31 days ago
First up are the trees, another five apple trees: a late fruiting variety. These should be harvested, in a few years time, in November. If the 23 trees I planted by the river survive, I should thus be harvesting from August right the way to the run up to Advent. Sadly, following my visit to the Countess of Chester on Tuesday, I have stitches in my back and hard exercise is forbidden and so they will not be joining my two peach trees, at the top of the area once known as the jungle, which is now the vegetable garden, for a good two weeks.
222 days ago
I am waiting for the village facebook page to have another two minute hate against me for taking down the 1950s iron shed known as the snake barn. “It was part of my childhood, it’s Welsh cultural history, bloody newcomers, it was so much better with the previous owners, blah, blah, blah.” bleats some in-bred sheep shagger. It is callled the snake barn becuase in it I stored some of the vast amounts of asbestos the previous owners had squirrelled away in the sheds and fields here and I want to keep my kids away from that. But now the barn has gone and that means that you can actually see our gorgeous 1600s listed farmhouse as you walk down the lane to our home.
250 days ago
A mixture of sweet and sour cherry trees were among the first things I planted at the Welsh Hovel after clearing the jungle. It was three and a half years ago that I planted eight trees alongside the wall that overlooks the track down to the house. I have added a couple since with fanciful ideas of cherry blossom falling onto the road.
588 days ago
I hear that there was a near biblical deluge yesterday and it looks like there is plenty of rain ahead back at the Welsh hovel. And I have a couple of assistants going in to water both the garden and the big lawn so I hope I shall return to something in good shape. As long promised, here is what I have turned the jungle into. The project is far from finished but its no longer a jungle.
760 days ago
When we arrived here at the Welsh Hovel almost three years ago, our land which runs along the lane down to our farmhouse was known as the jungle. Almost the size of a soccer pitch I only discovered that it contained three asbestos and corrugated iron sheds after about a year so thick were the bushes, trees and undergrowth. Now, of course, it has been turned into an enormous vegetable garden but at the far end there is still work in progress.
868 days ago
The cooking apples keep falling from the tree which sits on the edge of my vegetable garden, the area formerlly known as “the jungle.” There is only so much stewed apple we can make – I still have two large jars in the fridge and you can’t eat apple crumble every day. So last night it was chutney making.
869 days ago
Joshua and I are now almost at the end of On the Shores of Silver Lake the fourth of the books by the great libertarian author Laura Ingalls Wilder. My old babysitter, DD, is also re-reading the series, just for her own pleasure, and is now a book ahead of us in The Long Winter. She says I must store up well at the Welsh Hovel as tough and cold times lie ahead. However, on that front, today saw a gut-wrenching setback.
876 days ago
“I don’t envy you, you have your work cut out” piped up neighbour and fellow Irishman E as I harvested another crop ahead of winter storage. Once again, I said that it was he who had inspired me to create a football pitch sized vegetable patch in what was the jungle, with his warnings of a post Brexit lockdown apocalypse with empty shelves in all the food stores as Christmas loomed. He repeated his dire predictions as I dug up the rest of the spring onions.
1004 days ago
The area that was once the jungle runs about 60 yards from the back of the snake barn (a huge, green, iron shed whose days are numbered) gently uphill alongside the lane down to the Welsh Hovel. It is about 30 yards wide. And it is now really starting to take shape as you can see below. We start at the bottom, behind the snake barn looking up what is a gradual slope. The biggest tree, about half of the way up, is a pear tree. On this side of it, the only things planted right now on the main patch are 15 chilli, hot pepper and sweet pepper plants in a row next to the cloches which have only just come off.
1048 days ago
The concrete bases, where asbestos clad sheds once stood in the area formerly known as the jungle, have now been ripped up with the concrete lying at the bottom of what will be the Ha Ha. And with big planks salvaged from inside the big green barn, the snake barn, which – pro tem – stops one seeing the house from the garden, two small vegetable patches have been created. Yesterday, being a non nursery day for Joshua, we went gardening.
1056 days ago
Here in Holt, the last village in Wales, where snitching on your neighbour with unfounded allegations is deemed fair game but something that cannot be discussed openly, a bright sun shines this Tuesday morning revealing another night of, modest, frost. So far this frost season the blossom on the fruit trees has survived and peas and beans planted a few weeks ago, grow unaffected.
1090 days ago
Okay it is a small patch but it is a start. What was the jungle now has its first vegetables. And for the avoidance of doubt, once again my role was not managerial but as a co-labourer. The rows are about five yards long and contain runner beans, broad beans, peas and mange tout.
1099 days ago
The workers arrived at 7 and the skip shortly afterwards with the first project the removal of the asbestos shed at the bottom of the vegetable garden, the area formerly known as the jungle. Notwithstanding my work into the early hours on family papers, I’d set an alarm and was there at the outset to make coffee for all.
1117 days ago
At the back of the area once known as the jungle, there is a wooden fence along which I planted a row of fruit bushes last year. Starting with raspberries at the top, there are also gooseberries, blueberries and blackcurrants. With the exception of one raspberry, all have survived the winter so far and are thriving as you can see below. The plan?
