Saturday, 20 September 2008

Bonfires and pay dirt

Still keeping up with my regulation digging of two rows per day. Am finding some horrible weed, like a monstrous version of couch grass, but the roots are brown and like string, and the knots of grass that spring from the nodes coarser than couch. I'm getting closer to the middle, which was cultivated last year, and there the soil is blacker and marginally softer. You could say I'm hitting pay dirt. In the rest, both grey and yellow clay lie less than six inches below the surface ("Too heavy," said a passing Italian), so I am digging in all manner of organic matter, including the grass clippings from the path which my neighbours, the Adver couple, had conveniently mowed yesterday.

I've been putting the roots of this vicious weed on the pile ready to be burnt, and yesterday evening I went down and lit two bonfires. You have to go down after six to do that, and a couple of others were doing the same. Jack had brought wood and paraffin to get his going, and was burning his potato haulms. I told him paraffin was cheating, and lit both mine with just paper. The one on the Cat allotment burned like wildfire - it was mainly dried grass - and I had to stand well back as the flames leapt into the air. It was over in minutes. The other, on the SA allotment, was an attempt to burn a collection of old brussels sprouts stalks and diseased tomato haulms in an old dustbin that Blue had joyously knocked holes in when he found it. The fire took ages and a whole issue of the Adver, complete with photos of Billie Piper, to get going, and then it petered out after a short while. "Too wet," said a passing Italian.

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