How lovely to hear from you and your news about your allotment has made me feel less guilty about the shocking neglect of mine. I have never ignored it for so many months and let it get so overgrown (I’ll have the Allotment Mafia on to me any day now telling me I’m shaming the site and the village) but after the deluge of summer I felt too miserable to even venture down there. I was, up until a few days ago, going to give it up altogether. Two years ago it was rabbit and then this year constant rain. One day in June when we had flash-floods and our river burst its banks and the whole village was hit, Eve and I went for a wet walk in incongruously bright sunshine and saw our allotment under a foot of water. Bubbles trapped in the thick mud were coming up through the brown water as if the land was suffocating. When the waters did subside three days later all my seedlings were limp with mud or dead. After that I almost gave up going down there. But in the past couple of days some new, nascent optimism has started to kindle and I’m thinking, “Hmmm, perhaps not.” However the thought of tackling it all again is a bit daunting
I think part of the disappointment is spending money on seeds, sets and tubers only to see your entire crop wiped out. How anyone could be a farmer defeats me. It’s been raining here again for weeks and even as I write this it’s spattering against the window pane. In the November rain all the roads around us flooded making the daily journey to school like an exercise in map-reading skills and true grit. One day after I picked the girls up from school in Durham after the school closed we had to take a two hour detour to get home only to find our cellar flooded and our power out. Even the dogs refused to set foot outside.
But for me there’s definitely something about being the right side of the shortest day that makes me feel less hopeless. Even though it was only a couple of weeks ago already the days have a slightly lighter feel. I went out for a walk yesterday and all the birds were singing and in the lanes the first spears of snowdrops were pushing through. I know we’ve got weeks and weeks yet and probably more snow and floods to come but it feels much less grim.
So at the weekend I’m going to go down and tackle the allotment, or as much as it as I can manage. The rats around the compost bin who’ve had the run of the place for months won’t know what’s hit them.
Here’s to a dry spring and some sun.