When I did go down a couple of weeks ago, however, this is what I found. The allotment shop, which is run by volunteers, old men, had been broken into by vandals. The till had been taken out and burned, and papers scattered everywhere.
I wouldn't have liked to have been those old men when I discovered the break-in. I should think it must have been heartbreaking. They run the shop out of pure enthusiasm for gardening, just as the Allotment Society they belong to has been run for years out of enthusiasm and goodwill. Now, just like that, for a bit of "fun" on a Saturday night, years of work have been destroyed. I dread to think what state the inside of the shop was in - probably it, too, was burned out - i.e. all that stock destroyed. Stock that had no value to anyone but the old men and the gardeners. I would be very surprised to see the shop open up again next season. There comes a point where you just feel like going back to your house and sitting in front of your telly for the rest of your life - at least it's safe, and there is no chance of heart-sinking disappointment.
Up my end of the allotments, I seem to be out of it. It is too close to the houses for kids to risk being seen. But what with having to start on what is now an unforgiving piece of couch-ridden, waterlogged clay, I too feel that it might be better just to sit in front of the telly all summer, or bugger off to France. Only I can't afford to. I need the vegetables I grow. On £60.50 a week, you can't pass up any chance of supplementing your diet virtually for free. I expect my enthusiam will return. After all, there are green shoots of recovery down my allotment, if nowhere else - the runner beans have come up. And I managed, before I came down with flu, to put in a row of shallots, saved from last year. So I'm going to stick with it. After all, why let them win?