This time of year as the Daffodils sway and bend their golden heads with the wind always reminds me of the visit I made a few years ago to The Farm, where Hoppity and Skippity frolicked in the bright sunshine oblivious to the cold wind blowing.
Unfortunately, the brief glimpse of the arrival of Spring a few days ago has been put on hold as the weather pummels us again with wind and heavy rain.
The garden and the allotment are flooded, but pale yellow Primrose flowers lighten up the grey blustery day.
The daffodils make me think of a recent meeting between the Council and Allotment holders.
Not all of the plot-holders welcomed the surprise news that the Council propose to upgrade our Allotment site. Vocal expostulations from The Civil Servant with his tenderly nurtured plot and The Daffodil Man who has £10 000 worth of bulbs planted in his plot - both of which the Council propose to turn into car-parking spaces expressed their outraged feelings on the issue.
I empathised with them, as one of the Councils intentions is to replace all the boundary fences to the plots with a standard uniform fence – potentially green wire mesh.
As I have only just repaired my Chestnut paling fence that was damaged in the winter storms, this does not amuse me; not only because of wasted expense but also the thought of the plots losing their individuality and character. Next thing, we will be instructed that all our sheds must be of the same size and be painted the same colour and that we must only grow a certain type of potato!
It is true that the Allotment site looks rather shabby, but I think this is part of its charm.
Yes, the lane into the site is full of potholes,
but the hawthorn hedges and wild flower/weed strewn verges provide cover and food for the birds that sing sweetly as I make my way towards my Plot.
As for the rabbits hopping about…. well - who could dislike little Peter Rabbit
or Benjamin Bunny?
The natural, half-wild abandoned ambience of the allotments creates a feeling of being in the country, far away from the city. A place where time forgot and where Nature can thrive.
and the grass replaced with wheel-chair suitable aggregate surfaces.
(This is not meant as any disrespect to wheel-chair users.)
In fact, until he died a few years ago, The Captain - a long-time plot holder put other allotmenteers to shame as he tended his entire beautiful and productive plot on his hands and knees, due to his disability of not being able to stand because of two bad hips.)
The introduction of Community Gardens will attract attention – possibly unwelcome, to the site, unlike the current ramshackle state, which offers a sort of cloak of invisibility.
The proposed toilet block would be a convenience – although personally I think a bucket suffices should the need arise. However, these days people expect home comforts at all times and gasp in horror at the old ways of making do. Gone are the days at my late Grandfathers allotment in Dulwich when the tomatoes thrived with their daily sprinkling of wee; but any true gardener knows that male pee on the compost heap is known as Liquid Gold as it activates the composting process. (In today's modern society differentiating between male and female pee is probably not socially acceptable, but the facts are that female wee is more acidic!!)
I have a dread that the last vestige of back to basics and down to earth living will be replaced by an area influenced by all things Corporate – with streetlights and CCTVs, electric wheelbarrow charging points; health & safety signs and shopping trolleys to wheel the produce from our plots to the designated car parking spaces (and where once daffodils grew in abundance.)
So whilst I do appreciate their taking an interest in the site, I am not overly enthused by the proposals, so my suggestion to the Council is to simply
- fill in the pot-holes;
- enforce the re-allocation of neglected plots;
- strim the grass a few times a year;
- plant some more hawthorn hedges for security around the boundary of the site;
- enjoy the sight of a multitude of daffodils and then….
leave us alone to be free to commune with Nature as we want. (That includes the Naked Plot-holder whose bare bottom was spotted very early one morning amongst the broad beans! Of course, maybe he had just been watering his tomatoes!)