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Advanced Fieldwork

We were going to go to Fronrhydd on Good Friday to spend the week 'working things out', but plans were delayed by a day as my brother had a polytunnel to erect, which was too good a learning opportunity to miss as we have a big frame to refurbish in Wales.

Good Friday was a lovely day weather-wise, much better than the following day as it turned out.

We loaded up the BFG (our Toyota Land Cruiser) with as much stuff as we could, plus dogs of course. Debbi was going to follow me on her motorbike, hence the weather reference above.

We chose a non-motorway route because bad weather was predicted, and Debbi had no desire to ride across the Severn Bridge in the wind and rain. It was dry but cold when we left, but as we got further into the journey it got wetter and windier. The bad weather peaked over the Brecon Beacons (naturally), with heavy wind driven rain. However good her waterproofs were, they would never cope with that, so we stopped more frequently from then on to allow Debbi time to thaw and dry (slightly).

Of course, the rain stopped and skies cleared as we reached Pembrokeshire, but too late to save Debbi's sanity. Still, respect to Debbi for completing a 300 mile ride in some of the worst conditions imaginable. Apparently though, the gloves didn't cope so well with the conditions.

Priority Number 1 sorted - got Broadband up and running. I suspect in a few months time this is going to be way down my priorities, but for now it seemed important.

We planned a trip to a Facebook group's Car Boot sale on Sunday. It was an hour's drive away, but wanted to introduce ourselves to group, and start a bit of networking. Weather wasn't good, but we went all the same, only to find no sign of a Car Boot anywhere in the area Sat Nav took us to. Mobile signal was too bad to check Facebook, so after driving in circles for a while, we gave up and headed home. Once back in WiFi heaven we found it had been cancelled the day before because of the weather, but we missed the post - ho hum - there's always next time.

On Monday we took a trip to a local second-hand furniture shop. We were looking for a kitchen table, but could have come away with a variety of things if we hadn't stepped back and said 'be practical'. We did find a good solid table, which was promptly purchased and returned home....and used!

Later in the day we did a bit of pottering around. I had a good look at the polytunnel frame with slightly more educated eyes, and decided best thing to do with it is to go for a bit of upgrading. I'll be speaking to the suppliers later in the week to see if it's going to be viable to get it kitted out with more modern fittings.

In the afternoon we made a start on the soft fruit bushes. The 'autumn' ones needed cutting back to ground level, so me, Debbi and Dexter (the Collie) set to work on them. Dexter has a unique interpretation of what 'help' means.

Our neighbour (the previous owner and gardener) helped us out identifying bits, and also prompted a bit of revision of school-day geography. Fronrhydd is on the side of a U-shaped glacial valley formed during the ice age (the real one, not the cartoon film!). The base layer under the soil is a Moraine or Till. This is a layer of ground rocks and sediment carried in the ice that got left behind when the ice retreated. This gives a very free-draining base, but does only have a thin layer of soil on top. We could disturb the Till with very shallow digging, so should ensure raised beds are maintained in all our growing areas.

On Tuesday I took a train back to Hertfordshire. It was my turn to get my Motorbike down to Fronrhydd. Still keeping fingers firmly crossed, as the weather forecast isn't looking as bad as it was at the weekend. The train journey home was made slightly interesting by the fact that when I left Haverfordwest I was in a forward facing seat. After stopping at Carmarthen, it was a little disconcerting to experience the train pulling backwards out of the station! As it still seemed to be heading generally east, I accepted this quirk. Later still, after stopping in Swansea the train reversed direction once again. Perhaps the driver was getting bored! The Wednesday weather was generally fine for the motorbike ride back to Wales, encountering just a couple of light showers on the way.

Back at Fronrhydd, Two out of Three of the 'white-goods' we had ordered had been delivered, a washing machine and dishwasher. The third, a fridge freezer, was found to be damaged upon receipt, so they are having to get us a replacement.

It was late in the day, so we had a choice of connecting these up, or going to the beach for a sunset stroll - tough decision!

Thursday morning saw the Washing Machine up and running, followed by a trip out for supplies. We needed :

  • a proper wheelbarrow (visit to builders merchant)

  • secit... secatier... seqat... garden scissors for cutting plants!

  • a 'big-hole driller' (there is probably a proper name for it, but you get the gist) to allow the dishwasher to be plumbed in under the sink

  • gardening gloves (two pairs - because apparently I'm expected to do gardening!)

  • nut feeder for garden birds, and nuts (a priority item of course)

  • a metal ash bucket (failed on that quest)

Not on the list were a kitchen clock and a biscuit tin, which we ended up with all the same.

Debbi spent the afternoon gardening, digging her way along the top row of raised beds in the Veg Patch. Having had to cope with Hertfordshire clay for the last 17 years, apparently it was a relative pleasure to dig the soil here - I'll take her word for it!

I started discussions with the polytunnel people on getting a quote for getting our frame back up and covered. They wanted pictures and a wish list, so have sent them an email on the subject. I know it's not going to be a cheap thing to do, but it is a commercial quality frame, so would be stupid to replace it with a lesser, though possibly cheaper, new frame and cover. Waiting to hear from the suppliers on this one.

Then distracted by an email from the solicitors. The buyers solicitor for our house in Benington had asked a lot of questions that needed an answer. I spent a good hour or so mostly stating the obvious, but it had to be done.

As a reward to Debbi for her efforts digging, and to celebrate my daughters birthday (in her absence - any excuse!), we booked a table at The Shed in Porthgain in the evening. They call themselves a Fish & Chips Bistro, and quite rightly so. It quickly became our favourite place to eat in the area once we discovered it. All the fish is caught fresh same day, and the batter they cook it in is something very special. Unfortunately Debbi's preferred Monkfish Tails were finished, so we both had to 'suffer' John Dory - what a hardship - accompanied by a bottle of local cider. After eating, we sat on the harbour wall as the remaining light disappeared - a perfect end to a busy day.

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