Friday 10 November 2023

The End of an Era

It's been such a long time since I wrote anything gets get on with things and time just flies. Yet here I find myself again right back at the beginning. It is with a heavy heart that I tell you all now that there will never again be a post written about the time spent on the allotment. A place that for the last 18 years I have literally put my blood, sweat and tears into. An extension of my home...a place that helped me through the grieving process of both my parents, a place I went to help with my well being through some particularly hard times at work, my safe solitude...the place I went to be one with nature...find clarity through my struggles...and a complete and utter godsend through covid 19....memories built over the last 18 years....all taken away from me as they decided to evict me...and not just me but the bees too!!!
It all started really back in June, I received a letter saying my plot was weedy and not 75% planted out...I didn't have any qualms with this was true...I was behind this year. I took on a new position at work last October which saw me working full time...I pondered with giving up half a plot of land but wanted to see if I could still manage it. By June I knew that a full plot was going to be too much and so had decided to relinquish a half plot at the end of the year....but for the time being I would knuckle down and get it done. What got me about this letter was that it stated it was 'The second letter concerning my tenancy'. Last year the new committee decided that some compost bins I had in situ on the bee plot were actually on a path...they had been there for 10 years...backed up to a fence....but none the less they had to be moved...those of you who are gardeners will know how hard a job moving 8 compost bins that had been in situ 10 years would be. But anyway...I said I would move them and I did...all but two...these had bumble bee nests in them so I got permission to leave them where they were until the bumblebees left. Then I just never got back to it...until I received the letter in October. That reminded me!!  Once I got that letter I got them moved within the week. That was the first letter which then made the letter in June a second they were received within 12 months of each other!!

I totally complied with the June letter...My seeds had sprouted, grown and been hardened off and were ready to be planted out so I did all this within the 28 day timeframe and got through the next plot inspection...I presume with no issues as I didn't get another letter...but as often happens with gardening things just weren't running smoothly...crops were stunted or dying and weeds were thriving. I have never had this issue before so sought the advice of an ergonomist.

I have always worked purely on crop rotation to keep my soil in good condition but found out from the ergonomist that this really isn't enough with the way the climate in the UK is I needed to change with it!! I took all his advice on board, bought lime and recommended green manure seed and set to work clearing, liming and sowing green manure. I emailed the committee with the finding's or the ergonomist and the plan I had been given just so they were aware of what I was doing. But guess what??? They weren't bothered in the slightest...I got a 'thanks for your email...but here is a cessation notice!!

I was gutted...distraught....angry...depressed...fearful...devastate!

You name an emotion and I probably went through it. I sent an appeal letter which they deemed not an 'Appeal' letter. I showed up at meetings to plead my case, I went to the parish the end of the day...nobody cared...and so....that is it!! My final day for removing stuff was yesterday...the let will be handed back tomorrow...and it feels like 18 years of hard work have just been rubbed in my face. I think the hardest part was hiving to give up my polytunnel. I'd wanted one for such a long time and it was one of the things my dad made me promise to him that I would get just before he passed that was really hard...and many of my past pets were buried there too.

So that's it in a nutshell really, a very condensed and simplistic version of what has been done to me and I have spent the last 4 weeks clearing out 18 years worth of memories (and so therefore cluttering my garden and shed!) and getting the bees a new home!! I know I'm probably not the only one this has happened to and my heart goes out to anyone who has been put in the same's true what they say...if your face doesn't fit!!

I will probably elaborate more over the next few weeks...I have all the correspondence. I have photos of my plots, I have photos of other members plots. I will share these things in the coming days.

But...this is not going to be he end of allotments4you. I started it for growing and growing I shall continue to do!!

Thanks for reading....feel free to comment!!