Saturday, 20 February 2010

Yes, we have no potatoes

And I thought I’d been so careful. I spent time chosing my varieties painstakingly – pest-resistant, blight-resistant, disease-free, easy to grow – and having consulted just about every potato-grower on the allotment as to where best to chit them – Bernard keeps his in the study, John’s are carefully stored in egg boxes on the windowsill of his back bedroom while Henry, rather worryingly, suggests I consult my allotment book – I plump for the cool and bright, yet frost-free, garage windowsill.

Shirley and Gerald, who’ve been growing potatoes on the allotments for decades, helped shepherd me through the labyrinth of first earlies, second earlies, Desirees and Maris Pipers at the Malmesbury Potato Day sale last month, warning me off the tempting-looking Jersey Royals (I do like a nice salad potato) and steering me towards the – well, I wish I could remember which ones they steered me towards, but the mice appear to have eaten my carefully written labels, too. At least, I’m hoping it was mice. The alternative is just too creepy to contemplate < < SHUDDER > >. Well, I suppose it’s not too late to start again...

It’s that funny time of year between Winter and Spring when there’s nothing much going on and everybody seems to feel a little bit gloomy. I can’t help thinking that this must have something to do with the decision to make February just that little bit shorter than all the other months. It’s too wet to dig, too early to plant anything, too cold to stay out for very long – I even saw the odd flurry of snow earlier on this week. It’s the sort of weather when you feel you ought to be making a rich, nourishing soup or be safely inside, stirring a glistering vat of molten marmalade in a warm, fuggy kitchen… Except I realize I’ve missed the Seville oranges, too.

I have a sinking feeling it’s going to turn out to be one of those years…

But of course there’s always something going on in Great Somerford. It’s that kind of place. Doubtless thinking of a way of cheering everybody up in the midst of the cold, dank bleakness of this time of year, Carol and Maritsa have decided to put on a village concert in the Community Room with an exclusive line-up of local talent at the end of the month. There’ll be singing, there’ll be folk music, there’ll be one or two of Mary’s famous, wonderful, monologues, there’ll be a bit of Jazz, there’ll be more singing… I tell you, it's not to be missed. No stone has been left unturned to seek out local acts of all description.

Thankfully, no one has yet got wind of the singing dog…


...I think perhaps he needs a little more work on the piano part, though...


  1. We use Nicola potatoes and they have never failed to be tasty and usually virus free. There is absolutely nothing like a home grown potato....or several!

  2. I always plant Charlotte and she's safely chitting on the dining room windowsill. Naughty mice (hopefully - {{shudder}}). I'm sure it's not too late to start again. I seem to remember a Gardener's World trial where they discovered that chitting only makes a noticeable difference to first earlies. How bloomin' annoying though.

  3. I have neither selected nor chitted my potatoes, early or otherwise. I am dooooooooooooooooomed! Fancy a cup of tea sometime soon?

  4. Charlotte chitting away here too, and Swift and International Kidney (Jersey Royals by any other name) but I've got mine on the dining room floor in front of the french windows (much to the confusion of the cleaner), mine would definitely be eaten if I left them on the shed windowsill. The lovely little mice had a good go at the apple store, but the mouse I saw disappearing into a hole that led into the shed was MUCH bigger. Not that I'm saying it wasn't a mouse, no - certainly nothing but a mouse. Just a REALLY big one. With a big long pink tail like a worm. indeed.