If you took a look at my allotment a mere week ago you would think that it was an overgrown piece of scrubland. The collapsed shed waiting to be put up, the pile of sleepers waiting to be turned into raised beds and the fruit trees trying to poke their heads above the surrounding weeds just add to the air of neglect.
Move forward a week and you would still think that it was being managed by allotment wannabes who would be lucky to grow a potato let alone manage a plot of lovely organic veg which will keep them stocked up for a good part of the year. Yes, the weeds have been strimmed back and the sleepers have been put into position but the beds are still not dug over, let alone any seeds purchased. I, however am determined that this year is the year of the allotment and our plot will no longer be the embarrassment of the site.
If you have been reading my blog you will probably think that my main motivation is to provide my family with organic veg and reduce our exposure to pesticides. Although this is of course part of the story it is not why I want to win the best allotment prize this year. No, my main motivation is driven by something far more childish.
Our poor allotment has been neglected since Autumn 2016 as with Martin’s leukaemia diagnosis that December there has been little time for allotments until now. Luckily everyone up at the allotment has been understanding and even our neighbour hasn’t complained even though weeds must have been encroaching on to his plot. Everyone that is apart from one allotment holder who likes to compare his superior plot to everyone else’s.
I had already clocked him the year before when he was showing off to some friends who had come to visit. I did my best to ignore the gloating but a few months ago we were doing some work in the garden and I was the substitute labourer whilst Martin recovered from his stem cell transplant. This led to me hauling bags of soil around which I could barely lift and lugging them up to the allotment for the raised beds that we had planned.
I’m sure you can picture the scene – A young (ish) woman covered in mud, absolutely exhausted and standing in a completely abandoned and overgrown allotment plot wondering how her life had come to this.
I am sure you can guess who happened to amble along at that moment – yep, you got it, Mr Smug! Obviously it couldn’t have been any of the other plot holders that I would have liked to have seen and who would have offered words of encouragement. No, I get the one who wants to gloat about how much better his allotment is to mine. Obviously when he asked if I had just taken on the plot I could have just lied and not admitted to having had it for the last 3 years. I also could have just laughed politely at his joke about my ‘Chelsea Tractor’ but no, this was the last straw. Instead of laughing politely this was one step to far – a Mitsibishi L200 is NOT a Chelsea Tractor and what’s more I actually needed it as a 4-wheel drive at the time to stop myself getting stuck on the grass track.
So, how did I respond…. I’d like to say that it was in a mature fashion but unfortunately that was not the case. In my defence I was exhausted after a year of trying to keep everything together through Martin’s cancer treatment so I think my haughty response of ‘this isn’t a Chelsea Tractor and the allotment is a mess because my husband has cancer’ before jumping in the car and wheel spinning off was fairly restrained.
I do however have one thing to thank Mr. Smug for. I am more committed then ever to my allotment and have a vision of glorious raised beds growing a vast selection of colourful, organic fruit & veg whilst also providing a haven for wildlife. And what is my motivation for all of this? Well, to take the 2018 Best Allotment prize off Mr Smug of course!
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