Forncett Allotment Association

Session 2 - Wednesday 24th March 2010

Written by Digger.


Weather warm; breezy; dry; not bad considering 

Cigarettes nil, although there have been so many little bonfires on the allotment I came home wheezing like a 60-a-day-expert.

Weight –a bit less! Look after the ounces and the pounds will take care of themselves – yeah, right!

Hours worked; about two and a half

I say session 2, actually I have been twice since the first time, but if I call this session 4 you will be scratching round looking for missed episodes.

I popped in one day wearing my Sunday-best to gloat about my four square metres of success, only to discover that the others had been hard at it too. A veteran allotmenteer (with other plots elsewhere) had obviously been carefully hand-digging his patch until a Rotovator had taken over and made short work of it. The only trouble is that the minced weed-roots might go on to make a very long job of it by procreating all over the place. But Veteran has a wealth of experience, so I bow to his greater knowledge – and bank balance: seventy-five quid to rotovate a plot!!

The other time I went to the plot, I did some work and came home really tired from digging: I poured myself a long cool gin and tonic and a long hot bath that wasn't. Not enough attention paid to contents of hot tap meant that I heaved myself out of the tub after shivering for three minutes in two inches of increasingly muddy water. So I wasn't in a mood to makes notes.

Today was better. Hubby-on-an-errand dropped me and my tools off at the allotment site and drove off leaving me no option but to get on with it. A robin sang in a nearby bush, and I marked out the second of my eight beds with old pink washing line, and four canes of varying height. Conscious of the need not to poke my eye out on these canes, and having no handy plastic cane-toppers with me, I rigged up an early warning system with what I had with me. Four sheets of kitchen paper and four lengths of string – who says years of girl-guiding, were wasted? I even had my handy pocket knife with me. Once today's stint (technical term, that) was marked out I sank to my knees and set about removing stones and weeds and preparing the ground. I work best on my knees; I pretend it's genetic because my pa did a similar thing when he was older, but actually it's to hide the fact that I really do have trouble getting back up.

I found a white grub: it had an orange head, and far too many legs for its own good; I mean what do you need 170 legs for if all you intend to do is curl up in the ground and frighten old ladies? Not knowing whether it was friend or foe I flicked it onto my neighbour's patch – not my co-plotee, that wouldn't be civilized behaviour. No, I flicked it over the blue plastic string onto she-who-hasn't-lifted-a-finger-yet's plot. I considered offering it to the Robin as a fresh snack and to encourage him to work his magic little beak over the entire area, but the minute you get Robins nice and tame, they start being a nuisance, getting under your feet. I had one at home that used to pinch the cheese out of my sandwich – and that's no word of a lie!

Before very long, I realised that it had an infestation of these wriggly things as I had despatched about a dozen of 'em over the blue string, and I fell to wondering what collective noun one might use to describe this little gathering. A congress, a throng, a squirm? – answers on a postcard please.

Then it began to rain. Only a bit of drizzle at first, so slight I thought it might just be the sweat of my brow dripping off and landing on my bare arms. But no, it had to be rain in order to teach me a lesson: she who gets dropped off, and left with no means of protection should take care to pack-a-mackintosh. Hubby-on-a-not-particularly-urgent-errand returned eventually, and presented me with a ball of green string (he's particularly strong on little love tokens - always has been) and the car key. He chose to walk home which I thought very noble, and I decided to forge on. I gave it ten minutes. No point in catching a chill, hey?