Don’t be caught out by early Easter

Boots Photo: David Parker/Daily Mail/PA Wire
Boots Photo: David Parker/Daily Mail/PA Wire
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Many years ago, I remember packing up our Ford Anglia (Deluxe) with all the paraphernalia required for a camping holiday in the Lake District. Spring was running late and so we chucked in an extra sleeping bag to act in the manner of a duvet. No point in being uncomfortable even if we were going to be under canvas.

So we could eat well on our limited budget we took along a pressure cooker to reduce our reliance on tinned food and the frying pan, and as an added comfort a couple of fold up chairs. We were going to have a week of luxury.

Things started off well. We set off under blue skies and in sunshine, but as we approached Kendal the skies darkened and the wind picked up. The weather was turning against us. It did not matter, these gallant young adventurers could take it all in their stride.

By the time our little car had reached Thirlspot, our optimism had been rewarded with sunshine breaking through the cloud. By the time we reached Keswick the clouds had given way to wall-to-wall blue skies. Things were looking good for our Easter break. We had, however, overlooked how early Easter was.

As night drew in, we huddled round our little stove and our pressure cooker of Irish stew and dished up a very acceptable campsite meal, before snuggling down for the night. It was flippin’ freezing. Worse the wind got up and the heavens opened. We woke to a scene of campsite devastation next morning with only one option available to us. Pack up our soaked stuff and head home.

The weather we had during late March reminded me of this. Very unsettled, often wet and windy and occasionally wintry. When the sun came through there was power in the sun, but the fact remains it is still early in the season, whether or not we label this time as Easter.

Be assured, spring is here, but while there is an Arctic chill in the air, things are moving quietly away for now.

This gives us good opportunities to get outside to potter around , tidying, snipping and sweeping. Preparing beds for planting by adding soil improving compost, feeding around flowering trees, roses and shrubs with Rose food or Fish, Blood and Bone. Onion sets and broad beans can go in now and potatoes very soon. When the weather goes off, as it inevitably will, dash into the greenhouse and sow flower and vegetable seeds or prepare beds or pots for tomatoes in mid-April.

Keep your eye on your pond fish. Their appetite is still suppressed by the persistent cool weather, but give them a little food to see if they are interested yet. More importantly, if ignored, ponds can become pea-soup green in a couple of days as algae grows rapidly, so check the UV bulb in your filter and/or treat now with barley straw to keep waters clear.