In our modern world, we are increasingly stuck behind screens and hemmed in by all the trappings of life. Some say nature soothes the soul. For me this rings true. To escape from the indoors, from screens, from work and just revel in the sights and sounds of the outdoors. Granted, we live in the centre of a busy industrial town where it’s hard to block out the sound of the railway and the roads. But there is something so incredibly special about being able to slip away to the allotment for a quiet half hour.
Work has been very difficult the past six months and despite being absolutely shattered, I walked down to the site, knowing I would feel immeasurably better afterwards. Sitting on the bench outside the shed, listening to Roxy, Trixy and Foxy gently clucking to each other, feeling a slight breeze in the air and watching the clouds roll past, was really calming after such a hectic day. There is increasing amounts of research describing the positive effect of being outdoors on mental health. It’s something everyone on our site, and others across the country will recognise. During the repeated lockdowns, plot holders were allowed on site to tend their crops and feed their livestock. More than one of us would have struggled significantly if we hadn’t have had this escape.
Jolting myself out of a day dream, I walked around and collected some eggs. In the greenhouse, the lemon cucumber has gone wild and I picked several yet there seem to be many more to come! The tomatoes have also ripened finally. To my immense surprise, some appeared to be yellow cherry tomatoes. These are my favourite – the best variety are called Sun Gold and they are mouthwatering! Some yellow courgettes had appeared in our greenhouse which I assume had been left for us by Alan who is a magician with courgettes. As a final thought, I went and picked an apple from our Jonagold tree to go with my lunch tomorrow.
There is a definite hint of autumn in the air today and it marks the slowing of allotment life. Over the winter, people tend to come down less and there is significantly less to do unless you keep chickens! Watching the three little Weed Destroyers curl up together, I thought about how to keep all the girls dry over the winter. Chickens with feathery feet can struggle if their coop gets very muddy and I need to come up with a plan to ensure they are comfortable over the next few months. Pondering different arrangements, I headed home for dinner.