Air Power

Somebody should have said this, long before me:

“There’s no fool like an allotment fool!”

Certainly applies to me.

I’m part of the team preparing for what we hope will be a big Open Day on Saturday. I’m still trying to get on top of dealing with the plague-proportion tides of weeds without resorting to chemicals and harvest crops that need gathering in (peas, onions, blackberries, potatoes (some blight on site), lettuce – and sustain those still growing on, especially the orchard fruit.

… and what do I do on the drive in?

Spot some contractors cutting down trees and chipping up the “small stuff”. Not content to take note and pass on I’m on the scrounge. They’re quite happy to oblige and we arrange a “drop off” time (we are a secure, locked site).

Little did I realise what a big load they would actually deliver!

Right where we need space for Saturday – naturally!


I quickly start to let others know that they can help themselves and soon there is a steady stream of barrows (different types and states of repair) and the enormous load begins to disappear. But … it’s a big load and …

Between barrows I have to take a breather.

That’s when I notice a single butterfly sitting basking in the sun on the leaf of one of the borlotti bean plants. Glancing around I suddenly notice another, sunning itself, gorgeous wings outspread, on a plank of wood (that’s eventually going to be the edge of a raised bed – honest …) And I sat and relaxed in their company for five, maybe ten  minutes. Human minutes that is.

DSC_0382   DSC_0386

Back at the diminishing – but not by much – stack we are slowly overflown by a Chinook helicopter. We must look like ants from up there, lines of people carrying material to our plots. Possibly this chopper is out on a training exercises from nearby R.A.F. training base, Shawbury, it takes a long slow pass over the site, that distinctive “thwocka thwocka” thunder filling the warm air. I have seen these machines pull some amazing feats of flight at the annual air show at Cosford and had the unusual counter-rotating technology of the rotors explained but still just stand in awe of the skill needed to pilot the thing … and the imagination needed to get to this, bit by bit from no-such-thing-as-a-helicopter to today’s machines.



Clever engineering, marvellous invention, but give me the butterfly any day. Please note that on another day, being reasonably fickle I might well choose the helicopter instead.

The following day I get up relatively late, shoulders aching from the clippers, pulling weeds and wrestling with barrows (whose fault is that ? did I hear you thinking ?) to spend some time shifting whatever is left. The contractors are still on the job felling The contractors are still on the job, one of them harnessed and roped in the top of one of the trees, felling and chipping  … but the remainder of the pile on the allotment is gone.

Chips with everything ?

Not today, thank you!
















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