Let me take you back in time to when the letter arrived one autumn morning with the allocation of Plot No 15. That same evening I took my first foray into the magical world of allotments.
Turning off the noisy, busy road away from the rush hour traffic, a gateway led into another little known world of tranquility. A narrow grassy lane with high shadowy hedges hid from view oases of abundance and produce.
Fruit trees reached out their branches and their leaves brushed against the sides of the car as we edged slowly forward into this unfamiliar lush sanctuary. Bordering the lane, Red Hot Pokers and poppies provided a splash of colour against the greenery.
The lane came to a halt and turning left we were enclosed either side by roses & raspberry canes marking the boundaries of more plots. The plots on the right were larger and sloped steeply towards the railway embankment. Exiting the car our nostrils were assailed by the heady scent of a profusion of sweet pea clambering vigorously over a fence of wire netting. It was a dusky balmy evening; ethereal rays of the sinking autumn sun filtered through tall trees; the allotments were deserted and silent apart from the sweet song of the blackbird.
Plot No 15 was instantly apparent. Across the lane from the sweet pea fence and surrounded either side by lovingly tended bounteous havens;
partially enclosed by an old broken down fence was a sad neglected piece of ground.
The only bounty on offer was a covering of weeds knee high.
Old carpet; polythene; broken flag stones & bricks lay strewn amongst the weeds. One thing was for certain - this was going to be a challenge!
As the blackbird continued his song; undeterred by the work ahead, I conjured up visions of winding paths, heavily laden fruit trees, delicious peas scrambling through twiggy pea sticks, fragrant herb beds, old-fashioned roses and sweet pea clambering over picket fences.