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Allotment tales Empty Allotment tales

Fri Mar 20 2015, 20:52
Having had an allotment on and off for 25 years and managed three allotment sites I could write a book about allotments, allotment holders and what they get up to, good or bad, verging on the ridiculous, funny and some very sad. The diversity on some sites is truly amazing when you can experience within a few acres of land different cultures from all over the world.

I had the great privilege of managing a site that had allotment holders whose origins were Russian, German, India, Pakistan, Jamaica, West Indies, Poland and others and I was blessed to have met, became friends with some amazing people. As I started growing my own as a young man and quickly became their allotment association Secretary, as many of my friends were of pensionable age, many are sadly no longer with us. My, oh, my do I have some wonderful treasured memories.

Each Sunday morning, as part of my role (volunteer) I would walk through the several acre site to ensure all is ok, talk to plotters and have a good natter. One glorious Sunday morning I did my usual round and saw Bob sat in his chair enjoying the glorious sunshine looking down at the fruits of his Labour. Bob loved his plot, had it for decades and lived each day for it. But - he was a grumpy so and so. A good man. "Hi Bob" I shouted waving my hand and I was duly ignored. This was not unusual for Bob as he didn't care for authority much so I just carried on and hoped he would be more responsive on my return.

About 1 hour later I passed Bob again still sat in his chair and this time I stopped because I was determined to snap Bob from his grumpiness (I thought) on such a glorious day. "Hi Bob - You ok?" I shouted and I got no response.

It dawned on me sadly that something was wrong. I went on his plot to his chair and found that Bob had died on his plot, eyes open, on a wonderful day staring at his produce.

I to this day really believe if he wanted to choose his way to go it would have definitely been his choice. A good man. Will never forget him.

At his funeral the organist played this wonderful song - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUyxCP5Rvco
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Sat Mar 21 2015, 19:43
My dad had an allotment and when he retired he spent most of his days on there, he grew all the usual stuff and kept chickens too, As the allotment was only yards from his house we all would go there and help him and we loved to feed the chickens, we even had names for them, One of the older ones was called toby, toby had stopped laying eggs and so dad decided he was going to kill it and eat it for Sunday dinner, dad had never killed a chicken, or anything for that matter before but had asked others the most humane way, they'd explained how to snap its neck as a quick painless end so that's what he tried, Somehow toby knew of his intention and would't go to him as he threw chicken feed to entice the chicken closer so he could grab it, So dad went to catch it 'Rocky style' , dad was no match for tobys speed and agility so i was commissioned to be the rounder up, After about 15 minutes chacing round the pen we finally got toby and dad attempted the neck snap, he failed and toby ran off again, I was kinda glad it failed and hoped that dad would give up,but he did't he went running after it with an axe, I kept out of the way as dad ran after toby swinging the axe tody was trying her best to fly and get away but got caught in a corner where dad swung the axe and toby was dealt a deadly blow, the neck was severed but not all the way through the neck fell to one side but toby carried on running for at least a few yards before falling down and was dead, dad then did the rest of the job himself,plucking,cleaning etc before presenting to mum for the cooking,
that Sunday everyone found an excuse for not attending the Sunday dinner, I was about 30 at that time and it was the first time I could remember that no one wanted Sunday dinner, not even mum and dad could eat the chicken, Sad
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Sun Mar 22 2015, 22:32
Excellent story Tomplum. Shame for the chicken though LOL
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Sun Mar 22 2015, 22:43
Every year we had an allotment competition for the best plot and the competition was fierce to such a degree two particular allotment holders hated each others guts. Sad really.

Both their allotments were superb and one of them was the current champion from the year before.

As competition day got nearer much talk was about potential victors.

Two weeks before competition day the current champion went to his plot to find the whole allotment covered in grass seed.

Clearly, the culprit was not caught but his arch rival went on to win the competition.

An unbelievable and sad situation for anyone to stoop. After a few weeks, we all saw the funny side.
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Mon Mar 23 2015, 09:49
Tom - I love that story about Toby the hen - my Mum did too! Very Happy

Michael - do you still have a plot?

This song followed that ^^^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0TInLOJuUM
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Mon Mar 23 2015, 10:54
Hi Veg,

Just given it up as it was Hindley Green and I live in Ashton. Too far away. It was a private piece of land.
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Mon Mar 23 2015, 13:21
Ah, so you lost the plot then Michael? Razz
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Mon Mar 23 2015, 22:44
For goodness sake Kryten get on the politics page.
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Tue Mar 24 2015, 10:17
For a few years I help looked after a friends chickens, ducks and geese. We had an abundance of eggs and I really enjoyed caring for them near my allotment.

We often allowed some eggs to hatch to keep the numbers of the flock up.

On one occasion, we had a duckling that hatched. We took it home and looked after it with the few chickens we had there.

As the duckling grew it got on very well with the chickens.

When the time was right we introduced the duckling to the flock at the plot.

We had a separate shed for each of the three set of birds.

Come night time the birds go in the shed and the duckling decided to go in with the chickens. We thought, ok no harm done.

