Forncett Allotment Association

Session 8 - 10th May 2010 (afternoon)

Written by A Digger.

Weather; promising (promising what, I don't know)
Weight; I wonder if it's time to drop this.
Hours worked; too long

This morning we had work to do at home. About three years ago I ordered some slate chippings to smother the weeds around the summerhouse and to enhance the area. The pile of chippings was now (a) smothered with dead leaves from the tree above (b) sprouting weeds of its own and (c) in urgent need of being taken to a place of safety before the workmen came to resurface our driveway. Logic apart, one ton of chippings weighs about two tons when divided by two people working on it. I scrabbled about on my knees as usual, and hubby-with-a-shovel hacked at the pile from the other side. We met in the middle around coffee time, and finished the job, and my fingernails by lunch. I had given my all, but I felt fine: a quick lunch later and I drove off to the allotment – but only to look at it.

 Three hours later I was done-for. I didn't know that yet, but by 8 p.m. I was in bed dictating my will to the cat. Oh my ...... everything! Back, legs, hip-joints, and hands: I ached. I pushed the control of the electric blanket up to 'personal sauna' and fell asleep.

What had I done to deserve this? You might think that my entire plot now resembled a dark brown crumble mixture, just waiting for the rain and sun to turn tiny seeds into mammoth veg that would reveal my Yorkshire genetic inheritance. No, I had in fact dug another two square yards of land. This would no doubt need re-digging before it could be of any use.

But what I did notice up at the plot were several weeds hanging their heads with shame from having drunk too much 'kill-all'; this was a sight to gladden my heart, the only draw-back being the remaining weeds smiling at the sun with an 'I'm all right jack' look on their faces. But chemical warfare in the shape of Agent Faintly Yellow was beginning to pay dividends. Ignoring the economic imbalance of the arrangement I decided to order some more – if only to watch the delivery man stagger under its weight. I had already forked out £25 for a sample bottle of weed killer, plus £10 to join the Allotment Association (AA? That's appropriate) and then there was the rent on the actual plot itself, the new spade, dibber, and the ball of string – no, that was a present from hubby-who-is-glad-I-have-an-interest. So another £25 on weedkiller, hey what the heck? Think of all those veg I am going to get!

The other thing I had done that day – as if two square yards wasn't enough – was to dig a hole in the ground to act as a cellar. I figured that it would get hot in the summer - on at least three occasions - so to keep my supply of bottled drinking water cool and my lunch too, I would almost-bury a plastic box in the soil. The box in question was about 2 ft by 18" by 12", and not strictly rectangular, so the hole took a bit of digging; also I wanted it at a bit of an angle so as to provide easy access, and so that the lid would lie flat to the ground. After repeated fittings, the box sat in the hole, with its lid on and an old compost bag to hide it from view. So successful was it that only five minutes later I managed to step right on the top breaking the lid and scaring myself half to death as I began to disappear from view at a jaunty angle of 45 degrees. My leg wasn't overjoyed to be stripped of skin in several places, but it saved me having to shave that one at least. I would have to bring a paving slab to use as a lid now. Luckily there was no one there to witness this act of madness. Where are they all? My co-plotee had evidently been working on her plot, netting and fleece was much in evidence; veteran was probably picking his produce by now, and lady-with-baby-in-wheelbarrow's plot had sprouted its next set of weeds, encouraged by the rotovating that had been done earlier. A new contender for the most interesting plot was Tucker; he had started in the middle of the plot and seemed to be working his way erratically to either end in turn.

Good news had come in from our chairman-lady, we had a grant for some rabbit-proof fencing; 'hooray!' Then 'boo' to the fact that the amount given was not to include any costs for labour. We are a self-help organisation evidentially and must do the work ourselves. So; who do we know with a digger?