I’ve got them in my hand! I can’t believe it. I’ve waited yonks for today. I have the keys to my allotment at last and I’m soooooo excited!
Actually I have two keys, one unlocks the gate to the site and the other is for the padlock on my shed. Listen to me, “my shed”, doesn’t that sound cool?
As I’m sure you recall I applied for an allotment ages ago. I was using a patch of ground in my parent’s garden to grow things, but after my success at the village flower and produce show last year I thought it would be a good idea to expand my horticultural endeavour and adopt a more professional approach.
Trouble is allotments are hard to come by. They are provided by the local council on life-long leases which can be handed down to younger relatives and therefore rarely become available. But old Bert Hestlethwaite had no one to hand his down to and yesterday the council called to say I could have it!
Thing was he insisted that he hand the keys over personally. He’d had the plot for 55 years and he wanted to see who was taking it over.
Well dear old Bert lives in a local home for the bewildered, so I had to visit him there. Queen Mary House it’s called, and as soon as I walked through the door my mind wandered back to last year’s Glastonbury Rock Festival. It wasn’t so much the music I was reminded of, more the toilet tent. Eeew!
Anyway, I was pointed in Bert’s direction, but the row of elderly people all looked a little similar to one another so I had a certain amount of difficulty locating him. However, find him I did. He was a small man with a shock of white hair and a very white face to match. He had deep set round eyes which looked a little like pee holes in the snow.
‘Mr Hestlethwaite’ I said. No reaction. ‘Mr Hestlethwaite’ I said, a little louder this time. He kind of jumped then said ‘Who are you young lady? Have you come to change my dressing?’
I explained that I was Miss Pinkerton and I’d come for the keys but I didn't think that he'd heard me properly.
‘What is it you want?’ he said.
‘The keys’ I shouted 'the keys'
‘Bless you’ he said.
‘No’ I said ‘I didn’t sneeze, I need the keys’.
Well after a while a care assistant came to help me out and before long Bert and I were chatting like old friends albeit at a fairly high volume! He seemed to like me which was good. He explained which keys were which and told me he’d left his tools in the shed for me. That was nice, wasn’t it? He also made me promise to bring him something I’d grown now and again. I said I would.
So there it is. I am now the proud owner of a patch of soil and a shed on the road up to Beachy Head in Eastbourne. I can’t wait to get going on it. Next weekend I’ll start digging and preparing the soil ready for planting. I’m so chuffed. I need to make some curtains for the shed window – I suppose I could knit them, we’ll see. I need a rug, an arm chair and one of those camping gas stoves so I can make mugs of tea.
At the moment it looks a bit of a mess. I don’t suppose Bert’s been here for a year or two. But I’ll soon have it looking spick and span with vegetables standing proud like rows of soldiers and a rainbow of flowers to brighten up even the dullest of days. I’ve decided not to take a photo for you just yet. I’ll leave that for a week or two. I will however show you a picture of the gate to whet your appetites!
I found this poem. I didn’t write it but I think it’s rather sweet and I’m thinking of printing it out and framing it for my shed wall. What do you think?
This is my garden,
I'll plant it with care,
Here are the seeds
I'll plant in there,
The sun will shine,
The rain will fall,
The seeds will sprout
and grow up tall.