We watered, hoed and planted some beans this morning on the allotment, hoping things will stay orderly enough for our friend Dennis to manage it while we are away. The people on the plot next door were putting up a proper polytunnel - the last one ripped in the wind and that led to a rift between the two guys who owned it. One left and the other has found a new helper. They were using a metal-cutter to fit the hoops so our peaceful time there was full of industrial noise. I planted out some baby red pak choi and something called namenia for salads when we get back. Hope the slugs don't find them all.
Back in the garden it's been hard work planting things out so they have a better chance of surviving whatever the weather flings at them. That includes a smart little banana tree, three coffee plants, a lychee, and the usual herbs etc.
Our neighbour is very kindly going to water for us, but there are so many pots and special things, it will be quite a task. I vow never to go away again in May... there is just too much going on. The truth is, at this time of year, we are quite often checking things on a two-hourly basis. Wind and bright sun can wreck things very fast.
We are particularly pleased with our pip-grown grapefruit. It's about 15 years old and has made blossom for the first time this year. One of the flowers has already started forming into a little grapefruit. The tree has quite vicious spikes, however.
I should have gone to hear Andrew playing in the choral society's fund-raising cabaret show this afternoon, but ended up wandering round the town and doing some petty shopping. First time for ages. I'm sad to have missed his brilliant new arrangement of 'My Old Man Said Follow The Van' for three (or four) brass instruments. I've only heard it so far on the laptop, it sounds terrific. He says the players take it more slowly than he intended, but there are an awful lot of notes. He will be home soon - we will finish up in the garden, pack, check things are organised, and have an early night. So, that's it for today. Next bulletin should be from Fécamp, where we will be in an apartment on the Quai Guy de Maupassant, overlooking the harbour. I am planning to go to the fishing museum, which I am told is exemplary, devoted mostly to the Grand Banks. I have some beautiful little posters for them, from the Faversham Creek Trust, which is considering starting a museum devoted to Thames Barges and other North Kent matters. Private, of course.