We eventually got the water timer working the night before we left for the coast. It took 2 visits to Builders Warehouse (for bits that my hubby had rendered unusable and extra sprinklers) and many many hours in the garden. It doesn't look great - black piping winding around the beds...but hey, at least it did the job.
We got back home during what felt like a heatwave and first chance I got, I popped out to the garden. The babymarrow and spinach where wilting, but they've since recovered nicely. Casualities where 1chilli plant and some bean seeds - I can confirm that overwatered bean seeds do indeed rot.... :)
So, apart from the bits of overwatering and underwatering, the timer and sprinklers where worth the effort, and their cost will eventually be offset by the savings in my veggie bill later in the season (that's what I keep telling myself). I hate wasting water, so I'll only use the timer when necessary. It makes more sense to inspect each bed and water where needed.
On a sad note, my gardener has gone and used up my wonderful horse manure on the lawn :( I only have a quarter bag left and am guarding it fiercely. My hubby already thinks I'm obsessed, because I was mourning all the kitchen peelings I had to throw away while on holiday. What's wrong with keeping them in the fridge to bring back home for the compost heap?
Have been terribly lax with posting pics, so I'll make an effort to get my camera hooked to my laptop sometime this week:)