One foot under

The picture above says it all really - we have a lot of snow for this time of year (well over a foot in a matter of days). The chickens hate it with a passion and are sulking in the shed and Ethel has decided this would be a perfect time to moult....

I really did try to get into work today but the bus gods were against me, honest.

A night to remember

I was aiming to get some arty photos for the blog at last night's event, but got caught up pouring soup and hot chocolate instead. Luckily, I grabbed one of the few young visitors left near the end who still had a sparkler alight for the photo above.

The weather was kind - just a brief bit of drizzle in the middle which hardly dampened anyone's spirits - and the level of interest was way above anything we've seen at a Hop Garden event previously. It seems we should have more events at the garden when no one can see it, although that does seem a little mad. Still, the bonus is no one can see the weeds.

My romantic notion of solar fairy lights and the like came to nothing as the panels didn't have enough sunlight to charge during the day, and any of the less robust candles went out as soon as the wind got up, so it was a little on the dark side. This made serving up drinks and food and taking the money a bit of a challenge, but people were kind enough to bear with us.

But the red and green tea light lanterns which lit the way up the main track to the allotment were lovely, and a wonderful taster for the magically transformed shed which Eleanor and Lynn had turned into a fairytale grotto for storytelling and lantern making for the younger visitors. I think having the event early on in the evening before the main firework displays was a stroke of genius, as those with smaller children were more than happy to come along and play with sparklers, safe in the knowledge there wouldn't be any fireworks or a bonfire to worry about.

As it was our first year, it was a steep learning curve and I think the main things we took away were the fact that everyone loved Marv's delicious vegetable soup (we'll have to book him up for next year); Lynn's storytelling and lantern making was a real hit and parents were pleasantly surprised to find it was all free (ditto on the booking for next year); we needed smaller jacket potatoes and to start them earlier; more lighting and seating available, and last but not least, more helpers!

A big thank you to Victoria for doing a sterling job on the raffle and raising £17 for the garden. The winner of the House of Commons whiskey kindly donated by our local MP was Hugh Kelly, who kindly donated it back to the garden for a future raffle, so it will be up for grabs again at our next event!
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