I think we should start our tour of the allotments with the communal shed.
Our allotments are self-managed which means that we lease the land from the council and have a management committee run the site.
Day to day jobs are handled by the committee and volunteers. It runs on a shoestring, a heap of good will and some strategically placed string to hold it all together.
The shop is stocked with a few basics, from canes and butterfly netting, said string and a few bits which I’ve yet to work out what they are for. Tools you can borrow or hire, lawnmowers so we can keep the communal paths at least vaguely presentable.
The committee is made up of the likes of me, someone who loves the place for what it is and understands that we need a few people around to give a small amount of time for the benefit of having such a fabulous place at our disposal in return for a small sum in rent.
We manage the waiting lists, the tenancy agreements, get the council to sort out the fences every now and then, hold the odd fundraiser, and around we go. We sort out minor problems and try and ignore the moans and groans. Celebrate the generosity of fellow gardeners – be it with cuttings and spare seedlings or long earned knowledge.
The shop is a place to meet a few people, catch up on some news, swap some horror stories of how badly your broad beans are doing, and generally smile.
Hopefully next time I go to the allotments the sun will be out, I will have the right camera lens with me and we’ll manage to get beyond the shed. I’ll also try to explain a bit more about the allotments and their history, their purpose, their ups and downs. In the meantime how about a view as you walk up the path from the shed?