I paid my allotment rent this week. Despite worrying constantly about where I will ever find the time to keep my plot, I found myself writing a cheque for £12 (brilliant value no?) and taking it round to the clerk's house. The next day I went to the site and had a wander with my camera on the way to my plot. As I closed the gate behind myself and looked down at all the productive little gardens the thought came into my head, "Of course I must keep it".
Will you come for a stroll too?
My plot is in the far corner of the site, so to get down there I try to take a different path each time I visit. So I get to have a look at all of the different plots, to see what people are growing and what is working and what isn't. Some plots are utterly immaculate, some overgrown. There is always inspiration in one form or another.
Halfway down one of the paths to the bottom I found a fig tree. I'm not sure if they'd had any ripe figs, but it did give me an idea of what to do with one of my little pot bound trees.
These plots are near mine. The one with the green shed is a thing of beauty, it really is. It won the best allotment prize for three years in a row, before withdrawing to allow other people a chance.
Down at the bottom there's a hedge (running behind the green shed) and a stream. In the hedge are all sorts of signs of autumn, some planted, some wild.
At my plot the cosmos are still flowering like mad, and at any given time there are bees frantically collecting nectar.
I removed the tomatoes, cucumbers and squashes and did some weeding. As I worked leaves drifted down from the tree at the bottom by the stream.
Birds were singing, as always, and it occurred to me that one of the things I love about having an allotment is just being there amongst all of the growing things. I'd happily spend an hour just wandering about and looking.
The shed next to me has had a break-in.
Such a shame, there have been a few lately. My shed doesn't have a window, so I escaped this time. As I said, we're in the corner furthest from the gate. Sad to think that people have walked all this way down through the allotments to destroy and steal. How could they not see the magic all around them? There is so little of value to a thief to be taken - just a few tools maybe.
I've made a decision of sorts about the allotment I think. I'll keep it for as long as I can, and try not to lie awake at night worrying about it. If I can't hang on to it, and it gets weedy and is taken away from me by the lady with the clipboard, then so be it. But the boys and I do love our little piece of land, and we are so very lucky to have it. And besides, I have all sorts of plans, and things I want to grow, and a big old shoebox full of seed packets. Come February, there'll be no stopping me.