We’ve had ‘the letter’! You know, (or perhaps you don’t) the letter from the Parish Council that tells you your allotment needs a good tidy up or you’ll be evicted… Yes, that one. Admittedly, we’ve had a very busy few months and not paid nearly enough attention to our beloved patch. Lets just call it a fallow moment….
We’ve not gone to wrack and ruin through a lack of interest, love or thought for our allotment, just a serious lack of time. Allotments, as any gardener will know, are time consuming places, especially when they’re not on your doorstep. We love gardening (sowing seeds, watching our food grow and then cooking with homegrown produce is awesome) and we’ve not lost that passion, we’ve just gained another – orienteering! And we love this too. That’s all of us, three children, two adults and one dog.
We joined a local club on the recommendation of a neighbour and now spend most weekends running around woodlands, moors and heather-strewn hillsides with a compass and map in hand. It was just a trickle of races at first, but now we’ve got the bug and it has become a flood. Sounds crazy, but it’s really FUN.
Allotmenteering and orienteering actually have a lot in common – you’re out in the fresh air, the family can be involved, you have to use your brain to plan ahead and it’s a good physical workout. It’s a real thrill to grow a beautiful yellow courgette, likewise it’s a real thrill to find the ‘control’ you’ve been searching for, like a fabulous big treasure hunt!
If you need convincing to don running gear and get wet, muddy and potentially lost, then read this brilliantly funny article and prepare to feel excited about the prospect – 10 Reasons Why Orienteering is the Best Sport Ever.
So where does this leave us and allotment 17/19? With our weekend gardening time vying with our weekend orienteering time, we know something has to give. We need to manifest more time (who doesn’t these days!). We need some help!
We’ve called in the troops and have decided to go for it – a friends and family allotment clearance day (or three!) in return for an alfresco lunchtime feast. Undaunted, the Lost Gardens of Heligan will appear out of that overgrown willow and rampant nettles!
And then a winter under weed-suppressing mulch to give us a fresh new start in the spring, and some nifty time and workforce management to fill the breach. The children want more responsibility (hey presto!), Will has promised to strim and mow every week and we’ll see how we do. It’s a whole new beginning. Allotmenteering and orienteering will just have to live in harmony with each other, because we’re planning to make space in our lives for both. Yay!