We’re going to need a bigger tea pot….

Is this a record? By the time we sat down for tea this afternoon there were eight of us at the allotment. It wasn’t a tea party, or a barbecue. or a Christmas special, or any of the other occasions which bring out the crowds, just a normal Saturday afternoon work session. I have been going to the allotment since 2006(ish) and I can’t remember a normal Saturday when that many people turned up. Allotment elders who were quizzed were similarly stumped and so it appears it may indeed be a record (no doubt someone will be along in the comments section later to say they remember a blazing hot Saturday in 2005 when there were thirteen people there, and a dog, so just to preempt that, I’ll say it now – show me the evidence or take a walk).

Although there were eight of us at the plot today, none of us was naked. Not that surprising, you are probably thinking, but today was World Naked Gardening Day (yes, it is a thing, see here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Naked_Gardening_Day). I must admit I wasn’t aware of the fact until Kirsty sent us all an email containing a picture of herself doing some naked gardening by way of celebration (which came as a bit of a surprise, as you can imagine). At least I assume it was her. The person in the picture was facing away from the camera and wearing a hat but still, she looked vaguely familiar. Perhaps Kirsty will be along later to clear this one up for us.

Returning to the issue of the record turnout. The only potential downside of this is that we may, as the title indicates, need a bigger tea pot (and extra biscuits). Eight cups of tea doesn’t leave more than a cup to spare in the current pot and while Sam was quick to snaffle it today, Barney won’t make the same mistake twice. Without a bigger pot we risk a dangerous spiral of tea-racing, as people rush to drain their cups in order to secure the last drops in the pot. Given the attendant risks of scalding, spillage and, possibly, hiccups, a bigger tea pot would seem to be a necessity from a health and safety point of view. Still, it’s a small price to pay for the benefit the extra hands bring. Next week, the AGM!

 

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Tea Party 2: Elvis is Alive!

Now that I have your attention…

Not that Elvis though. The other Elvis, the one who used to come to the allotment but who hasn’t been for quite some time now, having had to choose between us and a German conversation group and inexplicably opting for the latter. Nevertheless, it was good to see him, and he added a little bit of intrigue to proceedings when, upon being asked how the German was going, he replied that he hadn’t really been doing that for a bit but had been busy with other ‘stuff’, about which he then failed to elaborate. Top secret, or just lying on the sofa eating cake? Who knows?

Matt and Jo also came along and brought a vegan lemon cake. Not, it transpired, because they were vegans, but because they hadn’t had any eggs in the fridge. Necessity etc, and it turned out pretty well. More shocking to Matt than cake without eggs, however, was the concept of Eccles cakes and potted Stilton, as proffered by Andrew and Kirsty. Further quizzing revealed that the whole idea of cheese and fruit cake/mince pies etc struck him as deeply bizarre. Coming from Yorkshire the idea of Christmas cake or mince pies and Wensleydale seems quite normal to me, but a later conversation indicated that Yorkshire was also alien to Matt, which might explain things. Although I only partially overheard, and may have slightly misconstrued, the gist of it was something along the lines of’.’..Ilkley? Where’s that….Yorkshire? Where’s Yorkshire?’ I’m sure he must be fitting in very well in Lancashire.

There was an extensive array of bakery goods provided by the various participants. In addition to the vegan lemon cake and Eccles cakes there was a Cassatta (sp?) cake from Linda, a Ginger cake from Sam, home made bread from Bernie and ginger and chocolate biscuits provided by Jo and Linda respectively. Kirsty also brought some cucumber sandwiches (white bread, slightly rolled, crusts cut off, natch).

Toward the end of proceedings the conversation turned to elbows. This shift was brought on by consideration of future activities and the possibility, in particular, of a trip to Bernie’s dad”s farm for a bit of archery courtesy of the outdoor activity centre there. This possibility stimulated memories of a previous visit and the question of which of the female members of the party had achieved the biggest, purplest bruise on their arm on that occasion. Hence to elbows, and the observation that men’s and women’s are different shapes. A certain amount of empirical study then seemed to confirm this but it was only on returning home and conducting further research that the full facts were revealed. Turns out it’s something called the carrying angle and is a product of the fact that, on average, women have narrower shoulders and wider hips than men. Thus, in order to stop their hands hitting their sides whenever they walk their arms, when held by their sides, bend away from the body at the elbow more than mens’ do. Good for walking, problematic for archery. Who knew?

 

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And we’re back….

Yes, we’re still here. I’m afraid the will to write declined somewhat over the winter. I could try and claim I am afflicted with Seasonal Affective Disorder or some other such tosh but basically there’s not that much to write about. It’s the time of year where, in the gardening columns in the newspapers, they start talking about how to look after house plants and browsing through the seed catalogues in front of the fire.

Nor, frankly, does it seem to me that describing what one does at an allotment in the winter would be likely to inspire anyone to volunteer to come down. If you were just reading this in order to fulfill your need for schadenfreude, on the other hand…. ‘Went to allotment, cold. Pulled up weeds, cleared paths, replaced wood chip, did some more weeding. Sat in polytunnel shivering and drinking tea.’

Anyway, winter is over, assuming (fingers crossed) that there is no Beast from the East waiting to make it’s presence felt this year, and today was glorious and blog inspiring. The bees are out and about, the orchard is full of Primroses, fruit trees are blossoming and, since it’s nearly Easter, Linda’s magnificent buns made a reappearance. So instead of sitting in the polytunnel shivering we sat outside in the sun drinking tea, eating Hot Cross buns and looking forward to the summer.

Tea Party on Easter Monday. Might provide some material.

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