Real Men Sow

Singing the Praises of: Jan Time


Seven years ago my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thankfully, she survived, and is now in her second year of remission. I can’t explain exactly what I mean, and I know it’s a cliché, but something changed for our whole family during the year mum was receiving treatment.

When mum recovered fully, I started gardening with her. I was still living at home, and we built a veg patch. Mum’s a passionate gardener, but she’d never really got in to growing veg. A year or so later, I moved in with my girlfriend and got an allotment, and me and mum have been happily working it ever since.

A lot of people talk about allotments being more than just growing food. The exercise, fresh air, relaxation and back to earth basics of growing your own are all exhilarating elements that make life that much better. But for me, there’s one more:


Every morning spent on the allotment with my mum is a joy, a wonder and a celebration of our bond. Its time that might once have been robbed from me, and just being on Plot 105 reminds me of this. I slow down, and me and mum talk and think; happy and at peace with the world.

Mum helps me and she laughs with me. The time spent is a different kind of time from our every day lives. It’s not a mother and son relationship, its one of best friends.

So this one’s for you, Jan. May there be many more mornings like yesterday.


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  1. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » My Eight Tastiest Crops on the PlotFebruary 24, 2011 at 4:11 pmReply

    [...] It’s Not All About the Money This was quite liberating, and reminded me that while money saving is brill, it’s not the reason I started growing my own produce. I started because I thought Escape to River Cottage was the best thing I’d ever seen on the tele, because of an increasing interest in our impact on the environment and because I wanted to spend more time with my cancer-recovering mum. [...]

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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During 2011, I kept a diary of how much money I save from growing my own fruit and vegetables. After totalling all my outgoings, I saved approximately £500 over the year. I made a spreadsheet to calculate these savings - it’s nothing too complicated, as I’m no Excel guru, but hopefully someone else will find it as useful (and strangely fun) as me. For more info, visit my Money Saving Experiment page by clicking here.


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