If I’ve learnt nothing else in life, it’s that all plans are only provisional. Life has a habit of getting in the way. Or sometimes (a much nicer option, this) presenting a different and altogether better opportunity.
So it has been over the past few years with my allotment. What I planned to do, and what I was able to do in the context of what life served up were very different beasts. As a result I always felt as though I was running as fast as I could, only to be able to lag behind a little less.
Recently life has taken an unexpected turn, and I have more time to do as I choose than ever before. And I choose to enjoy a good chunk of it on the allotment.
So there I was, thinking about what could go where, and regretting that I couldn’t squeeze a few fruit trees onto the plot, because I was missing the ones I had 0n the old hens’ plot, when I suddenly had one of those AHA!! moments.
Yes I had told the allotment office that I would give up the old hens’ plot from 1 April 2015, but before that I had already paid the full rent 2015/16. I tried and failed to move one of the apple trees, and realised that I wasn’t going to be able to do so without damaging the trees.
AHA! I could keep the hens’ plot on (it’s a quarter of a standard allotment plot). I could plant some more trees (pears please!), and more soft fruit. The soil where the run was must be in excellent condition, having had hens pooing and scratching on it for over a decade. And maybe, just maybe, one day in the future, I might be able to realise my dream of keeping bees too.
So, with no delay I emailed the allotment office and set out my proposal and request. Almost immediately came back the reply: yes, no problem at all. They haven’t got a waiting list for this site, and hadn’t offered the plot to anyone else.
There’s a lot of work to do – it took me far longer than I expected to dismantle the old hens’ pen, and I still have to finish the job and shift the materials somewhere better to store until their next reincarnation.
I’ve started to dig over the former run, and can see that once I’ve removed every last trace of perennial weeds it will be the perfect place for a new asparagus bed, and home for new blackcurrant bushes. In the meantime, this year I will grow my squashes and sweetcorn there, in a bid to outwit the cunning badgers (or the bloody badgers, as I usually call them).
I have to get the grass under the fruit trees back under control, and be a much better neighbour than I have been so far by keeping the edges and paths in good order.
I’ll have to dig out that horseradish that seemed such a good idea once upon a time (it still is, but I will shift it to somewhere less prominent, and where I will have a better chance of keeping it under control). And there are four rows of raspberries in among that grass that you can barely see (oh the shame!).
All in good time – like everything else, little by little and I will get there in the end. And it will be beautiful, I’m certain of it.
A change of plan; an opportunity spotted and taken.