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You’re Wondering Now

Another year gone, passing quickly aren’t they! Looking back I can see that it was a pretty good one. Here’s my summary of 2022, including my book list, for me and for you if you like 😊


A cold, wet start to the year but we did start some plot clearance and enjoyed a bit of wildlife watching. There was even a bit of snow, but too wet to properly settle.

First harvests of the year were Purple sprouting broccoli, carrots and leeks.

This was a great little story, quirky and fun.
I was drawn in by the cover.

This thriller was hard to put down, although none of the characters were likeable, even the ‘good’ ones who weren’t really that good.

I would have enjoyed at least another 100 pages of this book! A fascinating look into the lives of the characters and of the generally less good side of South Korea.


Storm Eunice caused a lot of damage at the end of the month, with several trees down in the area and the usual debris gathered at the corner of the allotment site – including Ivan’s whole polytunnel!

There were also some lovely blue sky days to enjoy and the Wildlife plot got a bit of a makeover with signs and stepping stones.

The wildlife camera showed us who had been sharing the pumpkin which we left out. Mostly mice and this squirrel plus a very interested cat. I had my 4th Covid jab and though I hoped for a good reaction, I was happy to remain working from home.

I really enjoyed this book though I struggled a bit initially (I usually read fiction). Living in the area covered in the book enhanced the passion of returning to old haunts and stirred up forgotten memories. It’s certainly heartfelt and encourages the reader to get back out there and make the most of the natural world, while we still can.

The characters were interesting, I was glad of the Principle Characters list so I could keep checking it. Although I enjoyed the breakout of each character I was surprised that we didn’t return to them a bit more and some of them were more standalone than I’d expected. The Russian setting added another layer of interest


British Summer Time brought some lovely warm temperatures but there were cold nights and a chilling breeze at times. We found frogspawn in a puddle so added a tiny pond to the wildlife plot. Within the month we had fully fledged tadpoles!

We re-located our bench to the back of our plot near our little pond. Hoping to be surrounded by flowers later in the year.

A usual March with lots of weed clearing and time spent showing new plotholders around.

I usually enjoy a du Maurier tale. The setting was lovely and some of the characters were interesting but I was disappointed with the ending in particular.

A beautiful setting, nice characters, lots of tasty sounding food and wine and the story was okay.


Aah, April! Sowing began in earnest, hot days but cold nights. Very few showers reached Marsh Lane, although clouds regularly threatened.

And a frog moved in to the new pond on the Wildlife plot – give them water and they will come 🐸

Jamie bought a small tumbler composter, but it wasn’t as successful as it claimed it would be…

I wasn’t sure I wanted to read this, but I’m glad I did. It’s weird feeling so sorry for Chrissie, who was so evil. I think a chapter by her mother would have been interesting as she is even worse than the murdering daughter. Or perhaps the father should have a chapter too – how awful was he?! With so many horrible characters it’s a surprisingly good read. 

Such a moving story. Too sad that it’s happening in the real world of today. The story left me wondering so much about the other people left behind whether in Athens, Syria or going through the UK immigration process. And now, thinking how these broken people could now go through this hellish journey only to arrive here and be flown off to Rwanda for processing… It’s appalling that so much depends on the luck of where we happen to be born.


It was a mainly dry month and we had some lovely hot days to enjoy around the bank holidays – perfect, we even had a barbecue and on that day we watched a nest of great tits fledge – such a delight to see! We also saw a swarm of bees resting in a blackcurrant bush – that caused a stir on site!

Ivan’s irises produced a stunning display and new growth is making the site look very appealing to more new plotholders.

And HAHA joined in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations by decorating a tree in the High Street.

I discovered how tasty bean burgers are using home-dried bean stocks as well as the usual bean stews. And finally a few beet thinnings to harvest as the PSB was over.

I quite enjoyed this time-travelling book, but I think the story telling wasn’t to my liking. Although there was a lot of sadness it didn’t touch me as much as I feel it should have and, for that, I blame the writing style.

