“It must be a bit further up here, this is all just grass, what was the plot number again?”
“No Dad, it’s this one, it IS all that grass,” I explained patiently.
Yes, this was my first trip to Moneyfields Allotments in Portsmouth two years ago to see my plot. I was giddy with excitement as we trudged up and down looking for that glorious spot of earth that has since become my second home.
I was on the waiting list for roughly four years before that long-awaited letter from the council slipped through the letterbox. After opening another statement from the bank detailing how much money I didn’t have, the line informing me that a plot was now vacant was like a million pounds to me and meant as much as a lottery win – well, almost!
So the weekend after receiving my golden ticket, I dragged my partner and my Dad along for a reccie. After proudly producing my letter with a flourish to the nice gentleman at the allotment association hut, we were pointed in the right direction. I eagerly produced the very reasonable £3.50 for the all important keys – one for the gate and one for the loo (very handy, being a lady) and a discount card for seeds etc sold from the hut on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings and then off we went in search of my own piece of green and pleasant land.
I wasn’t as innocent as to think it would be in perfect condition, plots usually become available when their tenants find they don’t have the time and so before the next people arrive, the weeds like to party.
But this was something else.
The grass was almost up to my chest, there was a massive overgrown ghoulish looking Buddleia bush and enough rubbish on the plot to class it as a landfill site. I’d been waiting four years for this, failure was not an option.
While I beamed with optimism, my partner and my Dad looked on, in shock. Their looks were accompanied by plenty of that tradesmen-style huffing and puffing and head scratching. Of course, they thought I was completely bonkers.
“They should have cleared it for you,” my Dad exclaimed indignantly.”Good God, you’ll never be able to clear this lot,” while my partner was unequivocal in his assessment: “I hate gardening.”
Green shoots of enthusiasm indeed (!) but I was full of beans (runner, of course!) and raring to get digging so since then I’ve been wrestling with my enemies: couch grass and nettles.
But, as you read my posts you will see that I am now slowly but surely, starting to regain the plot!