Have you ever looked at something you love, studied it’s features carefully, looked deep into it’s eyes and held it’s hand and said ‘I can’t do this on my own’?
I was like that with the allotment on Saturday. The place has always been weedy and I’ve never been able to keep on top of it. Usually looking down on the plot it doesn’t really matter as I’m happy to be there and there’s always something to celebrate or be pleased with. But I couldn’t do that over the weekend. All I saw were weeds and the sheer size of the project. It made me want to cry. What made matters worse was old Joe in the next door plot had just finished clearing both his plots and they now looked perfect.
Oh, don’t worry, I’m not feeling entirely sorry for myself. I’m annoyed too. This is mainly my own doing – procrastination is a terrible thing – but even if I did spend all my spare time down the plot, to do this on my own would always be an uphill struggle (again I realise that gardening is never easy work, but it could be easier). I have to admit to the fellow bloggers who have their own allotment partners, I’m rather jealous of you. The few times I’ve had help on the lottie have been brilliant, with double the work being done, good conversation and a good dose of moral support. (this is, of course, not a bad word about Dave with all of this, nor is it a non too subtle hint for him to come out more. He made it quite clear from the start that as someone who doesn’t like vegetables, growing or eating them, he wouldn’t help out, which is fair enough really.)
So on Saturday night I was thinking and wishing that I had one of these allotment partners. Someone who would gladly pop down to the allotment and water the plants, dig and prepare beds without (a huge amount of) complaint and, most importantly, share the love of the food being produced. It was then I realised I was being completely stupid and ignorant and really quite ungrateful. I already had an allotment partner.
But i’m getting ahead of myself. I’ve yet to tell you what i did down the plot.
Ironically (I think, I never could get the hang of irony), the time I’ve been most pessimistic about the plot is the the time when it’s been most successful. I think I may have known this at the time as rather than despairing and quickly running away (something I’ve done a couple of times) I concentrated on the good bits. I hoed and weeded in-between the red onions and garlic and noticed how healthy they were looking and I tidied the new fruit and herb patch and considered putting some straw around the strwberries that are showing some lovely new growth but decided against it with all the crazily strong wind around. I also started to dig some of the weeds too. The weeds weren’t actually dug up, they were just loosened and the ground is now less compacted to make weeding in the future a less arduous task.
I also saw with gladness that about half the purple sprouting is now ready to harvest and there are still Brussels that can be eaten, so by the time I left the allotment, I was in rather a good mood. What made it even better was while walking back home along the canal, I heard a woodpecker and saw a kingfisher. A flipping kingfisher! In London! I would have never thought in a million years I would ever see one in town. A couple of summers ago, I visited a hide in the middle of the countryside (Wakehurst Place to be exact) situated in the perfect habitat and perfect conditions to spot these fine birds and we sat there for over an hour and saw absolutely nothing.
So anyway, back to my allotment partner. It’s Carrot fly of course! I was crazy for not realising this before. She may be unable to come down to the plot as much as she (and I) would like but she has enthusiasm and enjoys being down there. She even enjoys digging and has said she’ll visit has much as she can. Sunday, it being mother’s day, I was out with Dave and family and CF poppped down to the allotment in need of exercise. She came back after having planted two gooseberry bushes I’d been meaning to get in the ground for weeks and a rhubarb crown and she dug over and removed the weeds form the patch I started the previous day. Cheers Ju! You’re a good girl you are, a good girl!
Also. Pictures of that crazy 50s, alien hunting type game are here. I’m the one in red, Dave’s the one with the red beret.
Also, also. I have just discovered that the man who runs the snooker behind the flat is the brother of one of Chas n Dave.Which is pretty cool.