Thursday, 10 July 2008
Thought I'd just fill you in on what happened yesterday, as I did actually go to the allotment in the end. You see, by ten o'clock it wasn't raining that hard, and I remembered a couple of people who'd said they were going didn't have keys to the shed, so I thought I'd better make my way there just in case anyone was silly enough to want to garden in the rain. There was no-one else about when I arrived, so I started planting out the last of the squashes that I've been growing on the windowsill. I plant these, if you want to know, in the middle of the runner bean rows, as they like the extra nutrition and the support the beans provide. I'd just finished this when I heard the merry tinkle of a bicycle bell. Who should it be but Patrick, arriving in the now heavy downpour without even a waterproof on. (No that sounds silly, he was dressed, you understand, he just lacked any waterproof outergarments). He'd cycled 15 miles! What a wonderful day for gardening! he proclaimed as he leapt from the saddle. I directed him to the ancient pile of horse manure that needing turning into our winter plot, and he started digging manically. I continued for about half an hour as the rain came pelting down at all angles, gathering in beans, turnips, onions, and even a few baby potatoes. Then I made for the shed where I had a cup of coffee from my flask and surveyed the damage. I was covered in mud from head to foot and my shoes were awash with water. Patrick went on and on and on, only returning at intervals to tell me what a great day it was, and how fabulous our soil is. I started feeling a nasty chill, if not full-blown pneumonia, coming on, and wondered if it would ever end. Suddenly, Patrick asked me what the time was. Mid-day, I said. Great! he replied, that's exactly when I'd decided to stop! And, Praise the Lord, stop he did. Immediately. Everything packed back in the shed in under five minutes. On the way home I stopped off at the charity office. That new man you sent me, I said, dripping muddy water all over their floor and oozing rotting vegetation from every orifice, he's absolutely mad! That's the point, they said. And indeed it is. But you don't expect it, somehow, of the volunteers.