Sunday, 21 December 2014

Loosing Our Plot?

Well today was a bit of a stinker and no mistake, the type of Sabbath which might drive Alan Partridge to exclaim "Sunday, bloody Sunday!" Not only did the mackems dole yet out another dose of misery to those of a black and white persuasion, but it looks very much like scenes such as the one above may soon be consigned to the scrapbook. We popped down to the plot to find a couple of notices saying that the Freemen of the City are now minded to shut the allotments down.

There have been all sorts of less-than-optimistic rumblings about the future of the site for some time now, not to mention the lunacy of a long, drawn out campaign of vandalism, so this doesn't really come as a surprise. Nonetheless, it's a massive shame for everyone who has invested so much time, effort, frustration and joy into the bits of land that make up the plots. We've been here three and a half years now, and wandering round our scruffy but productive patch today I thought about how long it took us to knock the thing into shape, get rid of a forest of weeds, fight running battles with bindweed and then start to reap the rewards of a steady stream of veg. Some people have had their plots for decades.

One of the final harvests?
Without getting into the nitty-gritty of the situation, what it seems to boil down to is that the allotments are on The Town Moor, land administered by the Freemen, rather than the Council. The Freemen are unhappy with the way the site looks and has been kept, and if they want to close it they can, and there doesn't seem to be much anyone can do about it. There is talk about there being an allotment on at least part of the current site in the future, but I'm struggling to be optimistic about current plot-holders hanging on until some unspecified date when they might be able to get a plot again. No dates have currently been given for any the closure yet.

As for us, we'll be looking to get our names onto the waiting list elsewhere I think. Starting from scratch on another site will be an unwanted slog. I doubt we'll wind up with a patch in anything like the nick of the one it looks like we'll be forced to abandon. If we don't get somewhere soon we'll be growing bits and bobs in the garden. In the meantime, it looks like this blog is about to get even more restauranty and even less allotmenty!

So, grim tidings out the way, let me tell you why we were there in the first place. We're off to Scotland, to my parents place, for Christmas and we've promised to supply the parsnips. These were the first we'd dug this year, and, as in the past, they've done pretty great. The usual assortment of weird shapes and multiple tap-roots were joined by the odd one that looked just about good enough for the show-bench.

Parsnip Trident
We left feeling pretty gutted. We've got a lot of weddings on next summer, so maybe having a year off from the toil of a plot isn't the worst thing. On the other hand, being perplexed by the failures and surprised by the successes that the veg growing game has to offer, not to mention just spending time there with a good book and a flask of slightly plasticky tasting tea, has become a central pillar of what Kasia and I do together. If, as now seems more than likely, our plot's days are numbered, we'll bloody miss it.


  1. Such a shame, If a site closes don;t they have to reallocate or is that if a council site closes?

    1. Hi Sue. I'm not really up on the details but as far as I know, with it being non-council, there's no duty to re-site people.

  2. Get your names down for a plot closer to home asap or start a veg plot in your back garden.

  3. Isn't it a shame that Allotments always seem to be administered by people who don't understand Alottmenteering? They seem to have such arbitrary powers too. I hope it all works out OK for you in the end.

    1. Yes, yes it is. Plans are afoot, thanks Mark.


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