Friday, July 11, 2008

July update

Charity registration
We have finally taken the leap, grown up and become a proper registered charity. One of our committee members, the heroic Robert Ward Dyer, took the lead, and under his guidance and at no cost to the project, we have smoothly made the transition. Our aims and work procedures remain identical; the main difference is the extra text and numbers at the foot of our letterheads. For our part, we have seen an increase in junk mail offering to deal with our (non-existent) charitable funds, and spend our (non-existent) income on consultancy fees. We assure you that we will resist, and any donations to our brand-new charity will go directly to the project as they always have.

What’s growing…In the garden, most things are growing beautifully. Our potatoes are an absolute triumph, and each week the children dig up a different variety, obsessively graded from first earlies, via second earlies to early mains and so forth, and totter back to school with a sackful of spuds for supper.

As the potatoes come up, so the squashes and pumpkins go in. Last year at one of our open days someone from a squash-growing association muttered deprecatingly about our restricted choice; earlier this year he (sorry, name forgotten in the mists of the co-ordinator’s increasingly addled brain cells) turned up with some exciting seed packages and now Amish Pie, Hubbards’ Special, Australian Cheese and many other varieties are going in. In the autumn we will have an extraordinary show and feast.

…and what’s not
Sadly, other crops are faring less well. The many varieties of sweet corn, brought back lovingly from a holiday in Peru - big blue corns, stripey red corns, enormous white corns like a moon disc - produced beautiful seedlings. Alas, within a few weeks the new super-squirrels – a kind of black, S-class squirrel, faster and smarter and hungrier than the grey ones, though we have them too – had worked out how to lift the net for his mates and slash down our sweet corn. Although we probably should have grown fewer varieties, since sweet corn cross-pollinates, it is harsh to have them all destroyed quite so thoroughly.

Under glass, sorry plastic
Our polytunnel is still there, although it has shown an alarming tendency to depart for pastures new whenever the wind freshens. We thought it was very temporary, having been promised our greenhouses back in four months, but now the builders have discovered exciting things in the yard outside – confused drainage and much interesting archaeology, including a well – so it seems our polytunnel may need stronger anchoring. But within its shelter, a crop of melons, aubergines and peppers is beginning to swell with great promise.

Our June open day went very well. We sold lots of plants, heard lots of good comments, enjoyed ourselves and we hope visitors enjoyed themselves too.

Other park news
We welcome the new director, Sarah Finch-Crisp, who joins the project from Lydiard in Swindon where she sorted out a similar park. We look forward to working with her, and wish her good luck. Our experience of this park indicates she’ll probably need it, but hey – we’re still here.

The café will, sadly, be closing on 28 July. The big hole in front of it is still there, but work will be starting in August to transform it – in a year or two – into the new park café. In the lake, the two cygnets are growing beautifully, and soon we should be able to return to the lakeside path, to admire them from the newly smooth and wide path.

The baddies are gradually picking off the lead from the Temple, initially from the rear, but now they have got brave and are peeling off the front too. If anyone sees them there, call the police urgently; it seems to be happening at all hours, not just night time.