Friday, 29 August 2008

The life and soul of the plot

Let me introduce you to my current squeeze: Jumbo Pink Banana Squash. I admire the way he spreads himself across the soil in a gregarious fashion. Fortunately JPB's a suggestible chap: with a well placed stick I can steer his intentions. He's currently flourishing between my pregnant sweetcorn, making himself useful - quite unlike his uncooperative cousin.

Squash tendrilsJPB doesn't suffer fools. His tendrils choke any passing miscreants. It's immensely satisfying to see him mete out justice on any nettles that try their luck.

I've recently discovered the story behind his moniker. You see his fruit are outsized: twenty inches long.

Wife is concerned. Me, I'm enjoying the spectacle. His absurd dimensions bring a touch of slapstick to the allotment.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

A different season

The sun is up, the sky is blue, and I'm at the allotment. My spade is sleeping, because today I'm here to harvest.

I amble between the verdant beds. The strawberry plants are bare at last. A couple of courgettes have reached maturity; maybe we'll fry them in butter alongside dinner.

I check the nettle soup - it's brewing well - and pluck an occasional weed, more from habit than neccessity.

My neighbour wanders over to compliment my squash. We assess the weather, and critique the slug threat level. He meanders off to examine his cabbages.

That's enough for now, time to go home. Maybe I'll drop by tommorrow after work.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Where is James?

James has become a dad again. He's taking some time off the allotment underground to assist Wife and Daughter with the new arrival, who we shall temporarily label 'Daughter 2'.

He promises to be back in July. But we know he's a bit flaky don't we? So take that with a pinch of salt.

At least things are still growing:

StrawberriesIllicit strawberries

Monday, 28 April 2008

They're watching me

"Are you sure you want to keep the allotment? Because I've been told plots ten and eleven haven't had much done to them."

I flinch. This is a nasty surprise: my first skirmish with the allotment police. I muster a reply.

"Yes we do. We've been working the plot gradually. Last year we had five beds up and running. This year we'll have seven."

The clerk looks unimpressed. I decide new evidence is needed.

"My wife's eight months pregnant, so progress has slowed recently."

No reaction. I panic, and forget the primary hindrance to my plans - all the bloody rain. Perhaps this is the end of my allotment adventure, thrown out of the community in disgrace.

I wonder who blew the whistle. Was it the retired couple across the way? Or perhaps my shabby neighbour made a tactical nomination? Unfortunately my plot is adjacent to the car park, a location which invites judgement.

Finally, the clerk breaks her impassive demeanour.

"That's ok. Some people get a bit funny about these things, that's all."

Phew, a reprieve. I hastily pay the renewal fee and exit, before an appeal can commence.

My allotment

My finest bed

So ended my first year in the secret world of allotments. It's been an amazing journey (as they say on X Factor). Here's some memorable moments:

A sequel beckons. Will part-deux be bigger box office? It's certainly got a bigger cast.