I’m just back from my first meeting.
We all sat in a circle.
Billy went first.
“I’m a member of the National Vegetable Society.”
He then produced some leaflets and we all nodded supportively.
I mock but in reality I’m genuinely excited; I’m now officially Green Dad: Allotment Holder. Plot 18 out of about thirty at the end of our street, down by the banks of the dawdling River Nairn.
Tonight’s meeting brought everyone up to speed - and what speed things are moving at! It feels like only the other day I put my name forward and now it appears in just a couple of weeks I’ll be putting spade to earth.
I’ve blogged before about my happy memories of childhood in East Lothian helping my Papa lift tatties - I really can’t wait to muck in with Toddler lending a hand. She already has a fascination with wheelbarrows and watering cans - I wonder how she’ll take to weeding? And at what point do I technically have to pay child labour rates?
The real highlight from tonight - besides of course the prospect of joining the NVS - was news of The Sheds. A deal has been done (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) and soon we’ll have some decent wooden huts at a knockdown price. A teenager piped up: “What colours are you allowed to paint your shed?” Any colour you like, came the heartfelt reply from the Allotment Supremo. The youngster’s eyes lit up like it was Christmas.
One of the benefits of taking a plot as part of a group - I hope - is that you can seek advice and learn lessons. Already tonight I know never to trust a cauliflower. “I sowed them at different times but they all came up the same week. Twenty of them. I couldn’t give them away!” Wise words from one veteran.
I recently read a great wee book called The Worm Forgives The Plough. Written during the Second World War it’s an account of an academic who roughs it in the countryside helping on farms. His descriptions of the characters who work the land are full of charm and he captures beautifully the feeling of satisfaction you can only get from a cheese sandwich eaten after a day of hard graft.
The idea of providing for myself, my family, friends and neighbours appeals greatly. Whether I have the oomph to follow through - we’ll see! If I fail I can always blame those pesky cauliflowers.