Horse manure

Wednesday, August 6th, 2003

I'm seriously pissed off – and I mean seriously pissed off – about the allotment.

We went there yesterday evening for the first time in over a week. The plants were basically still okay, a few were suffering from lack of water but no real worries there.

But someone from the management committee had been along and cut down the two oak saplings that had stood at one end of the plot, forming a boundary between us and the rickety shack constructed by the next plotholder.

We'd heard rumblings about their removal but I'd explicitly said on at least two occasions that we wanted those trees to stay. They weren't huge, maybe 15 foot, but they looked fairly good and they gave us a measure of seclusion.

And what we hate most of all in the world is other people interfering on our patch, whether that literally means the vegetable patch, or wider stuff like intrusions into our home of neighbours' noise or telephone canvassing. We like to define the areas that are ours and be safe and undisturbed in them.

So you can imagine how we felt to find that, without even bothering to tell us, people had been on our plot to remove the trees.

What's the point of slogging away for the better part of a year to turn that plot from a wilderness, only to find that we don't have control over what happens on it?

I phoned the allotment secretary. She has an unfortunate manner – she sounds like she's being rude whatever she's saying because she has a brisk manner and a slightly posh voice. She informed me that oaks weren't allowed because of the moisture they suck up, and therefore they had to be removed. Our wishes on the matter were not relevant.

Well, I can see the point. It's an allotment – vegetables, fruit trees, flowers: yes. Verdant forests: no. So it's difficult to argue back on that count.

But it's also difficult not to be very angry indeed about the way it's all come about.

With crops in the ground I don't want to walk away now. But come the end of the growing season, I think that's probably it for the allotment.

And if you've been reading this since November, when both allotment and journal began, you'll know how upset I am about that.

But it's too late – it's been spoiled now.

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I'm Andy Darley. Sometimes I want to say things. This is where I do it.