It's quite remarkable the difference that a day's sunshine makes. Yesterday, within a couple of hours of arriving, we had tidied up this plot, dug out the bits of couch grass that had invaded from the paths and forked the soil over to get it ready. Today we went back and planted the potatoes, five beds worth - is that too many, I wonder? Sharpe's Express, Rocket, Pentland Javelin, Wilja, Charlotte, Marfona, Cara, Colleen, and some mystery spuds that had lost their labels. And there are some more of last year's colourful ones to go in too - the burgundies, blacks and Vitelotta. We shall be eating spuds for ever. With parsnips, I hope because those seeds have gone in too.
Each year I wonder whether it really is worth the effort. Then the sun comes out, the deck chair is set up, a bit of reading or knitting or dozing happens, hateful magpies lurk like gangsters, parakeets squawk, and a robin sings; and deja vu snapshots are taken of tools against the door, watering cans hanging off the railings, a rhubarb forcer waiting on some decent rhubarb. In due course, the asparagus will come up, the first green leaves of the potatoes will poke through the soil in neat little rows, the seeds of lettuce and rocket will sprout, weather forecasts will be checked and cursed, and we'll know the answer.