Thursday, 20 September 2012

You Reap What You Sow - Or Maybe Not!

The thefts from the plots that I talked about in my previous post The Allotment Year have far from abated and we are becoming increasingly irate about the audacity of the thieves. Our produce has been filched on a radical scale by people who are most probably selling it on. A witness to the raid that included the theft of my Rosemary bushes 

Rosemary Bush??????

saw two hefty men and was able to identify that these thieves were not local folk. In fact they were from the same country as those others who have reportedly been caught shamefully purloining our Royally protected majestic birds; namely Swans, from nearby rivers and lakes to eat for their dinner.

Early morning at the allotment.
The rays of autumn sunlight slivered ethereally through the trees.  

Arriving at the allotment early in the morning, when the sun was still low in the sky and there was an unearthly atmosphere of peace and serenity - a quick inspection of my plot revealed extensive digging had taken place in one of the potato beds - the very potatoes that had suffered blight.

Potato Bed dug by thieves

A lone potato lay on the path as evidence that some of the crop had survived the blight, but not the looters. Beside the potato were a couple of runner beans that had also been left behind. Annoying too was a pile of mud from the digging that had been carelessly tipped onto my bark chipping covered path.

Broken rhubarb stalks

The rhubarb had been crudely broken down and trampled upon where the thieves had either been gathering my blackberries or else skulking from view. Further down the slope, in the middle of the patch of earth where I had recently pulled up the broad beans a large hole had been dug. Happily the thieves were out of luck as that bed is now fallow save for the jumble of horsetail roots lurking below ground - they are most welcome to those!

These looters have absolutely no consideration that what they have dug up in the space of a few minutes represents an accumulation of hours and hours of valuable time; from the initial transformation of the Plot, to the back breaking tasks of digging over the soil and carting heavy wheelbarrow loads of manure from the bays that are a considerable distance away, then sowing the potatoes that have been chitting for weeks not to mention spraying them for blight (albeit a wasted effort this year) and endeavouring to keep the seasonal weeds down.

As dusk fell - so the intruders arrived

Later during the week The Builder arriving at the site in the early evening surprised our intruders who despite departing hurriedly when they spied him, returned again after he had gone. The Builder himself returned later and catching them yet again in my plot gave chase along with Mr Bloom who had also arrived at the site. As the thieves took shelter amongst the raspberry canes in the neighbouring plot, The Builder harangued them to such an extent that The Reluctant Chairman also arriving upon the crime scene dialled 999 thinking that he was being attacked. The Police arrived within minutes and everyone gave chase across the plots.

Sadly the two burly ruffians escaped and unaware of the recent developments I arrived at the plot the next morning to find my gate lying open once again. A large footprint at the base of a gooseberry bush beside the fence provided an obvious clue that they had accessed the plot belonging to Mr Production from mine.

Gate into the Allotment from Sweet Pea Lane

Mr Production arriving simultaneously discovered that every one of his tomatoes including those that were still unripe had been picked and put in sacks which had been left outside his greenhouse. Evidently the interruption of The Builder, Mr Bloom and The Police had prevented the thieves from taking the sacks with them.

Upon learning of last nights developments I fervently set to digging up my potatoes, picking raspberries, blackberries and runner beans.

Autumn Raspberries

Juicy Blackberries

Word travelled fast through our apprehensive little community about the events of the previous evening. One ardent plot holder enthusiastically suggested that all we plot holders lie in wait for the thieves and conduct a citizens arrest.

During my childhood I avidly devoured a wholesome literary diet of Enid Blyton's Famous Five and other such novels like Emil and the Detectives - books where right always prevails over wrong and good triumphs over bad; so I have been instilled with a strong sense of justice from an early age and therefore I saw absolutely nothing wrong with this idea and had in fact briefly considered disguising myself

Scarecrow in a neighbouring plot

as a scarecrow in order to catch them in the act - possibly a little far-fetched I admit,  as my nerves most certainly would not stand the strain, never mind the question of my own safety - but lawlessness and injustice does at times tend to provoke me to lose sight of rationale.

Anyway I digress:

Unfortunately the ardent plot-holder copied the Council into her e-mail to the rest of the plot holders. The councillor in charge of the allotments was panic stricken and his anxiety was apparent through the grammatical errors in his hastily sent reply not condoning what he termed would be deemed as vigilantism.

Since the night of the chase our looters have been keeping a low profile, so we can but hope that they have been frightened off for good by their night encounter with The Builder and Mr Bloom. Or perhaps they have been made aware of The Allotmenteers new invocation;


I sowed
and Nature willing
so I shall reap!
You steal
and I catch you
so you will weep!!

Whilst this unpleasant turn of events was unravelling at the plots, something rather more poignant was happening in the background - The Captain who has been a plot holder for many years was very ill and had taken several nasty falls. This sadly meant that he would have to give up his award winning allotment as he could not continue working it.

Due to physical limitations The Captain has had to manage his beautiful plot on his hands and knees for some time now and is an example to those of us who are more able-bodied as to what can be accomplished if we put our mind to it, whatever the circumstances. He is a reminder of what allotmenting is all about - focusing on the positive rather than the negative side of life. We will miss him from our little community and despite the recent situation, the rest of us shall continue to persevere on with our plots - digging and sowing and hopefully in the future we will do the reaping and not the weeping!


Karen said...

I am so shocked that these thieve's had the gall to keep coming back, hopefully they will now keep their distance, and how terrible that you had to put up with such disgraceful behaviour. Good luck with your plot.

Soaps and Roses said...

Karen, thanks for the encouragement. It's nice to know other people find these thefts shocking too. But I won't let it stop me from enjoying the allotment.

sarah-jane down the lane said...

Oh! I came over to say hello and thank you for your visit and comment only to read all about the dreadful shenanigans at your allotment. Goodness me, how shocking...they have hopefully been deterred from a repeat appearance!My very best wishes to the Captain, what an amazing chap and as I said, thank you so much for calling in,

Sarah -x-

Charlotte Garden said...

Thanks for taking the time Sarah-Jane to stop by the allotment. Happily our band of marauders have not returned - hopefully scared off for good by Mr Bloom and The Builder!