If an army marches on its stomach, gardeners dig on cake!

We had a perfectly fine morning for our plant and cake sale – warm and no rain. Relief after the days of rain we have had here. Maybe, just maybe summer is on the way…..

I only managed to get one shot of the morning’s fun – I was too busy serving cake, arranging and selling plants, and yes chatting. The cakes all sold out quickly – memo to selves bake more next year. Some money was raised for the allotment association, and we all got to catch up on the gossip, swap stories of how poorly are plants are doing and share our hopes for a warm summer.

But then I look back at my words and wonder if I’ve painted some kind of Utopian picture.

Helping to run a self-managed allotment site is a tough job, its run by busy people who happen to be passionate enough about their hobby to be prepared to help out.  There are times when all we seem to hear are moans and groans, complaints and ridiculous rumours; and you listen and nod in agreement, smile, or scotch the rumour, try and resolve the disagreement or fix the problem. And all the while I’m listening I’m thinking why don’t you get involved?!  But I know that is not always possible. After all this isn’t Utopia.

It is afterwards I think about what can I do better, what we can collectively improve on. You see at heart I’m a positive person, an optimist. And I don’t want to let the moaners and groaners negativity win. The need to dust myself down and internally re-group occurs.

So the plant-cake sale could have been better attended with more people, more plants more cake. Then I remember the generosity of the cake bakers and the donators of plants, and the residents from neighbouring houses who came for a wander around the site and a chat. Their generosity made it what it was – a perfectly splendid morning. So no I don’t live in a Utopia and I remind myself that doing something is better than doing nothing at all. It certainly beats moaning and groaning!

And having read and enjoyed all the comments from Saturday’s post I’d like to say thanks for reading, following, liking and especially commenting, it literally gives me encouragement! So how about a small bowl of strawberries, freshly picked, still warm from the sun, sweet and juicy as a thank you? Life’s good!


  • Claire, you made me laugh! Didn’t you post recently that the moans and groans are all part of the way Brits garden? If Utopia was full of folks who were perpetually cheery, it would probably be incredibly boring.. 😉 xx

    • Ha ha, my words have come back to haunt me! And you are right that kind of Utopia would certainly be dull – its just sometimes I could without hearing the moans, if you don’t try and do something then things will never improve. And at that point I usually go to my plot and take my frustrations out on my clay soil!!

      • You’re absolutely right, of course. But sometimes the perpetually dour are such Pythonesque caricatures that it’s funny to watch! 😉 I’m sorry to be amused, as I’m sure it can get very frustrating at times!

        • Don’t appologise! Maybe that’s what I should do the next time I have to listen to a moaner – think of them in some ridiculous light like the Pythons did 🙂

  • Those cupcakes sounds great :D. I’m glad people enjoyed your sale and embraced it. Our local allotments completely flooded last week – every single plant was under water – such a shame.

    • The cupcakes were superb, I bought myself one of the black forest ones – delicious!
      I heard about the floods in Aberystwyth – scary from what I saw on the Beeb. But how sad for the allotments, all that hard work literally washed away. It will take them eons to recover from that

  • Good afternoon Claire … thanks, yum, those strawberries were delicious!!! 🙂 Well written comments and yes, that is what seems to happen with people! Positivity reigns, however, and your words make me chuckle!!

  • Moaning and groaning is a way to vent your frustration and, frankly, you deserve a chance to moan and groan as a treat for putting up with all the headaches. Cause, in spite of the m&g, you come back the next day, several days or week and dig in again.

    It’s the ones who don’t come back who are missing out on what a real farmer goes through 365 days a year, year after year in spite of too little rain, too much rain, winds, ice, bugs and other pests including marauding deer who ate all my parents’ berry bushes, or the skunks and /or badgers who attacked and killed their chickens.

    Keep up the good work.

    • You know your comments are timely – this is a hobby my life and my food don’t rely on my efforts like a farmers does. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that!
      How frustrating for your parents, we live in such close proximity with nature don’t we, and stories like yours remind me of it’s brutality

    • I think humans have the capacity to bounce back and thankfully after all that cake I’m quite bouncy! Maybe it’s time I got some more digging done 🙂

  • This post is perfectly timed for my life right now! I’m working at being more positive lately, as I too get very weary of the moaners and groaners. It is easiest to look always at what’s wrong with a situation…harder to see what might work to fix it…harder yet to dig in and do something about it, so many just take the easy way out. I’ve found that – if it’s what I have my vision focused on – it’s just as easy to see what right and good with a situation. Thanks!

