Words by Heidi, edited by Danny. Header image by Heidi.
I’ve never really had a hobby before. There are things I enjoy doing from time to time, like going for a cycle ride or taking the dog for a nice walk, but never a hobby that brings me so much peace and satisfaction.
My tiny half-plot allotment is the best £17.50 I spend each year, even though it’s no more than 8 by 11 meters. On a warm spring or summer morning there’s simply no nicer place to be. I’ve holidayed on sun-drenched Greek beaches and been swimming in the cool sea. But such experiences don’t compare. My little Lottie is my favourite place to be.
Spending time there does me so much good – even if my son thinks I’ve replaced him with vegetables… Maybe he’s right! My Lottie helps me stay fit, improves my mental health, and keeps me in touch with nature and the changing seasons. I forget about my daily stresses and lose myself in simple tasks like digging a trench for potatoes or raking the soil to a fine tilth ready to sow some seeds. The excitement and satisfaction when those little seeds sprout out of the ground! And when I get to eat them!
Early in the morning or late in the evening I often see a hare bouncing among the plots, no doubt helping himself to some breakfast or dinner. When you have an allotment, you must learn to share. Pheasants often wander down the lane that runs beside my plot, meandering, doing their thing. The cheeky little robins are always hovering, waiting for me to dig up a big fat juicy worm.
My favourite things to grow are squashes: all shapes, colours and sizes. I’m always amazed to see a little seed grow and produce fruits that swell in the summer sunshine. Then in September or October I bring my squashes home to sit on my lounge windowsill. This toughens up the skins so that they are ready to store and eat over the winter. Goodness knows what passers-by think when they see them all lined up – what a strange choice of ornament!
Now, spring is here, so I must go and sow some radishes…