corders in the hague

It's like having the Corders round for dinner - except the kids don't smash stuff and Mike doesn't drink all your booze. And when you're bored you can get rid of us with a mouse click rather than having to start tidying up the house.

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Location: The Hague, Netherlands

Friday, February 05, 2010

Folk Garden

So this is the new project.
Given my profound dislike of gardening, tending a large allotment on which we plan to grow our own organic fruit and veggies may not seem the most obvious choice.
But I'm actually quite interested to see how it all turns out.
The plot is 260-odd square meters and until last week belonged to an elderly gentleman who has - let's put this politely - neglected the place a bit in the last few years.
Putting it charitably again, I like to think he's left us a blank canvas. It looks like a scene from The Road. I don't think anything has grown there in years. First job is to dig up everything, plough compost into it and then lay drainage pipes to dry it out a bit - there's a little canal running along the back border behind the house so the plan is to drain water into that.
I think the majority of the space will then be taken up by low-maintenance lawn - the girls want to put a trampoline on it and I'm looking for a place to string up a hammock and set up a barbie.
We officially take possession in a couple of weeks, when I'm in Vancouver for the Winter Olympics. Irmie and the girls are planning to have a go at cleaning up the little hut and maybe the greenhouse while I'm away and to leave the backbreaking spadework to me when I get back.
It looks idyllic covered in snow, but Irmie says it seems a bit more daunting now the snow has melted. Now it looks like a soggy stretch
of World War I no-man's-land.

The little hut, meanwhile, is gorgeous as you can see. No power or mains water, but we collect rain water and there's a little tap operated by a foot pump. There's a two-burner gas-fired stove, but we're not sure it'll still be there once the former owner's stuff is cleared out. I'm hoping he'll just leave everything there as there are a couple of handsome pairs of wooden clogs I have my eye on. We're mulling putting a solar panel on the roof to power a laptop so I can work there while Irmie's harvesting runner beans.
The allotment is part of a complex of Volkstuinen - Folk Gardens in English - which also features a little cafe and store for buying gardening stuff.
I will keep you posted when I get back and launch my horticultural career.


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