I always look forward to the annual Springfield Drive Allotment Open Day when the Allotment Society raises money for local charities. On arrival, I made a bee-line for the fresh produce stand to fill my rucksack with vegetables. Then I treated myself to a slice of delicious homemade cake and a cuppa, sitting outside the tea shed to listen to the Yardarm Players. After browsing the various stalls set out by volunteer allotment users, I decided to wander around the plots. To be self-sufficient and grow your own food is one of those ambitions that most of us have given thought to at one time or another BUT it is very hard work. To keep on top of things, allotment holders need to work on their plots nearly every day during the summer.
Childhood memories flitted through my head of Mum bribing us to help her pick ripe fruit. In 1948 we had moved into a home with nearly three quarters of an acre garden, including a raised vegetable bed across the end. I guess the raised bed was about the same size as an allotment plot. My amazing Mother grew all our vegetables and fruit and by the end of the summer our pantry shelves were groaning with bottles of jam and jars of preserved fruit. Besides the fruit and vegs we also had nine apple trees. To help them keep throughout winter, Mum wrapped each apple in newspaper before storing them in boxes in the outhouse.
Wandering back past the tea shed the tempting aromas of a bar-be-cue wafted across, but I was still full from my cake. The judges had finished allocating the awards for produce and handcraft, so I popped into the marquee to have a look. Then I walked all the way home where I later roasted my vegetables for supper. Didn’t have any meat in the fridge, so I crumbled feta cheese over the roasted potato, beetroot, courgette, onion and carrots. Dee-licious!