Due to the main part time job (soonish to be only part time job – yeah hah!), I need to keep abreast of new social media tools (that’s my excuse anyway 😉 ) and so I recently signed up to memolane, which sends you e-mails of what you tweeted or flickred (and some other things to I think) 1, 2, 3 years or so ago on that day. So recently as March rolled into April, I’d been getting some memolane e-mails of tweets I’d written last year and they were all pretty much allotment related and I can tell you something, me last year was a lot more organised about the allotment than me this year (and that’s saying something because I really wasn’t that organised last year). I can also tell you that this time last year, apple tree senior was pretty much not only in full leaf but also in full bloom (according to my memolane e-mails), whereas this year the leaves are only just starting to bud, weird (I think though last year was the weird year, this year is probably more normal).

Anyway, if I can confess on the alter of allotment gardening (which of course is framed by gilt pictures of St. Percy Thrower and St. Alan Titchmarsh), I have been absolutely appalling with the allotment since last September. In my defence I had a couple of very good reasons why I was appalling but unfortunately weeds and very much required building work don’t stand no stead with ‘good reasons’. So my plans to clear the remaining fifth of the allotment that remained uncleared and to rebuild the wall in that area, never happened and now it’s April and I’m back to playing catch up.

As an example of my appallingness, I ordered an incinerator for the allotment last September and until a couple of weeks ago, it had sat, still in it’s wrapping in my back garden. But, as you can see from the photo it is now there, I screwed the legs onto it today and attempted to use it to incinerate the remains of a blackberry bush. Hmmmm, harder than it looks . . .

I have to admit to being a bit terrified of the incinerator, which is part of the reason it was still in its wrapping in the back garden for so long. Put it this way, I can be a bit of a wuss just lighting birthday candles and get through about five matches whereas Mr. Lacer would get through one. I was also a bit worried about annoying someone, even though other people do use incinerators at the allotment (although not that often), I worried that I was going to annoy another allotment holder or even worse annoy the owner (or more likely one of their scary looking security guards) of the big posh house the other side of the fence my plot is next to. So, of course I did check the weather forecast before I set out today to make sure it wasn’t too windy. And then of course my mind was working on the worse case scenario of me setting fire, some how, to the entire allotment.

As it turns out I needn’t of worried. I read up beforehand on how to use an incinerator and made sure I had everything I needed with me, although I couldn’t find any newspaper at home (as we don’t even seem to get free newspapers through the door anymore), so I grabbed a pile of old documents from the soon to be finished other part time job instead. Once I’d assembled the incinerator, I threw in the scrunched up old paper work and tentatively dropped in a match, pretty sure it was going to be an inferno pretty much instantly – nothing happened, the match smouldered a bit and then went out. I tried again, this time holding a match to some of the paperwork and all I got was a singed edge. I got through about five matches before the paper actually started to flame and when it went up, now it was an inferno. So I quickly went to grab some blackberry bush, which, it turns out stupidly, was right in one corner of the allotment and by the time I had got it to the incinerator, the fire had gone out. So, I cursed myself a bit and moved some more of the blackberry cuttings closer and tried again, however by this time I only had two matches left and all my paper kindling was ash. I did get the incinerator to light again, managed to get a few blackberry leaves singed and then the fire went out again. Like I say, not as easy as it looks . . .

I will be trying again, I realise of course that it would be far better to compost or to take the clippings to the garden waste section of my local dump however I do compost but only have limited space to do so at the moment (although I am thinking of a second compost bin) and a lot of my garden waste is non-compostable as it’s too ‘twiggy’ like the blackberry bush or its weeds that would contaminate my compost if I put them in my compost bin and I can’t take them to my local dump because I can’t drive . Mr. Lacer does take garden waste down the dump for me sometimes but we have enough of an issue with home waste that needs to be taken down the dump without me adding to it. Hence the incinerator, so fingers crossed for better luck next time!

Today wasn’t a complete wipeout though, despite a frosty start the weather is looking gorgeous and first thing the allotment was lovely and quiet (which is good, specially considering my cackhandyness with the incinerator, I find some of the older allotment holders a little intimidating, although a lot of them are lovely and friendly to). I got some weeding done (it’s sticky willy time of year, now that at least is consistent) and I’ve reminded myself again how lovely it is up there, so next time I need to drag myself up the allotment, slightly less willpower will be needed to make me go.


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