I have an allotment with, what I can only describe as a bunch of jobsworths! They are like the Gistapo of Allotments. They are the type of people who enjoy taking on spurious types of responsibility, as a means of wielding power – they are what I call, the little people, (absolutely no offense to the Other, Little People – Faery or Shining Ones), the people I refer to as the Badge Brigade. You know the type – the ones that walk round, scanning for that unsuspecting being to shower their baleful power onto. Looking down with their beady little eyes and their self important airs and graces when, actually, they work at Tescos! (No offense to the employees of Tesco or any other similar establishment, who are not like this!). All this because someone gave them a title and a badge and gave them a little power with very little knowledge and no people skills whatsoever.

Well this blog;……… – no I am not one of those peace loving, mouth shutting, grin and bear it type pagans – I do actually believe in anger as a valid and necessary emotion. (I mean healthy & safe expression not its use in power and aggression) What I don’t believe in, is gossip mongering. I do believe in speaking up and speaking out. So if you identify with what I have said or have had similar experiences with your allotment or in any other field then do accompany me in speaking your mind.

Well this blog is about the Allotment Committee who police, and yes I do mean police, the allotments. I received a ‘Weed Letter’ yesterday regarding my allotment. Now, you may be thinking, now Kaarina, you must adhere to weeding your allotment. Well, yes and ….no.

Here is the story of my allotment that I obtained in November of last year.

Initially I did quite well and cleared roughly one side of my allotment. Quite frankly, it was an absolute mass of weeds when I took it over. I dug and dug and turned over and pulled out weeds and repeated and repeated. I didn’t want to resort to machinery that would just hack up all the weeds and send them all over my soil. If I had a pound for how many times people said, ‘I used a rotary whatsit on mine and that did the trick!’ I would smile sweetly and continue with my strange activities which didn’t, in my mind involve tramping all over Mother Earth with great monsters of machinery! When I had removed, painstakingly, various stones and weeds and turned the earth into a fine tilth – is that the right word? Well near enough. I planted carrots, cauliflour, parsnips, onions and later potatoes, radishes and lettuces, in nice little rows. Bear in mind this is the first time I have done this properly beyond our garden, so I am following some instructions from various organic allotment books!

Now. I don’t do chemicals,  either in cleaning or personal hygiene or in growing things.  I am also a keen herbs person as many druids/witches are and I don’t mean just for culinary purposes. I grow herbs for magickal working and for medicinal purposes and for personal use in shampoo and conditioners etc. (I also have to buy in herbs as I haven’t the range as yet). So, beside my nice neat rows I also planted, Calendula- Marigold, Borage, Lavender, Rosemary, Elancampine, Chamomile, Cornflower, Marshmallow, Comfry, Vervain, Nasturnums, Valerian, St John’s Wort and Meadowsweet. Some of which are anything but demure in their growing habits and have a tendency to look a bit messy and wayward. Not a popular thing with the Allotment committee or other straight line Allotmenteurs (amateur, but very competitive species of allotment owners who don’t believe in anything growing out of control. They obsessively adhere to straight rows, exacting heights and widths and cut and crop their  vegetation to match their sterile, anti bacterially cleaned houses, dogs, cars, and children.)

Anyway, I digress:

Early on  in the year I became ill. As a result I became very anaemic and was put on tablets, eventually for this.  Not before, however, I had nearly ground to a halt and finally gone to the doctors. As such, I was unable to manage very much at all.  I did what I could and dug out another part of my allotment and tried to keep the existing, cultivated parts weeded, which took several weeks. At  this stage I had dug out four sections plus another tiny section which meant that roughly half and one quarter of my allotment was dug and this remains so. However, when I became very ill I was unable to do anything for a good three weeks. In between all of this we had severe rains and despite my best early efforts, I lost most of what I had planted, as did many other people. I replanted a couple more times and managed to grow some chard and lettuces and the potatoes seemed to survive, as did the bigger herbs. My Marigolds, Nasturnams, Chamomile and Corn flowers did not show. I sewed more seeds and blessed them again and asked desperately for the spirits of place and guardians to help me.

I managed to buy a rotary lawn mower that proved absolutely useless against the huge grasses that had grown along with the metre high nettles on the rest of the allotment. Previous to this I had hand shears, which had given up the ghost with the cutting. My back was not keen either. Sadly, because of the rain the bootsales were badly affected, so my plans at increasing my tool collection, from these wonderful sunday morning adventures were sadly dashed. I managed to cut most of the grass on the planted side of my allotment, ( I use the word loosely, as mine was a combination of everything you might imagine could grow, giving an overall green impression of grass).