From observations on the plot we saw the duck was always with the chickens by day at night, despite the fact we had many ducks roaming the same land.

As it got older, the same duck then started to attempt to mate the chickens. Obviously, the rest of the chickens were unhappy with his frisky attempts so whole hell let loose on a daily basis.

It was a frequent sight to watch the flock of chickens chasing the duck around the plot and the duck didn't stand a chance.

At first, it was hilarious but it became more serious than we thought.

We really had a duck that thought it was a chicken.

In the end we gave the duck away to someone who just kept ducks. The duck that thought it was a chicken lived happily ever after.
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Sun Mar 29 2015, 21:04
Going back to when i was in Primary school,I would be 6 or 7 years old, Dad had a large garden then, He had a greenhouse and shed on it and i remember the pipes that ran all the way round the inside and he had a home made boiler where he burned logs to keep the greenhouse warm, In the greenhouse I remember the grapes, I used to love the grapes,they were black ones and had pips that you had to be carefull not to swallow,
One day I went in the greenhouse and there was a banana tree, I asked my Dad where the banana tree had come from and he told me he'd grown it, so I believed him, well you would would't you, your Dads your Dad, there's only god got any higher status than your Dad,
the banana tree I found out later had 'fell off the back of a lorry', a bloke from Liverpool was selling Banana tree's that had been held up in the docks and as this was in the fifties any kind of fruit was hard to come by so the banana tree's were selling like hot cakes and we got one,
But at that time I was't to know as I told the teacher in my class that my Dad grows Bananas, the teacher smiled and firmly told me that bananas can't grow in England, and like any little boy who knows what he knows won't stop protesting that ,yes miss my Dad grows bananas in his green house,
It was only when my Mum came to pick me up at school and I asked her to please tell the teacher that my Dad grows bananas in his green house that Mum put her finger up to her lips meaning " shuuuush" and as we walked away explained that we were't supposed to tell anyone,
Embarassed
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Mon Mar 30 2015, 10:04
Thats great Tom - of course they do need the heat as does all tropical fruit. I saw something on TV a year or so ago about Tatton Hall (think it was) and they were growing pineapples - apparently pineapples were grown in all the big houses at one time in heated greenhouses - it showed how they kept grapes fresh too in the old days - they cut the bunches but left a long stalk on and the cut stalk was positioned in a tiled wine bottle with fresh water in it - they were able to eat grapes every day of the year!

flower flower flower
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Tue Mar 31 2015, 00:01
Great story Tom.
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Wed Apr 01 2015, 23:12
One of the advantages of growing your own is that you are able to grow produce for ingredients to make home made wine.

One of my friends Rosie, who has now passed away aged in her 90's after decades of practice made the most delicious home made wine.

Rosie who was of Russian origin, on many occasions invited me into their large greenhouse, with her husband Walter (now deceased too), sat on a comfy couch, on a south facing slope drinking the most beautiful home made wine.

I was in heaven in the most beautiful scenic views I nicknamed "The Frenchwood Riviera" in Preston. Many times I got pissed one of the advantages I suppose of being a respected association Secretary Very Happy

One day Rosie arranged with me to watch her squishing of grapes for her next batch of beautiful home made wine.

I duly obliged.

Rosie proudly invited me in, a glass to keep me company and a very large bucket of grapes. Not really prepared for what I was about to see I watched Rosie with her bare feet go in the bucket and started crushing the grapes with her (grubby) feet.

I was pretty shocked because as you would expect a person of her age who has worked hard all her life didn't have very nice feet.

From that experience I was continually invited for occasional wine drinking sessions and as a sober man my private initial thoughts were always about Rosie's feet and how the wine was made. I would always have a glance at her feet, pretty pointless really as the wine was made some time ago.

Rosie often walked bare footed so I would down my first delicious glass and any "worries" were soon disappeared on the second and third glass etc.

We got on really well despite the age difference. Walter & Rosie were married for well over 60 years and were a wonderful couple who lived for their two allotments converted into one.

I will always remember Rosie for her delicious wonderful wine "squished" by her grubby feet sat facing the Frenchwood Riviera.

Heaven. Very Happy
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Mon Apr 13 2015, 00:37
There was an elderly chap who was a strange chap really who had a plot. We knew him as Bugle Bill.

I liked him a lot but to be honest he was pretty useless at gardening and managing his plot. Well respected member of our society though.

Always scruffy looking all he grew was spuds but each evening before dusk we were subjected to the same ritual.

He would play his bugle before dusk under his tree which could be heard across the site.

He couldn't play the instrument at all musically but he got great enjoyment thinking he could and I got great enjoyment listening to his efforts. Wouldn't have had it any other way.

Each evening when Bugle Bill left his plot and his bugle for the next day, I stayed for the evening song from a blackbird on the same tree Bill sat under a few minutes earlier.

Different but great musical treats in their unique way Very Happy

Bugle Bill like many of my friends is no longer with us. Always remembered.
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Mon Apr 13 2015, 07:55
Nice stories Michael.
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Mon Apr 13 2015, 10:42
Thanks Veg. Great stories but great people. Very Happy
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