How did it get so late so soon?
It’s night before it’s afternoon.
December is here before it’s June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?
– Dr Seuss
Saturday 22 October 2016
It was Ava’s birthday yesterday – 6 years old. As sure as this happens every year, I still find myself wondering where the time has gone.
Today was party day. Please don’t think me grumpy if I describe this experience as two long and tiresome hours. Twenty-five little ones full of excitement and party food, running amok on an inflatable jungle gym. Despite the experience of a few of these events, I still struggle to understand how Ava remains jumping come the evening and I am collapsed in the chair ready for my bed.
Alas, there was no time for the allotment today.
Sunday 23rd October 2016
A week has passed since my last visit to the allotment.
In the summer months, this amount of time between visits to the plot would cause a level of anxiety. The weeds make a quick return, the slugs make swift destruction of the plants and there is the general sense of not quite being on top of everything.
Today, as I walked to the allotment garden there was the sense of time having stood still. The season brings with it clear perception of life slowing down. The plot in front of me is like a photo snapped a week earlier and frozen and unaltered from the last sight. The sense of the allotment slowing down projects onto me and the reason I enjoy being at the plot at this time of year. It’s a sanctuary in comparison to busy city life. A place to think or to be in my own thoughts. A place to declutter the mind.
I always have a plan for each visit to the allotment. I’ve learned it makes for an effective and efficient time at the plot and helps prevent me dilly-dallying around and not getting much of anything done.
The plan for today was to clear weeds from more of the existing beds. I’ve realised that overgrown beds appear worse than they actually are. The soil, cultivated earlier this year means the garden fork makes light work of digging up the mass of perennial weeds.
I like to dig. It’s not that the no-dig approach does not persuade me in its success as I think the work of Charles Dowding is truly inspirational. I may one day try and adopt the approach. There are many reasons I dig my allotment garden and one of them is I enjoy it.
There are experiences on the allotment I find connect me with each of the seasons. In spring it is planting the earliest of crops. In summer it’s a day when the sun is warm on my face and my fists are full of long pods of french beans. The autumn and winter it is digging the ground. I am in my element digging spadefuls of earth on cold, crisp winter days, wrapped up in layers with my breath visible in front of me as stream of white mist.
After a few hours of clearing weeds and turning the soil – broken by periods of worm collecting or taking an adventure in the jungle (overgrown part of the plot) with Ava, the allotment is visibly taking shape again.
The next task will be the overgrown monster that is the strawberry bed. Then on to topping up the existing paths with wood chips. Last winter was a washout and so I have my fingers crossed that this one will be different. I hope there will be plenty of opportunities when the weeds are asleep to cut fresh ground and expand the allotment into the uncultivated part of the plot. There is so much more of it left to explore and utilise.
It is half term this week. I’m hoping it stays dry and I can enjoy what is now a sacred mid-week opportunity to visit the plot. With ‘little helper’…of course.