the paperwork so a quick walk up to the local town hall to meet with Eugene (the head of the committee), really nice bloke, talked me through the contract, the site rules, etc. and then we signed, and after a bit more of a chat I found out a few useful things and some fairly motivational things too, such as there's a good chance I'll win an award if i can get the site in some sort of half decent cultivation state by april/may of next year as it's been in a sorry state for some time now, which I definitely think is a great motivator and something to work towards, after all who doesnt love an award now and then. During the conversation I was asked if I minded agreeing to a few stipulations, which would need to be completed before my first plot inspection, I was assured that these inspections are uncommon, but due to the state of the plot and a few other members of the site having raised concerns about its condition, the committee wanted a bit of reassurance from myself that I was going to make good the plot. The 3 requests are
To have all rubbish removed from site
To repair, remove or replace all outbuildings as neccessary, and
To have ~25% of the plot, either cultivated or covered
These tasks are to be completed by early January and to be honest I don't think they are at all unreasonable or unrealistic, the rubbish removal is my first priority and the council offer a one-time removal service, so all I have to do is pile up the crap I don't want and then give them a ring and they'll take care of it. The sheds, as mentioned in my previous post, will be repaired in the near future and the one at the top will most likely be demolished and so after dotting the i's and crossing the t's, and of course paying the fees, I was told the plot was officially mine, HOORAY! Unfortunately I couldn't immediately go to the site on friday, mainly because I had adulty things to do, which sucks and also the weather was miserable.
So bright and early I woke on saturday ready to start tackling the mess of a plot I had just taken on, but alas the weather was still miserable, aghhh! However a quick look at the forecast showed it clearing up in the afternoon, good stuff, I have things I can be doing at home in preparation for my first 'official' visit, such as modifying the large oil drum/barrel, i'd managed to nab from work, into a handy fire barrel. So armed with an angle grinder and a hammer i set to work cutting the lid off and creating some ventilation slots near the base. Job done, I loaded it into the car and headed to site, now parking is pretty much non-existent at this particular allotment site, with the nearest car park pretty much halfway between my house and the plot, and the nearest street a short walk away but nearly impossible to park on, I do plan on walking 9 times out of 10 unless i have large/heavy items to take to the plot. Fortunately I managed to nab a space quite close to the site's access drive, I unloaded the barrel and then carried it the 300 yards or so to my new piece of gardening paradise. After recovering my breath (I'm not the fittest person around but hopefully the allotment will help with that some), I spotted some of my new neighbours on the plot next door but one and thought it sensible to introduce myself, enter Adrian and Una, a lovely couple who informed me the previous owner(PO) had told them he wasn't a fan of digging, hence all the potted trees and weeds! Honestly, why take a plot on if you're only growing things in pots, surely a patio is more suitable! They also informed me PO had only ever planted things in shop bought, "premium" compost, so that's a win in my eyes as now I have lots of free new compost for my first lot of crops. After our chat it was time to make a start, as it was late afternoon and the light would soon be fading, I chose to make an attempt at clearing one of the sheds and seeing what delights were inside the wooden shed(Shed #1) and to be honest as expected it was mostly rubbish and oddly a lot of bootleg DVDs, none of which appealed to me so into the bin. I also lit a fire in my new barrel and fed it with lots of little cardboard boxes and other rubbish, after 30-45 minutes of sorting i was left with a considerably tidier shed, I forgot to take a proper before photo due to being new to the whole blogging thing but i'll get there :)
Feeling quite pleased with myself i decided to have a look at the PVC shed(Shed #2) in the bottom corner and what a little treasure trove that has turned out to be! Nearly new tools, such as leaf scoops, a hoe, a twisted fork thingy(don't know the correct name), 2 sets of shears and a hand saw, as well as a large box of 'Dazzling Dahlia' bulbs and a greenhouse water mist kit, which may come in handy for the polytunnel.
Unfortunately the light began to fade, and all this hardwork had made me hungry, so I made sure the fire was properly out and headed home.
On Sunday I was pestered continuously by the eldest(5) to bring him with me to the allotment, I was a touch hestitant about this as the plot is not exactly child friendly(yet!), nor is it dog proof but I decided to bring both the dog and my boy and see how it went. Turns out the boy loved 'exploring' the plot and the dog wasn't bothered about escaping, WIN! WIN!
Today's mission was to finish clearing and get a bit of organisation in to shed #2 and get the randomly scattered pots of trees and weeds neatened up and I think it's fair to say I achieved that as you can see below:
As the pics show i've managed to clear quite a bit of space by moving the tree pots out of the way(by the way who knew pots of dirt were so damn HEAVY!), however, I seem to have started filling that space with rubbish from the sheds and elsewhere. This isn't that big of a deal as I need to pile it up somewhere to get it removed and the entrance is a lot more open now which is what I wanted. Overall i'm quite pleased with how things have gone this weekend and can't wait to get back up there next weekend, I'd happily spend every day up there but until the days last a bit longer there's no way I can get home from work, get to the allotment and still have daylight, ah well weekends will do for now. That's enough rambling from me this week and the next post should be in a weeks time following next weekends shenanigans at the plot. As always thanks for reading and any feedback would be really appreciated.