Friday, 10 October 2008

Phil (Plots 339 & 340)

This is Phil. He was born in 1941. He has two plots, one of which he has just cleared. He was rotovating his first plot when I saw him, and we had a long conversation about rotovators. He was a fitter during his working life, so machines are close to his heart. He loves his allotment, and prefers working on it and a nice cup of tea to going out at night. He was just about to make a cup of tea in his shed when I left him.

About his rotovator, he said it was made in India, but seemed to be a close copy of a Honda. It cost around £300, but was not as good as a Merry Tiller, which is an American make and costs around £700. He said his best rotovator was a JAP, which had been manufactured over 40 years ago, and was very heavy, but very efficient. He finally wore it out though. He'd had problems with the current one because the belt slipped, but he got another kind of belt, with better friction, and now it didn't slip and overheat like it used to (he used to be able to smell it burning!). He said the place to buy rotovators was Shrewsbury (?) because they had no allotments there - the council has got rid of them all. I said I thought councils were obliged to provide allotments, but I will have to check this out.

He told me about some allotments he saw in Germany, when he was visiting his son, who is in the forces. They had proper metalled roads instead of tracks, concrete paths, and a veritable bunglow for a shed, with sleeping accommodation, a kitchen and everything, so that people could go down and spend the weekend there (as in a Russian dacha, I suppose). They even had kids' play areas.

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