The lawnmower was utterly useless against the strong plantain stalks and other grasses though I did my best.  The other side was a beautiful tangle of truly, fabulous grasses that I wished I could leave or at least utilise in dried flower arrangements. The nettles nearest the boundary on that side, were unreachable through the said grasses. Actually I do like Nettles and love nettle tea and I had planned to keep a few for me and for liquid fertilizer. However, this was, rather more than a few!

When we came back from  holiday, the only sunny weeks in five weeks of torrential rain, I could have cried. At this point, I felt so utterly wretched and weak, that I wanted to throw the towel in. ‘This is just too much for me, doing this on my own,’  I thought. I was fighting to keep on top of things without having the necessary energy to go with it. I sat there wavering, the grass looking like it had never been cut, the weeds strangling what remained of my planted part and the slugs happily eating my salad, lettuce by lettuce. There were no si gns of my Marigolds but a voice in my head said, they will grow this time; but I thought, ‘fat chance of that!’

But……………………… I thought, no! I will not give in. I am going to do this, I will not be beaten. Ill or not!

So I started again on the arduous task of weeding and cutting. On one occasion, having bought new shears, I managed to enlist the help of my partner, and she cut away at the glorious purple and pink grasses on the otherside. I began to feel I was making headway again and at last, a marigold leaf showed here and there. You cannot imagine my joy when the first bright orange flowers emerged,  showing my marigolds were with me on this campaign! They were shortly followed by the borage with their beautiful blue star flowers.

I have to say a little word about my comfrey. What a beautiful herb! She soldiered on through rain and wind, giving me her lovely purple flowers in repeated displays, from the day and hour I transplanted her from her pot in our garden. The other winners similarly transplanted, were the joyous, yellow display from the Elencampine, the beautiful, scented white/pinkish flowers of the Valerian and the pretty and gloriously, perfumed meadowsweet. These were my partners that gave me hope in my desperation.

However, in the midst of my revelry and grateful thanks to these stalwalts, a committee member, disguised as a pleasant dog walker stopped at my little, gateless entry. He remarked on the fact that I was weeding, (as if I had never made any attempts at weeding at any other time in the year), I answered with the usual pleasantries and explained that I had been ill. He then, coming clean, told me he would let the committe know this and that he had seen me working in my allotment.  After he had gone, I thought, ‘Phew! that was lucky.’  So, I continued on.

Anyway, time, rain and an operation & convalescence later, the allotment is again in need of attention. I have just gone back to work after two weeks off sick since the operation. I have not been able to lift anything very heavy and haven’t been to the allotment in that time. This is when I received the above ‘Weed letter’. Well! I was so angry and upset.

I am inclined to think that these people are akin to the dreaded parking ticket crowd and debt collectors. What does illness mean to these people? A bit of a virus? A cold maybe? I am not elderly, yet, thank goodness, but do they treat them in the same way? If they have to go into hospital for a hip replacement or for Rheumatoid Arthritis, do they come back to find their hard work and precious plants, all handed out to some other willing victim. Their plot dessicrated and in the hands of another? This is an awful state of affairs. No room for a wildlife and wild flower/bee patch in your plot. (Not unless it grows straight and doesn’t make any mess or threaten any neighbouring plots).

I have not lost my plot, thank fully but after all my efforts and set backs, I must admit to nearly throwing in the towel again.

I am informed that my plot does not conform to the standards, (not written, secret standards, known only to committee members), of the committee – said straight lines again. It also became clear that many of my herbs were also deemed as weeds – uneducated baffoons comes to mind. I have been ‘pardoned!’ for being ill and let off with a, ‘try and at least get the grass cut!’ I am also informed that I should not trust other plot holders as they apparently act as informers to the committee. One can only imagine!

This makes me wonder, are these people bored? Have they no life? Are they sexually frustrated? Do they have nothing better to entertain them? Are they simply bitter and twisted? Do they have any humanity?

I also wonder if it ever occurs to any of the committee members, whether it might be good idea to find out if there are ever any bonifide reasons why peoples plots are the way they are, at any one time in the year? It may make sense to ask before choosing such devastating action. These ‘Weed Letters,’ by the way, give you 30 days to clear and cultivate the plot as per contract and thereafter let you know that you will be spied on  until you can conform to the unwritten secret standards of the Allotment Committee! Bless their little cotton socks!

Well, I feel a good script, for a theatre comedy coming on!

Bright Blessings All

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