    • Good for you Cindy – working on positivity. And you know maybe as I wrote this post I had some words in my head that I’d read earlier in the day. The Dalai Lama is visiting the UK and he spoke to business leaders the other day and one of his statements was that “in the face of hardship it helps to analyse whether there is anything to be done and if there is, there is no need to worry. Instead, employ your energy in pursuit of the solution. On the other hand, if there is nothing to be done, worrying won’t help” I think that perfectly sums things up!
      I hope you have a great week Cindy, I know how busy you are !

  • Thank you for the strawberries, wonderful when sun warmed! I had a moan this morning when I saw that my one courgette plant had been broken at the stem by the gales despite the wind break stuff all round it….. And then I saw that the slugs had been at the beans ….. but I too am a positive person and I love the sound of your cake sale. 🙂

  • I’ve come to realize that there are some people who just like to have something moan and groan about. It’s easy to get caught up in all that negativity, but it sounds like you’re managing to keep it all in perspective! Those strawberries are beautiful! Thank you for sharing them.

    • The strawberries are superb, nothing beats picking your own fresh from the plant – so much so that only a few make it home as I keep nibbling on them when I’m up at my plot! And bah humbug to the moaners 🙂

  • I think you were smart to avoid the non-Utopian aspects of the allotment, or at least pay them no mind. Life is too short for much of this stuff. Oh, and such luscious looking strawberries. Thank you so much. 🙂

  • oh claire, there are always the moaners and groaners, bless their poor troubled minds, but look at your strawberries and those gorgeous cakes, when the summer finally arrives things will seem brighter for everyone 🙂 after a whole long grey wet week we are back to sunshine, thank goodness!

    • Its amazing how our spirits lift when the grey cloud goes isn’t it – you literally feel lighter and brighter! I’ve woken to a short rain shower folllowed by some blue skies, aahhh that’s better!

  • Positivity and strawberries makes this looks like a perfect post my friend 😀
    Thank you for making me smile!

    Choc Chip Uru

  • Very glad to have a little taste of your celebration… and being that I have fresh fruit on the table, I do feel connected this time. Wishing you continued success.

    • Starting the day with fresh fruit and a god coffee is, in my mind, a perfect start to the day. I had a few strawberries and the first of the currants. The flavours first thing in the morning seem bigger and brighter somehow.

  • The whole idea of your allotment intrigues me. I’m sure there are always improvements that could be made, but when you have multiple voices you just have to go slow and easy to get everyone on the same page. Your positive spirit will surely be an asset to the group.

    • The “multiple voices” rings true! I’m assisted in my positivuty today by a beautiful blue sky – a perfect day for planting 🙂

  • Dong something is always better than nothing. Optimism is the backbone of a good gardener..you won’t last long without it…

    Great post.

  • What gorgeous strawberries, Claire. Your comment about the non-utopian aspect of the allotment association actually reminds me of what I hear from my daughter and the co-op preschool the girls attend. My daughter is on the Board and sometimes all I hear is how much work it is and the problem-solving involved–yet she loves the parents and children and is willing to work through the issues and difficulties in order to gain the benefit of parent involvement. Sometimes I think that working with people in any endeavor is simply going to add in complexities, but we wouldn’t want to live in isolation, so there you go! 🙂 I really love hearing about the allotment and the pictures are always wonderful! Debra

    • so there I go 🙂 you are right that’s what living in a community is about and I know I wouldn’t want to live in some kind of isolation, splendid or otherwise!

  • You know I could do a parallel discussion on buying clubs (people who get together to buy wholesale). Usually good experience, great food, definitely believe in them, but then there are days…

    • I’d love to hear more about the buying clubs and swap notes with you! We do buy in bulk at the allotments, in that we get a discount from a large seed merchant for buying in bulk – 1 large order made up of lots and lots o fpackets of seeds. Other than that I get together with friends and do a few orders – usually it involves a glass of wine so it’s a very pleasurable time 🙂

    • The cupcakes were great, I’m always impressed by other’s peoples skills and talents. The shade is lovely in some ways but most veggoes don’t apreciate too much of it do they!

  • I was beginning to wonder how you had managed to find (or help create) a community garden full of friendly, nice, and drama-free people. I have a plot in a community garden, and some of the people are kind, friendly, generous folk. Others are nice and quiet. And a select few seem to be so full of vitriol that I wonder if they hate the gardens, the way they’re run, and those in them so very much – why are they in the gardens themselves?
    So mostly, I figure out what time of day the bitter folk tend their plots, and I go at other times. Whether I bump into the friendly ones, the quiet ones, or no one doesn’t much matter to me. I think it would be hard to want to renew next year though if the peace, quiet, and usual solitude weren’t a part of the experience.

    • That’s a good scheme, to work out the time of day to avoid people. Mostly it’s alright as I’m tucked away in a corner, where it’s nice and quiet and all I tend to hear are bees buzzing. a sound I’m more than happy to listen to!

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