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May 22 form filling for the sake of form filling & rural broad band behaving like rural broad band

2016
05.23

I love the growing side. In our self-sufficiency days, which is how it all started, it was just a game we were playing at. But real life isn’t like that, there is all the bull that goes with farming today. Take this morning when I would have preferred to be doing something else, I was form filling for the sake of form filling, while rural broad band was behaving just like rural broad band. There was a water survey form I was obliged (who says so?) to complete for AHDB that would only swallow half an hour of my Sunday apparently. Then more nonsense from the Rural Payments Agency, I had got my 2016 application off in record time (for me) only to be faced with a discrepancy of 0.0001 (ha) because that particular land use column, which is usually pre-populated at their end, was empty. I am serious! I have not a clue which 0.0001 (ha) of Allewells’ field we are talking about to respond. Surely the return for 0.0001 (ha) must be so miniscule as to not be worth the stress caused on this sunny day. Then the Environment Agency need to know we have a change of abstraction meter with the electric pump now in operation and coupled with that the keypad for the alarm system is showing a fault.
Lawrence from the Council Holding, it is quiet time for him, has been giving us some hours of tractor work, bed forming, power harrowing, rotavating, topping. Mantas is back with us making up a gang of five, surely we must be catching up a bit now.
Onions are the order of the day, now the spring greens are done and the leek field already planted to celeriac, both salad onions (spring) red and white and bunched bulb onions, 5 or 6 to a bunch, that were autumn drilled.
I take a turn or two round the tunnels of an evening with my knife, at a time when all good people are slumped in front of their tellies. Slugs are in epic proportions after a mild, wet winter. John keeps an eye on the rabbits, but fails on the pigeon front.
We cover the lettuce to keep off pigeons, but this interferes with the predator/prey balance and the aphids are first to make an appearance with the ladybird slow off the mark.
Pam, Clyde, Dicken and the Strawberry Fields’ gang of five

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