Wednesday, November 04, 2015

North East Sojourn

That's the NE corner of the allotment. The bit near the fence was once home to one of the mysterious mounds of earth, since deployed on levelling the NW bed. There are some fruit bushes to the right which need moving. The rest is the stumps of phacelia and weeds, which I'd just chopped down and composted with the newest member of the team, a sickle I got from eBay, which is hooked onto the compost cage, on the far right with my blue thermal jacket.

I wanted to get the area of the bed between the fence and the compost bin turned over to put in the comfrey, a couple of rhubarb roots, and to start planting the hedge along the fence there with fruit trees and some hawthorn bare roots I was given. Any ground left over after that, I'll sow with winter field beans. And then at least I've started on the East side, which has been quietly going its own way since I chopped all its weeds down, dug it over, and seeded it with phacelia during the summer.

Easier said than done. I knew from levelling the mound there at there were bricks in the ground near the fence. Hmm. Turned out to be a lot of bricks. I'm theorising that there was once a path along the NE boundary. It seems to have been approximately three bricks wide, by three courses deep, though it's impossible to be sure because the bricks are all different sizes. Bloody hard work getting them out. Here's how many bricks came out in the first few feet.

From a trench by the fence, (about 4x2ft, between the thermal jacket and the spit), I got a barrow full of bricks. I dumped them onto the Frogs' Winter Palace, and dug another few feet along the fence, and got a second barrow full, almost. 

Spent a bit of time yesterday looking at and thinking about strategy. When I've finished this corner, I'm going back to the other end.  I'm going to put the path right up the middle and finish excavating the old greenhouse, and get everything levelled and THEN puzzle out where the pond should go. I'm sticking with my original ground-zero, make-every-inch-gardenable approach. These trains of thought about the overall picture got moving after a conversation with our Allotment Association's Secretary. She'd been to see The Predecessor. 

I'd harvested the onions he'd planted out between the old greenhouse foundations. A poor crop, mind, the top-soil there is shallow, and hasn't been fed. His daughter showed up one day and did a bit of weeding, and I weeded it later, too. Anyway, the secretary took the onions on her visit. She didn't speak to The Predecessor, but spoke to his daughter. He's old and infirm and very ill. It was always unlikely that he'd come back to garden his side of the plot, (the West side), but I'd worked it with the attitude that it needed doing anyway, and if he did come back, he could have some workable ground. 

But the daughter told the secretary her mother had died in July. And then add to his bereavement a fall and a broken hip, and its clear he won't be coming back. She thanked the secretary for the onions as a kind gesture, but said I should have them. So the secretary asked me if, when the missives go out in December, I'd be wanting to take over the whole plot formally, rather than the East side only which is technically all I'm possessing now, and I said, "Yes please." 

All of which means I've at last got all of my own allotment. But it didn't feel like cause for celebration, as I'd got it as a result of The Predecessor's bad luck. Makes one aware of one's own mortality. Twenty or thirty years from now, if I'm spared that long, I'll be in his shoes.