Back on the settee at home now, looking at the rain falling through the beams of the floodlights in the all-weather football pitch over the way. It's a beautiful urban sight. And I can enjoy that now, I'm no longer thinking, Oh no, rain! My poor allotment is a swamp! And I can think like this because the rain stopped this morning and I was able to get my pond dug, at last.
The BEFORE photo shows the lowest part of the allotment, where the path is flooding. The compost is frequently flooded, too. What was I thinking of, putting it there, where it will not only get sodden, but where it's a bloody eyesore, too? See that's the trouble with blogging about the allotment, one's blunders cannot be quietly ignored, they're out there for the world to see.
So, first, I had to move the compost cage into the very north east corner. It's held together with wires, and getting them undone, getting the ground dug out and levelled, getting the cage moved, getting the compost moved, re-assembling the cage... it all took time. And I was itching to get on with digging the pond, the while. Anyway, the compost got a good old turning, in the process. There were still bloodworms amongst the oomska, but they looked a bit sluggish in the cold and muddiness. Anyway, it's in a drier place now. It can't have been too soggy where it was: a field mouse was living there. She started to hop away, and then we both stood and looked at each other for quite a long time. Quite an endearing wee thing to meet outdoors.
I chose what seemed like the lowest part of the entire allotment, and began to dig. I was delighted to find the clay just over a spade depth down. I cleared down to that, an area of about 4x7ft. And then got into the clay. Hard to dig down into, but surprisingly dry, powdery, even. Quite easy to slice into once you got the hang of it, despite the (mostly quartz) pebbles. I threw all the clay up into a separate heap from the topsoil. The second spade depth of clay was much harder, more impacted. I cleared a few square feet of that, see the DURING photo.
You can see on the BEFORE photo, there's standing water on the course of the path. Once I'd finished digging, I cut a wee channel from there to the pond... It was wonderfully satisfying to see all that water wash down and transform a hole in the ground into a pond. Muddy looking water of course, as you can see in the AFTER photo, but it'll soon settle. And there's loads left to do to get the banks nice and low so the froglets can get out next year, and get the path dug out and filled loosely with bricks so that the water runs down through it as a kind-of French drain. But all-in-all a bloody good day's work, and it can rain all winter.