Last Tuesday the 22nd saw parties of schoolchildren learning and having fun under the watchful eyes of Diane and a whole host of teachers and classroom assistants.  Part of their learning was to weed two small beds, and while little hands make light work, we’re not complaining!  We’ll be able to get stuff in these at the weekend.  A big “Thank You!” to them for this work!

After about a pint of squash after the children had left, it was my job to see the damage on the clay oven now it had fully cooled down, and if possible, put it right.The surface of Mars?

As you can see to the right, it took quite a ‘hammering’, but as I’ve already said, this is only to be expected and natural.  As the water gets gradually driven out of the clay and sand, its bound to crack.  To try to prevent it, we’d need PVA or similar, and we’re not going down that route.

If you click to enlarge this photo, down to the right you’ll see a hand print.  This is not wanton vandalism!  This is, in fact, Matt’s hand print, proudly displaying to the world that he finished it off, thank you!

Patched!We have quite a bit of puddled clay already mixed from way back when we made the first layer, so I wasted no time in getting a bucket-load of it, and started to patch it up.

This shows the right hand side of the oven and you can see just how massive some of these cracks were.  Nothing was loose or falling off, and once you got your head around just how deep some of these were -and how much ‘gobbo’ they took, it was fairly pleasant work.

Pretty soon, Matt, Diane and Gary came over to give me a hand, and between us, we got it all looking ship-shape.

To the right here is the same area as the first photo, but this time sans the massive canyons.Finished!

As you can see, Matt’s print is still there, and Gary very thoughtfully and carefully patched around it to preserve it’s unique shape.

To the left of this photo, you’ll just make out the isolated ‘blob’.  This was one of my patches.  Some little rat-bag had inscribed ‘sooky‘ in the clay, so I covered it up.  Mitzi takes a very dim view of vandals, and can be very vocal in those views.  Of course, this is after she’s clawed someone’s eyes out.

Back to happier matters, and the wonderful oven stand that Ian (no relation) made last weekend.Ian's wonderful oven stand.

And here it is!  You’d never guess that this was made using an old plastic and metal school chair and a piece of heavy-gauge grilling!  Notice how it all just seems to fit together so well.  Awesome!

This little stand was instrumental in the first successful cooking of one of Matt’s fabled rhubarb pies.  I’m sure that without it and the airflow it provides under a dish, it wouldn’t have cooked anything like as well as it did.

And so to today.  I briefly went down to The Plots for about lunchtime, and not surprisingly, given the heat, there wasn’t a Big Lot being down.

At one point, Diane was half-heartedly digging over a bed that will very soon be host to a load of salad stuff, and this little chap cheekily came over, loudly shrilling at us.Get on with the digging!

It seemed like he was shouting, “Get on with the digging!  I’ve got a family to feed here!”

Anyway, he left with ore than a beak full of worms and grubs, and luckily Mitzi wasn’t around to see him.

Still, what with the heat and all, even if she had seen him, it would be a case of, “…Yeah.  Whatever.  It’s far too hot to even think about chasing you!”

Tomorrow’s forecast is for more of the same, so I may well pop down to see my own badly-neglected plot in the afternoon.  I’ll find some shade, turn on Classic FM very quietly and doze.

Just like Mitzi!


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