Allotment Sadness

Last week we received a letter telling us that our allotment hedges were too tall. Apparently they need to be 6ft if near a path and 5 ft around the allotment. I went into a panic – I hate being told off. I’m not sure what I thought the consequence would be (some kind of allotment heavies visiting us maybe) but we took the first opportunity we had to go up and attack the bushes with aplomb.

We valiantly battled for about 2 hours – Paul balanced precariously on some wood and a ladder on top dealing with the arch above the rickety doorway which has never in its recent life been anywhere near 6 ft frankly but hey ho. In the process we undid the recent fix we had made to said rickety door. Talk about one half a step forward three steps back.

Meanwhile I was tackling the right hand hedge (5 ft requirement) which is at least 7 feet tall. I made a modicum of process by throwing myself into the bush, pulling down the branches and asking my daughter to hack at the branches while I tried not to be jettisoned over the hedge. After an hour or so I stepped back to admire my work and there was no discernible difference apart from the pile of hedge clippings on the ground. It started to rain. We left drenched, tired, filthy and grumpy.

I threw all the coats in the washing machine. Mine will never be the same again. Yet another allotment casualty.

I cried. Not because of the coat, but because we have to say goodbye the the allotment. I feel like we have failed.

I had dreams of the good life – of growing veg and watching wildlife. In reality it was batting rotting woodwork, knackering our knees (because of how steep it is) and trying not to think about the structure at the top that looked like it could fall down any minute.

In my dreams we needed a fork and spade and possibly one of those cute little dibber things to plant stuff.  In reality we needed one of those mini diggers, possibly some dynamite, some concrete and, well, a new shed. It was hard to focus on growing carrots with all that looming above us. Quite literally since the allotment has about a 45% incline.

There were other factors to consider like our injuries that were either exacerbated or sustained through visiting the allotment. Tennis elbow does not benefit from weeding particularly; my other half was bitten so badly on one occasion even the GP looked startled; and I left on Saturday with scratches all over my face from the sodding taller than 5 ft bushes flicking back into my nose.

Oh well, I guess we left our mark. The allotment has a lovely pond complete with aquatic plants and frogs, along with a pretty impressive bug hotel that definitely works because we found a centipede in it yesterday. Whoever takes it on will inherit raspberry canes, strawberry plants and the blackcurrant bushes and gooseberry bushes we ransacked earlier in the year. They will also find a fair number of potatoes if they get there quick.

I’m going to pop back up to take a few things like a cloche and the little ladybird and butterfly on a stick. We should be able to find use for them somewhere. We shouldn’t be too downhearted I guess – we tried and enjoyed bits of it. I am sad because I felt really happy up there sometimes – a freedom and escape from the stuff that goes on in my brain – but it’s someone else’s turn. Someone with access to a cordless hedgetrimmer and some woodworking skills.

So whoever comes next, good luck. Oh and enjoy the gnomes…

I should add this is what it looked like in November 2016. The hedges are much taller now…


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