged 11 to about 25) to bear, focusing on preparing the ground, establishing beds and developing a cropping strategy.
- Vanessa is working hard to prepare the ground but is also planning the amenity of the allotment, by contemplating such matters as what type of shed we should get and where the shed should be located so she can enjoy a bottle of prosecco in the sun with her friends.
It's all good fun and it's nice for us to have another project that we can enjoy doing together.
However, the highlight of the day today was when I returned from the allotment and went to the greenhouse to see how the tomato seeds I planted a week or so ago were getting on .... and yes, the first one has come through.
I remember from my years on the farm how satisfying it is to eat the food that you cultivate and I am sure we are going to enjoy the allotment for many years to come for this very reason.
I'll provide another update in due course when more substantive progress has been made. In the meantime, our aim is to get as much of the allotment as possible going properly by the time Brexit is supposed to happen: