Daft allotment blog

Strange finds

I love winter.

Growth is slow and plants don’t bully you to water or harvest them.

Strange finds emerge once the greenery has retreated.

And even though I style myself as an extrovert who enjoys company, I love being on the plot when no one else is around.

I persuade Mr Mandy Sutter to take an hour off from work/having a cold/writing illegible lists in his diary or whatever it is he does these days and come enjoy the peace and solitude with me.

‘Oh, and while we’re down there, we might as well prune some apple trees,’ I say, ‘to give the visit a focus.’

Kindly, he agrees. He knew right from the get-go that I didn’t have his well being at heart.

Mr MS and I don’t class each other as company, exactly, as those in long term relationships will recognize. In Nigel Williams’ comedy novel ‘The Wimbledon Poisoner,’ Henry’s wife tells him,’you block me!’ It’s a line often repeated in our house. But at the same time, we’re happy to spend an hour or two blocking each other outdoors.

I speed walk on the way there because Mr MS only has 90 minutes to spare and we’ve wasted 20 of those in the garage trying to find a pruning saw he put somewhere safe. He ambles behind. It’s a dynamic so familiar we barely notice it.

But once we’re down there and the snipping begins, good humour and enjoyment reign. I chat about my new home blood pressure monitor and the results therefrom, a subject that as a hypochondriac I find endlessly fascinating. He parries by listing Yorkshire football grounds and what sort of pies they serve.

The low burble of our utterances bounces lightly off the eardrums of the other, with neither of us straining to ascribe meaning to it.

For a novice pruner, Mr MS ends up doing an excellent job. I plant out my garlic and some autumn planting shallots called Giselle. Because Mr MS has his walking boots on, he is able to firm the beds by foot. ‘I’m treading on Giselle,’ he says nonsensically. So intoxicated am I by our progress and by the smell of newly turned soil that I laugh as if he has made an excellent joke.

After he’s gone, I try and take a picture. But the smartphone camera renders our handiwork invisible. All it shows is bare trees and soil. I give up and sit on the bench to drink my coffee.

With a sound like a gunshot the bench seat splinters and I fall through it, to land on my arse with both legs in the air. It’s so sudden, I don’t even yelp.

Several questions hurtle through my mind. 1. Am I hurt? 2. Why have my coffee cup and flask remained undisturbed on the bench arm?  3. Will I be able to play table tennis tomorrow? 4. What’s the point of a comedy accident if it goes unwitnessed?

Daft allotment blog

The demolished seat

I am annoyed with Mr MS for having gone home. He will be sympathetic later, of course, but what’s the point of that? Also, if he’d been there, I might have gained some Brownie points for my ability to see the funny side of things in the face of minor injury.

As it is, I have to extricate myself from the innards of the bench alone.

Before starting on the long hobble home though, I realise that one good thing has come out of my accident. The demolished seat will make a good picture.