It’s that time of year when allotments are starting to look a little weary. Gone are the summer colours, sunflowers dancing on a warm breeze, crops bulging in their beds and tanlines worn like a badge of honour, proving you’d be out toiling under a summer sky. Instead, we’re facing bare plots and withered blooms as we cover our fading tanlines with warm woollies.
That’s not to say things have ground to a halt. On the contrary, there are crops still growing and any empty plots have been cultivated. However, there is one thing I’m currently lacking.. A whole lot of s**t!
At this time of year on our allotment, the old boys are laying seige at the manure mound. Our allotment is next to a large horse stable, so every so often, a truck turns up brimming with manure for the allotmenteers. Dumping it at ‘pooh corner’, he then makes his merry way back to the stables, unaware of the warfare that is about to commence.
No sooner has the truck disappeared from view than the squadrons of wheelbarrows appear on the horizon, all in formation, all with their eyes on the prize. The Dambusters theme kicks in and within moments, shovels are raised, barrows are pushed and old boys are breaking into a sweat. We know there’s only so much s**t to go around, enough for some, but not for all. It’s quick work, but it’s well rehearsed, and they quickly reduce the mound to a few strands of soiled straw.
With nothing left, they gently retreat back into the shadows, not to be seen until the next delivery. But I know they’re there, watching, waiting.
It may seem like I’m exaggerating, but I’ve witnessed these allotment veterans in action. The delivery tends to happen on a week day, and by the time I make it up to the plot on an early Saturday morning, the brown gold is but a memory.
But that’s OK, I can play dirty also. I’ve started dropping by the allotment in the evenings, straight after work. By the time I get there, it’s pitch black, but I don’t care, I’m on a mission. With torch in hand I make my way to Pooh Corner, hoping for a result. If there’s a stinky mountain gently smouldering, then I plan to book the next day off work, get to the plot by dawn and have emptied Pooh Corner by mid-morning.
It’s not sad, it’s brilliant!! Is this madness? No, just a man needing pooh for his plot.