A threatening long pot of hellebores

I was roaring out the gate of the allotments this afternoon, revelling in the fact they were open and I could cruise through when I realised that I had forgotten to shut my shed door. Incipient Alzheimer’s or what. Yesterday the wallet, today the door. It took about five minutes to get back through all the complicated traffic systems to go back to where I started. Out the car, slip and slide along the muddy path to my plot about 200 yards away, into the shed and secure the door. I have no lock any more. Instead I have a threatening long pot of hellebores (just in flower) which I wedge against the door to stop the wind. Anyone can get in; but if they see it’s not secure they aren’t going to think there are any treasures there. In fact my treasures (spade, fork and half moon edger, are hidden under the black plastic sheeting securing the close end of the plot. It doesn’t look like expensive garden tool shapes under the plastic, and it’s easier than having them cluttering up the boot of the car. Where I will put the strimmer I want to buy next week is another matter. I’m just not thinking about that right now.

Driving to the allotment was a complete rally course of people reversing at speed in front of me, cars jumping red lights, 4X4s barrelling into one’s lane without looking, and little old ladies lurching into the street without noticing the lights. I was so relieved just to survive the 40 minute drive intact. The little shop was open, so I managed to buy two more bags of seed potatoes (Maris Piper and Duke of York) and a few different bags of onion sets for the spring – Red Sun, Red Baron, Golden Gourmet – plus some fertiliser. You have to spend so long in the queue waiting for John to laboriously write in his perfect copperplate handwriting every item everyone buys; then take a second piece of paper and loudly and very slowly add up the purchases, take the money, rattle around the tin for change, and then have a longish conversation about the terrible storm / terrible suppliers /perfidious council with each and every person. Naturally while you wait you have nothing to do but stare at the product and you end up buying all sorts of reduced rate products that catch your eye. I managed garden twine, cane tops (10 for 40p) five foot bamboo canes as well as the potatoes and onions.

I wasn’t going to stay long at the plot as I had so much to do at home. But I did manage to create a straight path down the newly dug section of the plot, store away the onions from the potential stormy cold weather that is threatened next week. And retrieve my wallet.

I won’t be able to get back to the garden until Friday next week, but I’m hopeful that the frost might help me break down some of the hard packed clay soil I have turned. And you will be pleased to know that I didn’t take out any little old ladies on pedestrian crossings on the drive back.