Saturday, 11 August 2012

The Allotmenteers

Taking on an allotment is not just about working a plot. It is about becoming part of a community. We allotmenteers are an eclectic bunch with words of advice, growing tips and anecdotes handed out freely along with cups of tea, surplus seeds, seedlings and samples of produce.

Let me introduce you to some of our little community.

First there is The Captain who despite his advanced years and physical limitations puts many of the younger more able-bodied plot holders to shame. With his wickedly droll sense of humour and two artificial hips The Captain manages his entire award winning plot on his hands and knees. Formerly in the Navy he still meticulously takes readings of the daily rainfall and other meteorological events, recording them in his log.

Opposite the entrance to The Captains plot, on the corner of the lane christened The Mall and the area called "Free Speech Corner" is the plot belonging to The Builder. 

Irrepressible and fun loving, The Builder incorporates his skill at floral art into his allotment.

Old clematis montana stems woven into an unconventional scarecrow   

Further along the lane is the plot belonging to The Quiet Ones; a very sweet, friendly couple who do not let the necessity of communicating through alternative methods prevent them from passing on their wealth of crop growing experience and being a welcome part of our little community. 

Their plot is exemplary with produce in abundance; a quirky scarecrow and scarcely a weed in sight.

Other members of our little community of fifty-three plot holders includes;

The Professor whose painstaking method of diligently weighing his potatoes, counting out his seed before planting and measuring the precise distance between his crops rewards him with an outstanding harvest of superb quality and the first prize at this years award ceremony.

His sweetcorn are second to none and the envy of all!

The Pearly Queen - a fellow vegetarian and conservationist and with whom I discovered a previous connection. (The clue is in the name!) 

Whilst she was away  - the rabbit did play! (look closely at the bottom left amongst the grass)

Then there is The Civil Servant, winner of the best allotment last year; formerly the chairman of our allotment committee, but who tendered his resignation following a differing of opinion with the council. 

Thus follows The Reluctant Chairman who took over from The Civil Servant.

The Daffodil man whose passion is for growing daffodils and whose plot contains nothing but daffodils.

The Newcomers have already begun to make the plot their own, with woven willow and hazel structures acting as rustic supports.

At the top of Sweet Pea Lane is The Bee-man who with ten hives is somewhat of an expert on honey bees. 

(The above photo is not his allotment, but another location where he also keeps his bees)

The Woodsman - whose plot is a fascinating thicket of fruit trees, hazel and willow, with crops grown haphazardly underneath and around the trees with a greenhouse nestling in amongst them all.

The Reverend - whose ministries often take him overseas and so whose plot is governed by nature.

My neighbouring plot holder - whose tasty raspberries I partook of upon my arrival at the allotments, is the gregarious, generous and popular Paddy (short for Paddington), as just like my childhood favourite - the adorable little bear, he too emanated from the shores of Peru. 

A wonderful living willow chair at the highest point of his plot provides a comfortable vantage point.

My other neighbouring plot holder is Mr Production. He has no time nor space on his plot to waste on frivolous flowers (unlike me - as I seem to spend more of my time on my flowers than on my veg!),

but his produce would rival the most superior of supermarkets. (Although actually I stand corrected. Three stray Hollyhocks of a most enviable colour stand smugly in the top corner of the plot.)

The Postman at 89 years old is our oldest plot holder and has been at the allotments the longest. His plot  is as an allotment should be.

I of course am The Soap Lady and am known for using the herbs I grow at the plot to make soap.

However after being caught photographing the other plots I will probably now be known as The Nosey Parker! 

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