Tell me a secret
I like to make out that I’m a bit of a Barbara-out-of-The-Good-Life type, all gardening gloves, scruffy hair and brew-your–own-wine. This is, to some extent, true – although I don’t share Barbara’s penchant for dungarees (the last time I owned a pair, Soul 2 Soul were at the top of the charts) and my home-brewed elderberry wine was absolutely disgusting. However, I have a confession to make. My allotment looks like crap.
I know, most allotments look like crap. They’re meant to be functional, not pretty. But mine looks like crap in a very specific, ‘this isn’t visited very often’ type of way. Almost everyone else’s on the plot in Southall is neatly dug over – all over, there’s none of your space-wasting raised beds or pathways – and planted up with peas and spinach and Indian herbs I don’t recognise (this being Southall.) Mine is mainly planted up with couch grass.
The problem is, I don’t have any time, what with the kids, the website, work, looking after the house, and all that malarkey. As the waiting list for allotments in Ealing is about 3 years (I am number 1010 in the queue, I’ll have retired before I get to the front of THAT!), I could only find availability in Southall, which is 5 miles away, so getting there is a bit of hassle. I really have bitten off more than I can chew, but being a control freak, I can’t let anything go. The allotment is right at the bottom of my list of priorities, meaning it gets visited every other weekend or so for a couple of hours. And that’s only if it’s not raining.
Miraculously, though, a few hardy vegetables have managed to grow amongst the weeds. I have crops of potatoes, rocket, fennel, garlic and onions straggling through the soil. They’ll probably get choked by the couch grass or eaten by slugs before long, of course, but at least for now it looks like I’m doing something, because as everyone who has an allotment will know, they tend to be run by Little Hitlers who enjoy nothing more than penning a stern written warning for underusing your plot.
That said, the guy who runs the allotments in Southall appears to be the epitome of chilled – all he said to me when I signed up was ‘don’t grow anything illegal’ – but every time I skulk down there with my tools over my shoulder (hubby hasn’t got round to building me a shed yet – hell no, we have NO TIME) I find myself looking anxiously over my shoulder, totally paranoid that everyone is talking about me and my scruffy plot behind my back.
I’m too embarrassed at the state of it even to put up a photo, so I’ve put one up of a horse instead. I love horses.
So there you go: I am not quite the earth mama I like to think I am. And while I’m on the subject of confessions, here are a few more truths I maaaaay have concealed during my 37 years:
- Mum, you know how some horrible driver hit our car in the carpark shortly after I passed my driving test and dented the door? Actually, that was me, trying to drive the car over the very narrow bridge over the canal to meet my friends at Double Locks pub. And hitting the bridge. Sorry! (I was quite the destroyer of cars as a teenager – I once borrowed Dad’s Fiat to drive over and tell my then-boyfriend we were finished, and was crying so hard on the way home that I didn’t notice the engine had caught fire. Really. 20 years (and no more accidents) later, Dad will still only let me drive his car under extreme sufferance.)
- I didn’t actually meet Ian in a Shire Horse Centre. I wasn’t strictly telling the truth when I told the family our eyes first met over clotted cream icecream. I just didn’t want to explain that we met on a website (although I don’t know why I thought a Shire Horse Centre would be any cooler). Yes, he is my internet husband. The shame!
- I still have a library book that I took out from Chard Library in 1987. I dread to think what the fine is now. If I paid it, it would probably single-handedly lift the nation out of recession.
I’m sure there are more. I will add to them if I can think of any. What about YOU? Any confessions you’d like to make? Go on, we’d all love to hear them…
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