1119 days ago
Within 48 hours of placing an order with Amazon, my new toy had arrived. I have one just like it at the Greek Hovel but it was needed for a specific task, the long term plan to dismantle the hideous shed, made in good part from asbestos, at the edge of the area formerly known as the jungle. I set to work at once.
1120 days ago
This patch is the far end of the area formerly known as the jungle. Behind the wall is the lane down to the hovel and on the opposite side of it is the only other chap in the village who is cursing the defeat of Ireland by Wales today. Eight rhubarb plants went in last year and eight have emerged this year. They are now all covered with pots which, I am told, gets them shooting ahead faster. Round the edge are the surplus lavender plants from the lavender hedge we are creating, and in the middle one of the cherry trees planted 14 months ago along the edge of the garden and which is coming along very well indeed. So I hope for another bumper rhubarb harvest to make rhubarb gin for the Mrs, rhubarb crumble for Joshua and er…what else do you make with rhubarb?
1122 days ago
When we first arrived at the Welsh Hovel, you could barely see this shed which was buried amid foliage at the near end of what was known as the jungle. Today you can see it in its full horror and it is pretty ghastly, is it not?
1130 days ago
I have moved from a managerial position to that of an honest peasant labourer in the gardens of the Welsh Hovel, the area formerly known as the jungle, which runs along the lane from the Hovel up to the centre of the village. We started with the planting of 100 lavender plants to create a wall alongside that lane. Spurred on by a discussion earlier about how I had once eaten lavender ice cream, Joshua felt motivated to join myself and my colleague Paul and, as a bonus, he brought the lady who looks after him two afternoons a week who, it turns out, has green fingers.
1133 days ago
Behind a hut made largely of asbestos, which when we arrived was almost invisible as it was surrounded by the jungle, is my new pride and joy. Yes, it is my very own compost heap! Exciting or what? I can’t wait to tell daughter Olaf, I bet she will be thrilled. The Mrs, a townie who does not know anything about gardens, now understands about separating waste and I only have to remove the odd bit of plastic from what she dumps there. When the weather improves, there are a stack of rotten apples and some leaves from the formal lawn to go in.
1142 days ago
Just a couple of snaps from the top inner field where I created the strawberry patch but also planted a second orchard – the first being apple only and down by the river. The trees are a mixture of apples, crab apples, pears, plums and two small fig trees. I have ordered another tree – a rare species but one native to Britain. More on that later when it arrives in the next week or two.
1144 days ago
If I tried to explain my pride at what you see below to daughter Olaf she would just roll her eyes with that “daddy you are so old and boring“ look. So, dear readers, humour me and share my pleasure at what you see below.
1602 days ago
The Jungle is where we told my young son Joshua that his beloved three legged cat Oakley had gone when he er.. went to a better place. There Oakley plays with the lions and tigers and is happy. But, rather confusingly for Joshua, there is, or was, another jungle here at the Welsh Hovel.
2688 days ago
I am still utterly confused as to why a 13 year old boy from the Calais Jungle was allowed to enter the UK because his father, a Jihadi, who entered the UK illegally, lived off benefits for five years and goes back to Afghanistan for holidays has somehow claimed asylum. Surely his father should be given the order of the boot as we really do not need to offer asylum to Jihadi murderers and thus his son has no right to enter the UK. What am I missing?
But what of the hundreds of other children at Calais? There are some who say that none should be allowed in as they are not refugees, they lost that status when they entered the first safe country, somewhere like Turkey. That is surely callous in that some of these kids really do have their closest living relatives living in the UK. They should surely be re-united as families. I am not sure the same applies when the UK relatives are distant relatives, surely the moral imperative of reuniting families must have a limit? Ist cousin maybe, 3rd no way.
On the other side of the fence are rich liberals like Gary Lineker and Lily Allen who blast as racists anyone who say we should not rush to take in all those claiming to be kids. The Mail today carries a harrowing tale of one such liberal who offered shelter to a 13 year old. He turned out to be 21, a jihadist and a nonce who threatened to kill her kids.
Now folks like Lily Allen, and my wife,. will say
2698 days ago
Born to two celeb luvvie parents, the pop singer Lily Allen has never had to struggle. Growing up in lefty and leafy Islington she attended 13 different schools including uber posh Bedales and was booted out of most of them. She is fabulously wealthy thanks to her pop songs. And now, when visiting the Jungle near Calais, she has apologised to those there on behalf of the whole country. Lily you are an out of touch elitist and can fuck right off.
2712 days ago
It was a total wet dream for liberal media luvvies Matt Frei and Jon Snow of Channel 4 News as they discovered Pepsi in the Calais Jungle. Originally from Indonesia, Pepsi had started adult life fighting as an Islamofascist terrorist before he moved to Libya where he came out as a homosexual which under the Gadaffi regime was, apparently, fine. But the Western backed rebels who ousted Tony Blair's pal Gadaffi were not so progressive when it came to gay folks so Pepsi, we are told, had to flee to Italy as an illegal immigrant. Actually he could have fled anywhere or even taken a plane back to Indonesia. He opted to illegally enter Italy and Europe but C4 gossed over that detail.
In Italy, Pepsi decided to start dressing as a woman but says he still likes to be described as male.
Clearly the place where Pepsi would fit in best is swinging London and thus Pepsi hiked it up to Calais