Son number one returned from university yesterday. For the last time. Four years of living in a squat, swigging Frosty Jack and not getting out of bed in any hour which only has one digit have finally come to an end.
Anticipating his return, I had completely cleared all my washing, wanting to give him a clear run with his. There was an ulterior motive to this of course, as the last thing I wanted was for him to say that he 'hadn't done his washing because there was one dirty tea towel in the washing machine and he didn't want to mess up my domestic activities'. Mmm...fat chance. So I left home yesterday, leaving a house so tidy that it could have been in an estate agent's window. Lady H (she with an eye for a cobweb) had been on Thursday, so my house was positively sparkling.
Coming back after work, there was a delivery on the doorstep. A damp cardboard box which was slightly battered at one corner. Peeling back the soggy cardboard I realised it was the 'established vegetable plants' which I had bought for the bottomless pit which is my allotment. Having lost yet another round of seedlings to pesky varmints, I thought that if I bought some larger plants, then perhaps the thieving vegetarians might be a little deterred.
Well these plants didn't look much bigger than the last casualties, but they had been lovingly wrapped in wet newspaper and thrust in a plastic bag, so the least I could do was plant them. Fast forward two hours and I resemble Pigpen from Peanuts and have a blister on my hand the size of a walnut. Three beds have been dug over (again), three beds replanted (again) and the runner bean plants have been replaced for the third time. I know I've said it before, but we have spent that much money over there that the husband and I could eat out every day for the next month and not even scratch the surface.
So as at 6.00 yesterday evening, I had sweetcorn, cauliflower, leeks and onions. When I go over to water my leafy babies later today I am just hoping that they will still be there. I said to the husband that if this new lot of plants don't survive then I am going to tarmac the allotment and stick a bench on it with a plaque on the back which will read,
'In memory of Mrs G who hated this place with a vengeance'.
So plants in, watered, and bathed with a liberal dose of organic bug deterrent, I staggered back to the house.
My drive was full and sons one and two and daughter number one were home. My previously sparkling house now resembled the squat son number one had left behind, with bags spewing dubious contents across every flat surface. Son number one was still in that 'happy to be home' stage, where he wanders from cupboard to drawer, dreamily saying things like 'aaah, glasses', or 'oooh, cutlery'. Obviously he has been swigging from bottles and eating with his fingers for the last few months, so some re-training on how to behave when in polite society might be required.
Looking round the Bring and Buy sale which was previously my kitchen, I decided that there was only one way to get through the next few days, by which time most of the unpacked bags and boxes would have made their way to the garage, where they will reside for the next three years before the husband finally relents and takes it all to the tip (if daughter number one's stuff is anything to go by).