Allotments have become popular again, and, according to the Deal with It site, the average waiting list across the country has 59 names on it. I count myself lucky, therefore, to be offered a plot at Ringwould after a wait of only 18 months.
There are about 36 plots on the site, presumably chosen because it actually has soil on it, compared with Kingsdown which has about 4" before you hit solid chalk.
Some plots are beautifully tended with fruit trees, patio sets and sheds, not to mention dark brown tilth. The one that has been allocated to me, however, has overhanging Sycamores, weeds, grey soil and a myxi rabbit. It also adjoins a school football pitch, so hopes of a bumper harvest should be tempered by a dose of reality.
My last allotment (yes, I've done this before folks, and didn't learn my lesson) ..... my last allotment was on clay in Surrey, with high yields but with evil couch-grass and bindweed that were the devil to remove - here on chalk the weeds are mainly annuals so a decent-sized bed was cleared from the primeval forest in an afternoon.
But the saying is "One year's weeds, seven years' seeds" so the struggle will be relentless. At least now I know the names of most of them.
So it's back to the principles of the Soil Association and Gertrude Franck's Companion Planting and lots of good hard labour.
A new camera has arrived from Auntie eBay, but unfortunately it doesn't perform well in darkness or it might have taken a better shot of a Siskin that greeted me from the garden path when I left the house this morning.