Saturday, 27 March 2010
Allotments - They're not just about the veg are they?
As I've said before, I'm not a keen gardener, I'm a keen eater. My main motivation for growing veg is the enhanced taste experience it offers, not only with spankingly fresh veg but stuff you just can't get hold of in Tesco - Cavello Nero, or fresh Borlotti beans for example. So up until now, to me, an allotment represented an opportunity to grow more of what I enjoy and explore more exotic varieties.
It's only this week that I've begun to appreciate that the benefits of an allotment stretch much further than the salad drawer of the fridge. As I outlined earlier, I'm fascinated by the objects we're digging up and the sense of a connection to the past. A sure sign that I'm firmly in the allotment honeymoon period was the speed with which I found myself charmed by a cigarette butt and it's pleasing historical 'book end' to the clay pipe stems we've been finding.
I'm also utterly exhausted by the physical effort, but in a pleasing 'I worked hard today' kind of way rather than that 'children had a 4am start' hollow eyed , soul crushing pain kind of way. And I'm sure that (whisper it) my clothes feel looser and my thighs more toned after just a week.
The community spirit of the allotment site has taken me by surprise too. Our initial Allotment Association meeting felt like an episode of the Archers. I perched on a hard plastic chair in the cutest timbered village hall I've ever seen, while conversation thick with local names, gossip and obscure farming terms flew over my head. At least I haven't been press ganged into appearing in the Panto ..... yet. We seem to be a nice mix of people, several young families and wide age range. I think we have the makings of a vibrant Allotment Community.