Today my allotment task was to start clearing the plastic junk that had been hiding under the now ex-bramble bush. It was an assortment of plastic crates, plastic sacks and many many now useless plastic plant pots and it was an absolutely disgusting job because the crates and pots had filled with old leaves and water (and in many cases I could just about tell it looked like the plant material had been placed there deliberately, as they looked like cuttings) and with the obvious combination of stagnant water, time and plant material, it stank, honestly it smelt like human sewage (although I’m pretty sure it wasn’t, well I hope not!). As you can imagine I was not feeling particularly charitable thoughts to the ex-owners of the plot this morning. Now I don’t mind clearing weeds and overgrown plants because plants grow, fact of life but what I do not like is clearing the junk of other people that should not have been left there in the first place! I can stay at home if I want to do that! Specially when the plot actually comes with a shed! It made me vow that once the plot is cleared absolutely nothing is going to be stored there because I think that was part of the downfall of the previous owners, as I was clearing their rubbish I could imagine what they had thought when they had placed the stuff there, “I know I’ll just put these pots / cuttings / old bags here and sort it out later” and they never did. Now I am not the most organised person myself but even I can see that leaving stuff like that there because they haven’t got the time to deal with it or they think it may become useful later is actually only delaying the problem of getting rid of the stuff and in this case the problem became mine. I think I’m probably going to turn into a real neat freak up there at the allotment because it will be the one place I have where (once it’s cleared of the ex-owners mess), any mess will be my mess, not someone else’s mess (as is often the case at home) and therefore it’ll be far easier to give myself a mental kick to sort it out, specially like I say when I know that just leaving it there, to be sorted later, is only making the problem worse, I’ve got first hand experience of that now. Also I am lucky enough that the plot owners next to me (an elderly couple, I’ve met the lady and she is incredibly lovely) are very, very neat plot holders and I think they’re going to be a good influence on me!
I’ve had a busy day today (and going out tonight to), I’ll blog about the allotment later but right now something far more fragrant. Girl Lacer’s class had a cake sale today so I just had to try Bill Granger’s Cake for a Crowd from his latest book, Bill’s Basics and it was do a little dance on the spot delicious (well I just had to try some to make sure it was ok ). An incredibly easy vanilla cake (in the introduction Bill describes it as ‘making opening a packet of cake mix look hard) and it really is just bung all the ingredients in a bowl and mix. And the result was incredibly light and fluffy and melt in the mouth. In the picture in the book Bill has decorated his cake with raspberries but I just happened to have blackberries, so I used them and they were very nice blackberries (nice and sweet compared to some from a few weeks ago), so when taking a big bite of cake the taste of the blackberry melded very nicely indeed with the sweetness of the cake. Granger said though you could really use anything to decorate this cake and Boy Lacer is now insisting on this as a birthday cake (and he’d been angling for chocolate before). Definitely a recipe worth getting the book for.
Of course baking the cake turned out to be a very last minute thing and I wasn’t able to let it cool down completely, so the icing is a little runny and then I had to figure out how to get it to school on time as I ran out the door (so ended up transporting it in the cake tin).
The cake sale was very well attended (I’m repping for Girl Lacer’s class again this year), with lots of mums helping out and so many cakes we couldn’t sell them all unfortunately (the weather didn’t help), but if I may be so immodest, my cakes did sell quite quickly, but maybe it was all the mums wanting at least some fruit with all that sugar!