Okay, there should probably be a waffle warning with this post. Its almost a stream of consciousness, but here goes…
I rode my bike in Danbury woods last night, and the trails were really dry and fast. They’ve recovered from the rain we got in June and July, and I zipped round. Passing this info on to a mate I was arranging to ride with Saturday, he said that was excellent, and ‘…hopefully we won’t get too much rain tomorrow to spoil the trails – although I guess you’ll be wanting it for your plants!’
Funnily enough, I’d been contemplating this exact conundrum on my way around the loop yesterday, which is probably why I fell off yet again. I don’t quite know what’s happened to my riding recently, but I seem to be stacking it every time I go out. I’m not sure if it’s lack of concentration, overconfidence, I’m getting braver and faster, or just plain rubbisher.
Anyway, I digress. Told you this was going to be waffly.
Well soaked plot or dusty dry trails?
The point I’m trying to make is sometimes having a plot is at complete odds with other interests. Each big downpour is met with the obligatory ‘lovely drop of rain’ text to my mum, but at the same time, I wish it to stop so that my speedy fun on the bike trails isn’t turned into a slidy, sloppy mudfest.
But watering is boring. If Mother Nature’s happy to do it for me, then I’ll be delighted. If only I could pick and choose where she moves her clouds.
It’s the same with Ailsa and her windsurfing and sailing. She looks out of the window every Saturday morning, hoping to see the trees swaying with a prevailing wind. I do the same, wanting to see as little breeze as possible so I can take my little dinghy out for a spot of fishing.
I don’t fancy cycling into a strong headwind, either.
What about the young plants I might have put out the previous evening? The last thing they need is a force 5 battering them while they’re trying to establish.
What weather do I really want?
These conflicts extend further into the allotment. At the moment, for example, I’m worried that the warm weather is making my kale and spinach grow much too fast so that it won’t last the whole winter. Yet I could really do with the sun to ripen my tomatoes and give my experimental outdoor aubergines a chance. They’ve really not liked the milder temperatures we’ve experienced here recently.
But with the sun, come the weeds. Loads and loads of them. My allotment is like a weed factory this time of year (note to committee, not the drug type of weed), and I just can’t keep up. Each trip to the plot witnesses me scratching my head, thinking I only holed that patch last week.
And boy, do I love snow. During Winter, I’m itching for a big dump of the white stuff, even though it kills off the last remaining remnants of my radicchio and mizuna salad leaves.
Living, breathing, sleeping allotments
I suppose what I’m trying to say, is if you fall in love with any outdoor activity, whether it be growing veg, riding bikes, sailing, fishing, flying kites, or anything involving Mother Nature, you live, breathe and sleep it. It invades your head and leaves you guessing, predicting, hoping, and conjecturing every waking hour. Will it, won’t it, what does this mean, how will this affect my plans?
Of course, I can’t change or control this, and nor would I want to. It’s part of the challenge, especially with allotments. There’s as much thinking, pondering, and problem-solving in the head as there is time spent physically working the plot.
When the allotment bug bites, it’s like an immersion into another world, full of puzzle cracking, adapting and tinkering, providing furrowed brows and confusion aplenty, but ultimately leaving us with broad smiles and limitless satisfaction.
And I for one love it.
P.S. At this precise moment, I hope it rains. This is liable to change at any time.