The allotment is a place of highs and lows (it’s built on a steep slope) and sometimes it’s just peaceful, and if it wasn’t so beautiful it could be annoying. In reality there are daily scenes of excitement and violence that make East Enders look like’ tea at the vicars’.
What I find totally mind-boggling about the allotment is that my neighbours are so kind, so lovely, so wise, and such a contrast to (some, and I must stress some) of my neighbours on my street, who are mad and occasionally even bad.
Why are allotmenteers so special, so kind and so loving? Because they are the owners of ideas, dreams, earth and potential. They are like gods, overseeing the world of nature – vegetables, fruit, butterfly, beetle and bee.
On the allotment there are blurred lines of ownership, because since the rabbits have moved on, we don’t need rabbit-proof fences, so the whole place is open to bird, beasts, vandals, thieves and nature. The enthusiasm for sharing goes for everything – produce, tools, space, information. By contrast…on my street, when somebody puts an item in somebody else’s recycling bin, a notice is pasted up warning of the possible nasty consequences of sharing a plastic box… for a public waste disposal service. Very strange.
Back at the allotment… All is harmony, even though there have been some real dramas this season. A half-witted robin and his wifey built their nest about 6 inches from the ground at the back of the strawberry patch. It didn’t take long before the beautiful purpose built home was raided by something – it could have had four legs or two – whatever it was, the consequences were inevitable. Finding the little nest abandoned and thrown onto the path was a sad moment.
The weather has been so dire that everything is behind. Some things are weak and slow – like the asparagus, others are ostentatious and abundant, like the apple blossom. It is a difficult and challenging moment. I am particularly bad when it comes to braving the elements. The whipping wind makes me feel screamy, and the sea fret is hideous, but we are so privileged, even if our privilege is challenged by the wildness of nature and the human being.