Monday, 22 September 2008

No wonder the Russians worship tractors!

Today a man came from the council with a tractor and scraped the top off several of the derelict allotments. I spotted him from a distance, and when I caught up with him, asked him if he'd skim mine. He obliged, saving me months of hard work.

I had just enough time before the tractor arrived to clear the boxes off the grass at the top and remove the carpet strips Joe had placed in between our allotments to prevent my weeds invading his plot. I found slow worms under some - tiny, bronze things, not frightening at all, but exquisitely beautiful. I had piled all the weeds I meant to burn into one of the grape boxes, and was on my way to the SA allotment, having chucked all the other boxes on to the uncultivated head of the neighbouring allotment. I was just digging up some more of the Salvation Army's potatoes, when I heard a loud graunching sound, as the tractor scraped the top off the grass piece at the top. He came back again and again, scraping the rest of the plot down to the bare soil. The noise was horrendous.

When he had finished I went and had a look. It was miraculous. Apart from the top end, it was flat as a pancake, and I could see what looked like soil for the first time. I might attempt to rotovate this middle bit. The top bit, which I hadn't envisaged starting work on until 2010 was revealed like a shaven head, covered in lumps and bumps. I shall dig that bit first. It adds nearly half an allotment on to the top of what had already been worked recently, and because the plot is much wider than the SA allotment, is at least half as big again. Plenty enough to feed me in the years to come.

I dragged the carpet pieces over to add to the giant pile of debris the tractor had scooped up and dumped on one of the cleared plots. After running to and fro about six times, I chucked the boxes back on to my allotment just before the rain began to fall. After a week without rain, here we go again! Sempre rain!

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