Thursday, 30 October 2008


When I got down the allotment today, a huge council tractor and trailer were just leaving. When I got further up the track, I could see that it had dumped of a trailer-load of leaves, swept up from the municipal parks and streets.

I'd been menaing to go out into the country and collect leaves, but this seemed a quick way of getting a supply, even if they weren't what Lawrence D. Hills would call the best type - not oak and beech (I still remember that book almost word for word, even though I owned it almost thirty years ago).

I decided to use the compost container Dee gave me, which I'd been using up till now on the Salvation Army allotment because I hadn't wanted to bother to build a compost bin on a plot that wasn't mine. I emptied that and carried it down to no. 59, where I attempted to secure it by slipping it over one of the metal poles Joe had used to fix his windbreak in place. Then I was going to fill it up by the bucket-load, but someone had abandoned a wheelbarrow on the vacant allotment next to the pile of leaves, so I borrowed that.

Later, when Joe came down, he said leaves are even better than manure. He said he used to be a cobbler, and he mended shoes for the nuns in Wroughton. He said that one of them used to collect leaves and she grew cabbages " that!"

I didn't get much digging done, because it took me about an hour to deal with the leaves, and almost as soon as I started to dig, it began to rain.

I went back to the SA allotment to shelter in the hut, and noticed that they'd been down and done some work since I was down last. I say "work", but all they seem to have achieved is to level out the soil nearest the hut, dig the edges and pile some of the grass on the weed-pile, and make a god-awful mess of the paths. John will be furious when he sees the state they've left his path in. It used to be a velvety lawn, but now it's a sea of mud. Poor John! Poor me - no chance I'll get it now, since they've clearly decided to ignore common sense and go for another year of turning over the same plot half a dozen times without taking the weeds out.

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