New Boots … Wet Ground.

Brand new working boots (four little words that say so much more!) for Christmas. For the allotment of course. It’s an open secret that I bought them myself on behalf of our youngest daughter so that I got a pair that felt right. That’s a little bit more than just fitted, if you know what I mean.


And I felt like a cross between one of the Village People and a genuine rough-an’-tough steel erector* when I marched – as nonchalantly as I could manage – into our local Screw-Fix store to start looking. Is it a giveaway that I didn’t actually know where the place was?

They were all on offer, Flemish bonded boxes in the yellow I will always associate with bananas, model aeroplane paint, Duplo bricks and JCB making a barricade between the entrance and the efficient camaraderie of the counter.

Casually I took the pyramid apart, finding the size that usually fits me (in normal shoes, trainers and walking boots at any rate) and tried a couple of pairs on. One pair didn’t feel comfortable around the ankles The next two pairs had steel toe caps (seems a sensible precaution when I may be doing more hard landscaping work). Not sure about the colour though. The next pair: great colour (as if it’ll matter when they’re plastered in mud and horse muck eh?) but too loose. So went for a size lower: perfect!

Wore them for the first time today. Just a cursory walkabout really … and I am surprised by just how big the allotments look. Partly because I haven’t been up here for a few days, partly because, this being winter, they are mostly bare, the bare minimum. A few small forests of sprouts, freshly savaged for Christmas lunches I imagine. Is that cruel?

The high winds have pushed our fruit cages over. Because I failed to include bracing struts when I, very proudly put them together from reclaimed timbers with my re-chargeable drill and screwdriver set. But at least they flexed in the gales. Others have lost shed roofs or had fruit cages wrecked, greenhouse glass broken and polytunnels are damaged. Winds can be strong across our plots, especially in winter.

My overall impressions are simply that the ground is absolutely saturated, little pools forming even on the freshly dug ground that usually drains away quickly. Beneath a shallow top soil built up with humus and compost by keen plotholders since 1892 there is sand; beneath that gravel. Next to the allotment there is a large sand quarry. And water usually drains away so quickly here. So this much surface water is truly unusual.

… and  that the grey-cloud caped horizon looks further away than usual. It is possible to see the chimneys now of a new waste incinerator power station. Mainly because they are marked by a very bright red light. This is part of the waste management strategy adopted by Staffordshire County Council and A French partner company.

Nipping in to see Jim I picked up our seeds but couldn’t remember whether we had ordered onion sets. Back home with the sun-setting sky turning shades of orange I sit and leaf my way through more than thirty packets of seeds. Did we really order Bull’s Blood beet? Jim was in charge of the massive seed order this year and, over Christmas had the task of sorting out the orders – his living room floors and tables had been covered with the packets and order forms as he manfully matched orders to packets. Easily more than a thousand packets … imagine that eh? We are all hoping he will do the same again next year, having had enough time to get over the upheaval this process creates.


From these packets we will – hopefully – produce mountains of produce* in the next seven or eight months: how cool is that?

*Nothing at all wrong with my imagination, thank you very much.


One response to this post.

  1. Gotta get your boots right 🙂


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