After a prolonged delay, as we searched in vain for a mutually convenient date, we finally managed to hold the Community Allotment AGM on 11 May and thus restore ourselves to constitutionality. On the upside, it was nice to be able to sit in the scout hut with the door open letting in fresh air rather than in a scarf and woolly hat.
Once the kettle had been boiled and tea procured we moved on to business. The minutes were quickly approved (who can remember what we agreed to do a year ago?!) so we headed swiftly to finance where it was revealed that, based on the Micawber principle (see last year’s AGM) the consequence of the last year is misery. The bank balance is lower than at the same point last year, mainly thanks to the glorious summer which reduced crops of key jam-making fruits such as Loganberries to a pitiful, shriveled remnant of their former selves. In addition there were outgoings such as buying a new incinerator (without which Barney would never have been able to set fire to the shed, so money well spent there). In any event, we’re still solvent.
The next item on the agenda was the chair’s report. This involves a summary of the weather last year, and of what grew well and badly, a passing note on the great shed conflagration and mention that there was still a lot of work to do on the fedge as well in lowering some of the raised beds which are rather full. On the upside, it was also noted that socially in 2018 we managed one tea party, four barbecues, mulled wine and mince pies in the polytunnel and a Christmas meal. We also had a couple of schools visits which went well (i.e. kids enjoyed themselves, no one got stung by a bee or put a fork through their foot).
Discussion following the report noted that there had been quite a few new volunteers over the last 12 months, which is great news. Unfortunately for me, some of this volunteering was attributed to the blog, which means I’m going to have to keep writing it (Sam, who took the minutes, has summed up this discussion as follows: “Steven’s blog is ok, I suppose”).
The two main issues that came up for discussion in the remainder of the meeting were the ongoing saga of the deer, who continue to graze their way through a range of our crops, and the reconstruction of the shed, which currently has the bottom half of one of the corner posts missing and appears to be being held up by either will power or a spell of levitation.
With regard to the former, given that a fence for the whole allotment and shooting appear to be out of the equation, we have agreed to try and find ways of building barriers around the most vulnerable plants, whether by netting or fencing. A book was helpfully brought along showing how one can make fences and gates out of coppiced hazel and the like. It’s going to be like one of those TV programmes where they get people to recreate the experience of living and working in the 18th century, just so you can thank your stars you live in the twenty-first century.
The shed is a rather more challenging proposition, given that there isn’t enough money to buy what is required to build it. Task number one is to source the flags for the base. We have about half of what we require and we agreed a set of plans to acquire the others, mainly of the beg, borrow or steal variety, though we are hoping that the begging will be all that’s required. It was also noted that while we have an assorted collection of timber we will need some more. June is the allotted time period for shed building, so I guess we had better crack on.