Our 2020 Garden (1)

The coronavirus thing is making itself felt in many different ways. Some of them for some people are of course disastrous; for us thus far the impact is no more than a little inconvenient, and for that we are grateful. I suppose that for everybody though it does result in changes of behaviour, some of those are problematic, others maybe quietly creative as we suddenly find we have time to do some of the things that busy lives have put off. In the great scheme of things what follows is of little importance, but we have decided to focus a fair proportion of out newly discovered spare time on the garden, and are taking much pleasure in doing so. There’s no sense here of producing a “how-to” blog – that would be presumptuous indeed; rather it’s just a record for ourselves of one of the things we attempted in this most curious of years.

So here’s a beginning. Things are growing from seed in various places ….. some veg of course, but only for fun, we have no prospect of being “self sufficient”. Flowers …. there are Delphiniums, Hollyhocks and Foxgloves for height; there are Cornflowers and Lupins for medium height, and there are Dahlias, Nigella and Begonia for spread. There are also Sweet Peas which we hope will grow high and fragrant on their wigwams of cane. We’ll see!

It’s been a joy, incidentally, during this last warm and springlike week to see and hear a fair number of insects, mostly Bumble Bees, already out grazing. Prominent was this lovely Peacock butterfly. Presagers of Spring indeed!


  1. I wanted to ask you about the IGO canoe, as I am planning to make one, my son having made a v successful rowing boat skin on frame. I noted from your song of the paddle blog that your boat ended up at 28 Kg. I was hoping for less, as I will be gentle with the boat and lightness will be important to me. I wondered whether you think I could get away with thinner stringers- the inch by three quarters is obviously just a round number. I also note you opted to move on to a different style boat. Did you find the skin on frame construction unsatisfactory?

    1. Hi Paul – nice to hear from you. Slight fit of nostalgia actually; as you say I did indeed move on to another boa, a cruising kayak designed by Iain Oughtred, but has since moved on altogether and sold both to folk who I hope are still enjoying them. The problem was with my physiology rather than either of the boats; my back didn’t take kindly to sitting still for prolonged periods!

      I guess that you cold use thinner stringers, I have tendency to over-engineer if I’m honest. I did find the designer (from whom you presumably bought the plans) very helpful and quick to respond to a couple of questions that I had along the way, so I would recommend your running your thoughts by him. The skin on frame construction was fine in fact. I thoroughly enjoyed the build itself. If I remember correctly there was a recommendation to steam the gunwales into their upward curve; that’s a recommendation to take seriously. Other than that it was all pretty straightforward. Once the skin was on and shrunk ( I was able to buy some cotton canvas fairly locally to Leeds where I live) it was surprisingly strong and watertight, taking up only a cupful or so of water when we launched.

      All in all I would strongly recommend it. Wear gloves when you’re tying all those knots though!

      With all good uses,



  2. Hi Alan, Please excuse the off topic message, I am trying to track down friends of my parents (Christine and Mike Warren) could you please let me know the best way for me to get in contact with you? Many thanks Caroline Bareham (was many years ago Warren!)

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