Allotment stories: Mr MS goes meditating

Mr MS last week

Mr Mandy Sutter, not understanding that I am the designated spiritual member of our household, went on a meditation retreat last week. It was something I’d been urging him to do, to combat stress.

So I can’t explain the strange resentment I felt when he finally went, and broke all contact with me for ten days. Not even a text.

To make matters worse, I found myself unable to meditate while he was away.

He got back and found me tense. ‘You’re stressed. You need to meditate.’

‘How can I, now that you’ve taken it over?’

‘I think you’ll find there are other people meditating besides me.’

It was a fair point.

The truth was, while he was away I had developed a new obssession set to rival meditation as the Answer to Everything. The composting toilet.

London allotment: pic for allotment blog

Overgrown plots

I’d spent a weekend in London with my friend David, visiting different allotments. Yes, that is my idea of a good time these days.

On one site in the East End, half the plots were overgrown and untenanted.  It was green and wild, and felt nothing like London. Someone explained: no water. But the allotmenteers were getting together to solve the problem and had installed huge tanks near the gates.

I was inspired.

‘YOU could have a plot here,’ I told David.

‘Hmm’, he said.

Browsing his bookshelves later, ‘The Humanure Handbook’ came to my attention.

David is fascinated by composting. In fact he finds it the most compelling aspect of allotmenteering. His patio is a-pong with buckets of soaking comfrey leaves, his plot a-ferment with nitrogen fixers, his mind awash with thoughts of pissing into straw bales.

Having said that, I may have outdone him with my fervour for the ideas outlined in ‘Humanure’.

When he said he was the only tenant on his allotments with a brick shed, I nearly combusted with excitement.

‘Clear out the tools and stuff, and you could have a composting toilet!’ I shouted. ‘All you need is a bucket and some sawdust. You’d be intimately involved in the life cycle. Your faeces would offend you no more. They’d be as gold dust.’

‘Hmm,’ he said.

Allotment humour: book about humanure

Gripping stuff

I was forced to remember I am the one who finds faeces offensive, so much so that any dung-related incidents in our household send me off into a corner to retch while Mr MS sorts everything out.

I resorted to generalities. ‘You’ve got to admit it’s a fantastic idea. It’s recycling with knobs on.’

‘Maybe,’ said David. ‘But pissing into a straw bale will do me for now.’

I was trying, and failing, to get an easy-going man to do something of my choosing, not his. It was just like home. Which meant it was time to pack my bags and take my strange passion back up the M1.

Dad's inventions

Keeping your teaspoon handy

Now that I’ve been back a week, and Mr MS has returned, I find myself still keen. And  wondering if anyone else at our allotments would be interested.

There’s a triangle of common land near the gate that would make a perfect site.

Before asking around, I’d better broach the subject with Dad. He likes recycling and DIY when it means making lamps out of old baked bean tins, or drilling a hole in his teaspoon so’s he can hang it by the kettle.

He may draw the line at shitting into a bucket.

But I have high hopes of Mr MS.

I’ll have to get him off that meditation cushion first, though.