-3 Centigrade at 7am this morning when I set out for London and Comic Relief, and I had to scrape ice off the windscreen before driving to the railway station in Chesterfield. The clocks having gone forward, there were vestiges of subtle spring dawn all across the sky. (As my mother would say for the next ten days, “It was really 6 am”) The sun was an immense orange ball within layers of grey mist which rolled over the peaks and set the shapes of trees into sharp relief. One of those undeserved and unexpected visual luxuries of an early start.
We have some loyal birds to bring in the morning up our little lane, but one, probably a starling, has learned to do an exact imitation of our house phone ringtone. Just as you reach the car outside, you are always lured back by the ring-ring. Quite funny, if annoying.
The effects of dry weather was evident all down the country from the train. The fields are turning green but the grass is very short and there were dozens of bored looking horses in paddocks virtually denuded of grass. I know that there has been a great shortage of hay all winter, so I really worry about the welfare of some of those animals, whose owners must be hard up and having to cut corners.
Anyway, rain is promised by Wednesday, so after today warmed up so well, and I returned from London by 6pm I took the chance and planted two rows of seed potatoes this evening in time to take advantage of the easy digging conditions and the wet weather ahead . David pinched a few of the Maris Peer (second earlies) and Duke of York (red first earlies) for his dustbin production of show potatoes. (Well we did win at Chatsworth horti. show last year with my few decent Charlottes and the Red Nadines!!) Last year the potatoes had poor crops but I put that partly down to lack of spring rain, so am determined not to let it happen again. I have just planted a short row of Rocket, hoping they might produce better than Swift did in 2009, and filled out with eight each of the other two mentioned above.
Good news! All the brassica seeds have germinated in the greenhouse, the red pak-choi were the first to pop out. This is the first time I have tried pak-choi, so I will be very interested to see how fast they grow.
As I turned to go home, the phone call starling gave another misleading trill. The end of a busy day!