I read another review which hated the final line and I fully understand why; it just didn’t seem necessary. It had interesting, though mostly sad characters and I enjoyed picking up on the 3 generations but I need something a bit more cheerful to read next. If you want to read a book about a child-killing-child(!) then I found The First Day of Spring to be more thought-provoking. 


It was a great growing month with plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures (even reaching 30°). There were some good showers but mostly watering provided by us during glorious early morning visits. June was also the month when proper harvests started to arrive with broad bean salads with mangetout, radish and tiny beets. Chinese Dragon radish are my go-to for radish after this year’s excellent results.

And we had lots of froglets in the Wildlife plot pond! And the wild flowers are really putting on a lovely show with the teasels providing interest at every visit – discovered they are carnivorous with little ponds in their leaf joints.

I enjoyed two social events – the first proper socials sine COVID arrived: HAHA stall at the Jubilee event and a HAHA Work Day.

I really thought this was a good read. Such a terrible journey from Acapulco to America and such great characters. I particularly loved the little characteristics of Luca and would read another Jeanine Cummins book.


Phew, what a hot, dry month. So much watering required, but the early morning plot visits really were a joy.


And, with temperatures reaching 37°, you need to keep on watering!

And the amazing news – England won the Euros! The women’s team achieved it, such great scenes of a fantastic team!

It was so hot and dry people were tending to have early mornings or evening visits. It was beautiful and Colin did an updated drone video for us which shows the lovely growing plots compared to the dried paths.

Courgettes began to play a major role in our meals along with potatoes, lettuce, patty pan, runner beans, carrots and garlic.

Definitely gripping and thrilling. Had a few issues with the ability and confidence of Mirabelle given her upbringing, but it didn’t spoil the need to keep reading.

I loved this book set in Nazi Germany. Death’s narration was entertaining and added interest. The characters were beautiful.

An easy read. Zipping back and forth between the 80s and today kept it interesting. A bit twee for my taste but ok for a holiday-type read.


August came with a Met Office extreme heat warning and it didn’t disappoint – it reached 38° on the plot and plants were flagging or bolting as the ground dried up so quickly. 

The pumpkin matured far quicker than it should have and the beans had a short life this year though the borlotti were prolific.

HAHA had a lovely picnic where prizes were given out to Jenny and Zoe for best plot and the tallest sunflower (3.51m).

What an amazing month and what relief when we had a torrential downpour and the site sighed.

French beans, cucumbers and tomatoes joined the other veg in the trugs.

Zimbabwe and London this was an interesting book based on the sadness and trauma of domestic abuse. The trial demonstrated how domestic abuse is considered in different countries. The characters were well defined and any irritation with Diara, and Sophia, was forgiven by their back stories.

Phew. That was a harder read than I expected. The characters were interesting but Heathcliff was so awful. I didn’t expect that. And young Linton, ugh. I know he was abused horribly but what a wimp, he really got on my nerves! Even Catherine (the elder) wasn’t a nice character. 


A month that felt like Autumn had arrived in the early morning visits but then Summer returned for enjoyable plot days. No blight this year nor many slugs.

Always a great harvesting month including our very own delicious home-grown outdoor Mangomel melons and plenty of squashes.

The time came for my 5th COVID jab. Boris Johnson eventually resigned as Prime Minister and incredibly (not in a good way) Liz Truss took over…

The zinnias continued to put on a fabulous display and I got some decent photos of a Hummingbird hawk moth on the Wildlife plot. It was a very good year for spotting these amazing moths.

Sweetcorn, pak choi, peppers, Honeyboat squash and melon were new goodies to be taking home from the plot.

I was drawn to this because of the Tenerife link, though there was less Tenerife than I’d expected. It was a good read with excitement, intrigue and a bit of romance. There was a bit too much detail at times but overall I enjoyed it.


