Saturday, 22 August 2015

A trip down memory lane

When we lived in Edinburgh, I had an allotment.  I have mentioned it here before.  It was a place very close to my heart.  It is six years since I have been there, but today was the annual open day, so we made a visit.  Let me take you for a little tour.

It was very nostalgic for me, so I'm afraid you are going to have to indulge me a bit with an awful lot of pictures, including photos of photos of my original plot.  I don't have digital copies, so the glossy versions are difficult to copy, but they are just here, for the record and comparison.  Never a good idea, but too bad!
The most blissful thing about the allotment was what happened when I turned the key in the gate to the allotment site, and then walked down the grassy path, to my plot.  I could feel all the day's tensions lift off.  If it was May, and the gorse on Blackford Hill was in bloom, a wonderful spicy smell of coconut would waft down, across the site.  It was just magical.
 Turn right, and down the path into the heart of the allotment site.
I reach the other half of my old site.  I started off with a half plot, then took over the other half, which proved too much, so handed the new bit back for someone else to work.  I did, though, do up the tiny little hut, and painted it blue, to match my own shed.  It's looking a little faded now, but it has a charm all of its own!
 And then to my old plot.  Here's how it looks now (a bit scruffy)
 and here's how it looked then.  Not really recognisable!  
Here's my smart new shed, which some vandals burnt down one dark January night, wiping out my own little 8' x 6' spot on the planet.  The place never felt quite the same after that.
The plot today is very different.  It is has a big plum tree, growing on the next door plot, which overshadows the area where my shed used to be.  And there are no flowers.  I always had lots of flowers!
This was the view from my shed
and here's how it looks now.
My old gooseberry bush is still there, and a couple of blackcurrant bushes and the rhubarb is doing well!  The photo below shows a Bramley apple tree, named after a Japanese language student, who stayed with us for a week, years ago.  She won our hearts!  A lovely girl called Chisato.  She wanted to stay an extra night, and despite our refusal to take any more money from her, she left £35 in her room - so I bought this tree, Chisato's tree!  When I saw this photo, taken today, I spotted the little old blue wheelbarrow, which I left on the plot, lurking in the undergrowth. Whoever has the plot now obviously doesn't need one!
My runner bean frame is still doing a good job!

So, moving on, we had a wander around all over the allotment site.  I saw one or two people I knew, and despite feeling a bit wistful about my old plot, it was a very enjoyable hour or so, snooping.
This extremely organised plot is worked by an old neighbour of ours.  She is a delightful Turkish lady called Zeynep.  I was hoping she might have been there today, but no luck.  We had a good chat with the girl on the next door plot, who is equally organised.  There are not many plots like these two!  And they are incredibly productive too.  You could feed an army with the amount of produce they have between them.
Whoever has this plot obviously loves cabbage and kale!
If you have never looked hard at the flower of the rocket (salad leaf), gaze upon this.  It is one of the most beautifully designed flowers you can imagine!
 That's Arthur Seat in the background of the photo below.  
When I put my shed up, I painted it blue.  I got into trouble for that!  It should have been green or brown.  There are quite a lot of blue sheds on the allotment site now!  I do love sheds.  It's one of the really special things about allotments.  They can say so much about their keeper!
Allotment holders are hoarders.  You have to be.  You just never know when a bit of chicken wire, raffia, string, or netting is going to come in handy.  Keep this stuff long enough, and it's day will come.
Below, a man cave to beat them all.  It's even got a workbench, with a vice on it.  I bet the owner of this little set up spends an awful lot of time here!
A crucial bit of kit - there has to be something to land on, when your back can't bend over any longer!
Next to my own, this was my favourite plot on the allotment.  It is worked by a lovely lady, who I would like to have chatted with today, but she had an endless stream of visitors, so I just slunk away!  Next time, hopefully!  Her plot still looks good.
 Here's a lovely big horseradish plant, 
and here's the gateway to someone's paradise.
This is Pamela!  Her owner said she reminded him of someone in the French Resistance, with her beret and neckerchief!
And here is Liz's sitooterie!  
Extremely nice people have this plot.  He had just dug up this lovely collection of spuds, which he was very pleased with!
Every allotment open day, the lady of the plot, makes bajees with whatever vegetables they have growing - courgettes, beans, chard, beetroot.  She makes a batter of chickpea flour, fizzy water, with some sea salt and a pinch cumin.  She cooks the bajees in a wok, rigged up over a barbecue in a wheelbarrow!  She hands them out to visitors to their allotment.  I have thought of her bajees so often over the years, and couldn't help going over to taste just one more!  Delish!
Another very organised plot!
This photograph is not at all interesting to anyone but me!  I've just put it here for the record.  These six slabs were all that was left of my shed, after the fire.  I gave them to a Spanish man who said he was going to put up a greenhouse.  That was about eight years ago - still no greenhouse!
 This is the oldest, working wheelbarrow I have ever seen!
And here is a last look, from one side of the allotment gardens, to the other.  A really lovely place, which will always be important to me.  I hope you have enjoyed the visit!

1 comment:

  1. Goodness that was a trip down memory lane! I remember visiting you little piece of Wonderland! Happy days, happy memories but you are so v lucky to have your beautiful garden in the woods now!
    Roll on the orchard... It needs a little blue shed tucked in the corner! Xx

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