Sometimes it’s allotment weather. When people ask about what we do down the allotment I’m all like “oh it’s great, we wander down with a few bottles of beer, pop the radio on and mooch about dressed like we’re at Glasto” conjuring up images of us in hazy sunshine, catching the last of the summer sun while we pull out some courgettes and a few corns of cob to stick on the barbie. And this is not a wholly inaccurate image. It is like this. Sometimes. Not always. Definitely not today.
Today, despite what the forecast tried to say, the weather was horrific. It was so bad my fella tweeted about it. It was rainy and windy. My god was it windy. The sort of wind that drives an unending draft through the house and causes the windows to shake. We poo-pooed the idea of a duvet day- we had strawberries to plant, and at about three o clock, when the rain eased off a bit, we donned our waterproofs and headed to the plot. The wind was so forceful I found it easier to walk the whole way backwards. Luckily, dressed in a bright yellow mac I felt that I would be fairly easy to spot and therefore avoid. I needn’t have worried, no one else was daft enough to go out in such terrible weather. We ended up running the last few hundred yards, as the heavens opened and enormous rain drops fell everywhere, drenching us within seconds and soaking our jeans so we had to walk like John Wayne. We would not be perturbed however, and successfully planted hops, a raspberry bush and 12 strawberry plants. Now if that isn’t commitment to the allotment I don’t know what is.
We had a dinner party last night, and my fella bravely ventured to the allotment after dark to pick fresh, organic, homegrown purple sprouting broccoli. This is one of the veggies that I get excited about, I mean not just because it’s taken nine months to produce anything, but because it’s like a real proper vegetable that you normally spend a fortune on. The broccoli has taken time, care, patience and I’m bloody delighted the pigeons haven’t had it all. I’m really proud, although I do feel a bit mean in the way that I’m more impressed with the likes of the broccoli than I am of the likes of radishes and runner beans. Runner beans just don’t take the same commitment; they literally hurl themselves up. We planted them not long ago and they are already huge; giant stalks protruding from the pots, waving around in the gale force winds. The peas, the squash and the tomatillos that we planted at the same time are tentative, wary and cautious in comparison to the ballsy runner beans that grow like they’re going out of fashion. (To be fair, they’re no kale). For the past few days we’ve been putting the seedlings out, weathering them, getting them used to the cold and the elements so they’re a bit more prepared for life in open- a far cry from our dining room where they start off life. I think it’s hilarious that we put them out, and then bring them back in every evening- like children being rounded up before lights off. I like to talk to them through the whole process, it probably doesn’t help, and probably makes me crazy, but I think it’s nice to reassure them, explain what’s going on. Not that the runner beans care; lanky careless greens that they are.