The future's bright!

Picture the scene: Buckingham Palace around sixty years ago. Early evening, the sun sets over The Mall

HRH Queen Elizabeth: “Oh Philip! Oh Philip! I’m just heading off to bed! And I’m feeling a bit lonely…..”

Prince Philip: “Damn it gel, I’m trying to read this month’s Horse and Hound. Can’t you see I’m busy?”

HRH: “Oh come on Philly willy, you know you want to!”

Prince P: “Really Liz, I’m just not in the mood.”

HRH: (sternly) “Philip, this throne won’t succeed itself you know. If we want an heir then we’re going to have put in the hard work. Now put down that magazine and come upstairs now. I command it.”

Succession plannning, we would all agree, is important. And at Drooling Towers such things are taken just as seriously as in slightly more exalted places.

It’s particularly important this time of year, when the first crops have been pulled up and eaten, there are large empty spaces in the vegetable patch and still plenty of growing months left in the year.

Traditionally yours truly has been a little slapdash when it comes to thinking ahead, and I’ve only started thinking about how to fill the gaps once they have appeared, by which time it’s a little late.

However this year I was a bit more organised, and planted swede, fennel and cavolo nero seeds in trays about a month before the beds became free. This gave me a good headstart and, as you can see from the above, the seedlings were about 6in tall by the time they were transplanted into their new homes. Success!

Don’t, however, worry about old Drooling getting a bit too smug: the seedlings in the pic are the second batch – the first were eaten by slugs in one night flat…

On the ipod while planning for the future: The Housemartins / Me and the farmer. I tell you, if the farmer has this much trouble with slugs he won;t be in business for long.