Most people, when commuting will probably pass an allotment site every day without a second thought. Nothing special, just like passing a hedgerow. An ancient, endangered, home to wildlife, stopping the beasts in the fields causing havoc hedgerow. Like I say, nothing special.
But have you ever looked at an allotment from above? I have. I mean I haven’t gone as far as renting a helicopter or anything but I’ve certainly looked at my own site on Google Earth, just to see how it might look from the eye of the Kestrel that regularly hovers over.
The images are quite old actually, long before I had a plot, so it was quite an interesting thing to see how ‘ my ‘ plot looked before I had it. Of course when I got it was full of weeds – not through neglect, but from the previous tenant struggling from the effects of old age – completely understandable – he left it in as best condition as he could before he passed the torch on. It could have been a lot worse, and you can see through these images that it has previously been well tended too.
When I look at the satellite images of my site ( and others ) I am reminded of something else.
No, that wasn’t the opening titles to Emmerdale. It’s actually the patchwork fields that make up a lot of Britain, and something you’re likely to land on if you zoom in on any random point of the map. Iconic to Britain – and something which sadly, like the hedgerow , is likely to decline, as we go mad with house building.
This patchwork mishmash is reflected on our allotment sites, on a much smaller scale of course. Every plot is different, boundaries are clear.
And on the inside, I believe it’s very much like a scaled down version of Britain, ‘ little britain’ if you like: People from all walks of life, from all over the country – world- yes world! Neighbours, friends. Getting a long, not getting along. People you know only well enough to give a nod of acknowledgment too. People you’ll chat the day a way with whilst getting no work done at all.
A sense of community spirit. As important a thing to having an allotment as the actual growing it self.
Want to visit a city of culture? Just nip down your local allotments. Maybe even get your name on the list. Because when you look closely , you’ll see they are special things, that should be cherished. Before they too, like hedgerows, patchwork fields, community spirit and of course, proper pubs serving proper ale, (and where darts boards and dominoes are not ousted for dining tables), become endangered.
Ooo, hark at me getting all proud and passionate.
( All images except the first one belong to Google)