I get a bit narked, sometimes, - well, jealous really, - when I read my fellow allotmenteers' tweets about the lovely things they've harvested this day, often with a photo of washed vegetables in a nice wee trug. They rarely mention the bloody weeding. Two years in, and I still feel like a Roman General, subduing the local population so that he can tax the buggers, and make their descendants learn Latin and take regular baths.
It's not that I'm not winning. Look at how it was 20 months ago, most of the northern end of the plot under water; I'm still very proud of the drainage works I undertook back then, which have been a great success. But there are still serious flaws. Apart from the glass and riddling situation, which is holding everything else back, there's the constant threat of weeds getting the upper hand. And what planting I do manage to do is frequently destroyed by wood-pigeons, because I haven't yet got a good system of bird-proof netting in frames.
Unlike the Roman General, I won't be retreating to the fort for the winter. I'm actually looking forward to it: hoeing down everything which isn't a cover crop plant, or part of the hedgerow. Getting the shed and polytunnel up. Visiting our old allotment with Dad last weekend underlined just how important allotment infrastructure is: somewhere to propagate and start plants; bird netting; chickens to help with the weeding. That's an allotment.