Saturday, 17 February 2018

an interruption

We were without power for half the morning as Network Power were renewing the electricity cables across the farm, including the wire to our house.  Somebody called by a few weeks ago to warn us that they'd be doing the work in about six to eight weeks' time, then on Thursday they said they'd be doing the work on Saturday, and as well as cutting off the supply from nine onwards they would need access to the meter before starting the work and when they'd finished.

Two days did seem rather short notice.  We might easily have been on holiday, or due to go out for the day, and there's no way I'd give up something like the Chelsea Flower Show because a utility company wanted to get into the house with two days' warning.  And it could have been awkward expecting guests with no central heating and Network Power lorries blocking the lane.  But fortunately we had nothing planned, and with the Aga for cooking and the Systems Administrator having remembered to charge up the backup dongle for the wifi, life was able to continue much as usual, although each time I wanted to fetch something from the garage I flipped the light switch out of habit before remembering that I needed a torch.

The whole crew sounded as if they were Scottish so they were a long way from home, but thinking about it perhaps they have to cover a huge area.  This was the first time the lines have been renewed in the twenty-five years we've lived here, so going where the work is at any given time might take you a long way.  It seemed strange for them to be doing routine work on a Saturday, but perhaps they were running out of time to finish everything they had to do in the Tendring peninsular, and next week they will be in Basildon, or Gloucestershire.  Anyway, they were very polite and don't seem to have squashed or broken anything in the garden.  It is a pity we failed to discover the headless and wingless torso of a pheasant by the front door before they arrived.  I don't know if it was the work of a fox or the cats, but it did rather create the impression that they were in redneck country.

Meanwhile I sowed more seeds, and am experimenting with Derry Watkin's advice to put the ones needing a cold period before they will germinate in the fridge with some damp vermiculite.  I have a bag of vermiculite (it holds more moisture than perlite), and two small glass jars salvaged from the recycling that originally held Waitrose chilli sauce did nicely for pots.  The first packet only contained ten seeds, and after mixing them with vermiculite in a ramekin dish and pouring the mixture carefully into the jar I realised I'd used far too much vermiculite, and was going to have to spread the mixture over an unnecessarily large pot when it came to sowing.  Then I seemed to have added too much water as the contents of the jar became not so much damp as sodden, and I had to wick some of it out again with torn-off strips of kitchen roll.  This counts as Learning by Doing.

I made a diary note when to get the seeds out, and tucked them away in the kitchen fridge in a little tray intended for keeping butter in.  It has to be a better bet than leaving pots of damp compost in there.  I tried that last year with the overflow spare fridge and the compost dried out, upon which, discouraged, I never got round to clearing it away, until the pot got tipped over by a rogue bag of potatoes.  This morning I finally got around to cleaning up the mess.  It took a very long time to wipe the last bits of compost out of the grooves where the shelf slides in.

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