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Saturday, 27 April 2013

It's a bit wrinkled, but it's up and ready to go

‘After straining, heaving and complaining’ (only a Brit of a certain age would get that reference, I suspect***) our polytunnel is in place and, to a degree, functional.

I got up on Friday morning expecting to polish off the text for Mike Pannett’s Yorkshire but what was that? In the sky?

Yes, the sun was out, and A. was politely suggested that this might be the ‘calm, warm day’ the makers had decreed as desirable for the installation of the polythene cover.

Ha! We’d no sooner got the single rectangular sheet unrolled and draped over the steel frame – it measured roughly 30 feet by 25 – than the sun disappeared behind a large cumulo-nimbus, the wind started gusting from a northerly quarter, the polythene billowed like a giant sail, and we were trapped inside, clutching desperately at loose ends and trying to anchor them while re-reading p.17 of the Handy Guide to a Successful Erection.

Step 1 involved wrapping one end of polythene around a batten and nailing that in place over the door lintel. Step 2 ought to have involved a pause and a cup of strong tea, but there was no stopping us now. We hastily shovelled great clods of soil into the trenches we’d dug around the perimeter and firmed them down.


We were soon into pleating  - yes, making pleats – in the part that went around the corners and into the door-frames.  Not our strong point. By this time A. was casting longing glances at our latest acquisition, the staple gun. So, while she went into rapid-fire mode around the door-frames, I burned off my excess zeal by stamping on the soil. That polytunnel may split, it may catch fire, but it ain’t going to move.

This morning, less than twenty-four hours later, and before we’ve even put the doors on, it comes into its own. It may be wet out there, there may have been snow showers at Leeds Airport, but I shall be warm and dry – digging six small beds under cover and planning the year’s salad crops.

I haven't yet reported on my day at the races last Monday, which was hugely successful. But it’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

*** The reference is to a line from Bernard Cribbins’ hit ‘Right Said Fred’ (1962). Listen to it on  You Tube:


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