Thursday, September 22, 2016

...E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle.

Here's what was once the path up the middle of a long-gone greenhouse. I gave it a wash and brush up, just for the photo. I'm looking forward to the day when all the heavy digging and excavating is done, and I can get all of my paths brushed down and kept clean.

As you can see, it's under about 8ins of earth. You can't really tell from the photo, but it's surrounded by a low wall to the back and right, just what would have been used as the foundation for an old-fashioned greenhouse. The left hand wall I took out during my leveling activities, which I'm regretting a bit now, but, spilt milk and all that.

The path looks very similar to the one which runs parallel to it, a few yards north, so perhaps they were laid by the same hand. That other path was under nearly a foot of earth. I'm trying to use them to piece together some of the plot's history.

I know that The Predecessor held the plot for more than 30 years, so that would be since the early 80s. I suspect that when he took it over it had been abandoned for years, and he's just cleared the weeds and avoided, literally, digging too deeply. Not that he's been lazy.

He dug a ditch along North West boundary, and piled up the earth in mounds at the bottom, clearly trying to relieve the waterlogging, and maybe it worked somewhat. I reversed his work, filling in the ditch with earth from the mounds, and putting the drain under the path and into the new pond. But I don't think he did much with the 'old greenhouse foundations', treating them as a kind of raised bed.

A lady who I sometimes chat with when she's walking her gigantic dog in the park to the North of the plot told me that the allotments were mostly abandoned for years. When I asked how long exactly, she told me she's 67 and recalled them being like that all her life. So that takes us back to the 50s or 60s.

So piecing these things together, here's the narrative I'm putting forward. The allotments were first occupied in 1917. Mine was well gardened for several decades, maybe up until the Second War. That would explain the mostly good soil. Paths were laid, a good greenhouse and shed built. I like to think it was used during the Dig For Victory era, and rationing, but fell out of fashion during Rock 'n' Roll.

The Greenhouse and Shed got smashed up and burnt. Weeds took over. It was like that for decades. The Predecessor did what he needed to make it garden-able, using the remains of the old Shed to make one of his own, though that wasn't really his forte. But it kept ticking over, not fully worked but not neglected. And now it's up to me. I like to think the person who laid the paths and built the greenhouse would approve.