It never rains but it pours after watering

Life on the allotment with Sheena Grant

LIFE has a habit of tripping you up when you’re least expecting it, as I have found out to my cost this week.

Only a few days ago everywhere was distinctly dry, including the ground at the allotment. The broccoli was running to seed faster than Usain Bolt could cover 100 metres (well, almost) and the newly-emerged peas and salad crops were looking decidedly thirsty.

It hadn’t rained for days (if not weeks) and as I hadn’t been able to get up the plot to do any serious work since the previous week I promised the soilmate I would water before last weekend.

My inability to do any thing other than watering was caused by the constant companionship of the four-year-old, who as I revealed in an earlier column, has refused to go to the allotment ever again on the grounds that weeding is just too boring (I can’t argue with him on that one).

After much effort I managed to persuade him that watering was different to weeding. It was the most fun he would ever have, he could pretend to be a fireman and it wouldn’t take very long. Not as long as weeding anyway.

He eventually agreed but we still failed to make it on the Friday, as I had promised the soilmate, due to matters beyond my control (code for the four-year-old refused to go).

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So Saturday it was. One more day wouldn’t make any difference to the poor old veg and the soilmate would never know. Wrong - on the second count anyway. I spoke to the soilmate before setting off and admitted my procrastination on the watering front.

“I knew you hadn’t been,” she said, before revealing she had put some more mesh around the carrot cage to keep carrot root fly at bay and noticed the lack of any recent watering activity.

Just as well I came clean, I thought. I had toyed with the idea of misleading her but thankfully rejected it. I shuddered at how close I had come to being exposed as a teller of untruths.

So the four-year-old and I put in a late appearance at the allotment on Saturday afternoon. He helped me connect up the hose and the spray attachment, which he insisted on holding as I turned on the water. He was enjoying himself with the hose, so I bit my tongue as he directed the spray into the air, at the paths, neighbouring plots, me, anywhere other than where it needed to go.

Afterwards he wanted to go on a bit of a tour of the allotments, which was fine by me. We met people we’ve never met before, saw plots we had never seen before and had a generally fine old time.

“I think I will come to the allotment again,” he ventured as we packed away the hose.

The end to a perfect day. Or it would have been had we not met two neighbouring plot-holders as we turned off the water tap, which is housed in a lockable wooden box.

“I’ll leave this open for you if you plan to do any watering,” I offered.

“No thanks,” they replied. “It’s going to rain tonight.”

They, of course, were right. Not only that but it’s barely stopped raining since. Typical.

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