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Ah, one of the lovely sights of spring – hyacinths. However, you may also have noticed that this one is on the outside of my house, as its powerful scent made the lining of my nostrils feel like it had been scoured with chemicals. M’husband has complained about the impact of hyacinths on his nose for several years now. I insisted that they were far too lovely to banish although I conceded that they could live out in the conservatory rather than the house proper. But this year I joined him in olfactory misery, and out it went. Don’t know whether it’s me who’s getting more sensitive with age, or plant growers who are developing ever more powerful bulbs.

While the snow was still on the ground, I went to see SarahP’s allotment as I have volunteered to be her allotment buddy. I wanted one of my own, but m’husband complained it would be too much work and after some thought I felt he may have a point. So now SarahP is going to do all the thinking and planning, and I will go along and dig, and weed, and harvest – all the fun stuff.

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The allotment, along with some scrubby-looking winter greens and SarahP’s pride and joy, the polytunnel.

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We did a little digging and unearthed these Jerusalem artichokes. SarahP kindly said I could take them home, even though I’d never eaten them before. I duly found a load of recipes, all of which carried a warning about the amount of bottom wind J-artichokes provoke. So I am proceeding very carefully.

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Sparky had a good sniff round, then balanced daintily on the edging to the asparagus bed. That’s Young Aragorn stomping around upon the asparagus bed, doing his best to ignore his mother’s instructions to get off.

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SarahP inspects one of her compost bins. The lumpy green thing on her front is BabyF, now two and a half months old and snoring contentedly.

The first plan was for me to organise firstborn and son-in-the-middle, both currently on halfterm break, into washing down the polytunnel and filling sacks with well-rotted manure. However the manure is currently on hold whilst m’mother finds out the best time for us to raid the manure heap as m’father’s best friend Charles has put his slightly agressive French cows in the same field.

Third-and-final-son has escaped allotment work – for now – as he is away all week on a ski-ing trip with school. I am missing him hugely. I would usually get a Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter DVD viewing marathon in half term, as that is one of Third’s favourite activities. We usually go to a bookshop in halfterm, possibly the cinema, and have lunch at McDonalds or Pizza Hut. But not this time.

Firstborn does not want to come to a bookshop with me any more. Son-in-the-middle does, but all is dependent on whichever other appointments he has made. I miss the company of Third-and-final. However, even as I mourn I can’t help noticing how much more space there is in my house with only two boys, and I can’t help looking forward, just a little bit, to when they are older and (hopefully) move out.

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