In mid-december last year, I answered the door to a harried-looking delivery man who declared (in a rather surly voice) that he had a 37 box delivery for me and that he had to be back on the road in minutes. I was enormously confused, I hadn’t ordered anything recently, and was on the verge of telling him it was the wrong house when he gave me my husband’s name. Intrigued, I went outside. We hadn’t discussed any large purchases and I couldn’t for the life of me think what it might be, which made the surprise all the greater when I realised that it was a poly tunnel and I finally realised what he’d meant when he said that my present would be hard to wrap. I was absolutely overjoyed! But I became somewhat deflated when I realised that we’d probably have to submit a planning application for it .
Those of you living outside the UK will be blissfully unaware of the planning process we’re subjected to. In general I agree with the process: we live in a beautiful part of the country and it’s awful to see some of the dreadful things that have been built upon it. But it can be a bit frustrating to have to ask for permission for every little thing, especially when you live (as we do) on a farm and you’re not at all overlooked. But still, we eventually got permission to erect the poly tunnel eight months after I was gifted it and I couldn’t be happier with it! It’s like an enormous tent of dreams! I have plans galore for this, starting with the installation of a central bed next week as I think I can squeeze a bit more room in there for growing. I spent so long going over all of the features with our oldest son, for whom the overhead irrigation which allows you to turn the water on on hot days and dance about getting cool couldn’t be beaten. Personally I’m most excited about the winch that allows you to cover the mesh side with plastic to increase ventilation on really hot days. All in all, it’s going to make a massive impact on our ability to feed ourselves from the garden during the hungry gap. It’s pretty ugly but I’m utterly smitten with it. Next year: melons!