Suddenly it's time to do everything. So far, in the last two weeks it seems, I've put in peas, carrots, lettuce, onions, beetroot, perpetual spinach, radish, spring onions, parsnip and broad beans.
The Italians, of course, are ahead of me. Though Joe, my next-door neighbour surprised me by saying he'd only just come back from a trip to Australia two weeks ago. Nevertheless, he has already put up most of his tomato stakes and bean sticks, despite the fact it's only mid-March and they won't be needed for a couple of months. Angelo is not well enough to do any gardening. He's got diabetes, and is waiting for an operation on his leg. This means that Joe is struggling to get Angelo's plot ready as well as his own two. He's enlisted the help of Gwillym to rotovate part of Angelo's plot. Gwillym's already rotovated one of Joe's plots, plus half the plots on the allotment from what I can gather. He will never starve. He told me today he is sixteen, and said, "I don't look it, do I?" I thought he was 14 at the most. He said he was doing a part-time college course in motor mechanics while he is still at school doing his GCSEs, which he finishes this year. His dad, Mark (Taffy) is moving back to Wales because his mother has cancer. Gwillym is staying on until the end of the school year, then moving back also. They have put so much into their allotment. They have built a chicken shed like no other: it doubles as a shebeen. Their friend and allotment-sharer will keep it on, and Gwillym will come up now and again to visit friends.
In this picture, Joe is talking to the other Joe, while Gwillym rotovates. I got very annoyed with the other Joe last year and avoid talking to him. I suppose he was only being a typical Italian male, but I got very pissed off with him whistling at me every time he saw me on my allotment, then laughing at me when I said I didn't like it. "It's flattering!" he said. "It's sexist," I replied. Whereupon he burst out laughing again and said "Sexy! Sexy! She says it's sexy!" He had had a few glasses of his home-made wine at the time. I think he realised later, when he saw how annoyed I was, that he'd made a mistake. Now I just avoid him. I found it so embarrassing. I think he's got the message. Fortunately, he's found another girl to chat up, the one on the allotment opposite whose partner is an alcoholic.