Our first proper frost arrived on 11th October! What a shock when the rest of the month was quite reasonable with plenty of Autumn sunshine. The zinnias and various other plants couldn’t recover from the -2.8° temperature. 

Less of a shock was that we got another Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, after the embarrassingly short and appallingly costly few weeks of Liz Truss.

The final courgettes were harvested before the frost came and tomatoes and peppers were taken home to ripen. I created my first ‘mini planet’ of the site.

And my first ever batch of rosehip jelly – note to self, use bigger rosehips if possible.

The frost stopped the courgette production line but Cavolo Nero appeared along with masses of tomatoes and butternut squash.

This was such an emotional read through the generations. I did get a bit confused with the characters and should have kept a closer eye on the family tree, but I really enjoyed each chapter covering a different individual and their joys and, too many, troubles. It made me sad, but the end of the book made me happy

I couldn’t put this down. All through I was wanting people to tell the things that were left untold. Beautiful and so sad. I really like the way Celeste Ng tells a tale and her characters are perfect.


Two pieces of bad news hit the site – idiot vandals and a greedy housing developer.

We tried not to let it get to us and we’ll continue with site as we have for the last 13 years. And some good news – I actually grew some quite decent parsnips! Not many, but enough to enjoy.

 And we had a HAHA Autumn Work Party with a welcome bonfire.

It was an extremely wet month, we weren’t used to it this year. Our first parsnips went home.

I wouldn’t call it Science fiction because their isn’t enough of the science in it. It’s more of a social commentary on people who happen to live in a sort-of alternative universe. I would have enjoyed a bit more from the characters, but maybe that’s the point… maybe they couldn’t achieve ‘more’. It left me thinking, which always makes me consider it a well-written story and it also left me a bit sad, though I did enjoy reading it. 

Twisty turny. It’s him! No, it’s her! No, it’s her! No, him … on and on till ohhhh


After that very wet November, the Arctic blast arrived! Wow, what beauty in that rime ice which formed due to the freezing fog.

The temperature dropped below -10.2° on a couple of nights but no snow for us and it was mostly rainy/grey and mild for the rest of the month.

And then Christmas came and went with some lovely pressies, including these interesting books which I’ll be delving into in 2023.

Brussels sprouts appeared on our Christmas harvest list.

And here are the last books I’ve read this year, though I’ve just started another Kevin Wilson one, so it seems he’ll be first on my reading list for 2023 as well.

**spoiler alert** Great location in the Kentucky mountains, interesting characters and an unexpected courtroom drama. Maybe it was rather ‘and they all lived happily after’ but I’m glad! 

Wow, the lead character made a lot of poor choices in this story. Clearly used to being on the outside he didn’t fit in and it seemed like he didn’t want to, though I think he just couldn’t. Even when offered decent things, he couldn’t appreciate it and didn’t respond as expected which caused upset. Definitely a story to leave you thinking…

A tiny little Christmas story filled with kindness and extreme sadness, especially as it’s based on fact

Song title provided by The Specials as in 2022 we said goodbye to so many, including the great Terry Hall. Now we’re ready for 2023 and I wonder what is has in store for us…. HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Published by Belinda Robinson

Photos of planting, growing, harvesting, (occasional) vegetarian cooking and wildlife - this is why the Marsh Lane Allotment site in Hungerford is such a fabulous place to spend time. A record of successes, failures and it's a handy reminder for me too. From 2017 each post title brings a song to add a little extra music to the world - enjoy!

2 thoughts on “You’re Wondering Now

  1. A most enjoyable look back over the year, and you read some interesting books.
    One way and another it was certainly a memorable year for us all.
    Let’s hope that next 2023 will be a better one, and it’s a good plotting year. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Flighty. It seems like 2023 may be more of the same… and, as an El Niño year, maybe we need to start investigating drought-loving plants… Uh-oh, now I’ve written that it’ll be the wettest year ever!!
      Happy New Year 🥳

      Liked by 1 person

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