Big changes were set in motion today. I dashed down to the allotment later than planned to find Derek, Cliff and Ian busy working on Plot 22. This plot is in the process of being given up and the ancient wooden greenhouse was barely standing. The wood had rotted to the point where the glass was sliding out of the roof and the old grapevine was the only thing keeping it all upright. By the time I had arrived, all the glass had been taken out and put to one side by the shed. Cliff was busy inside the greenhouse with Ian, passing out pots, watering cans and various other odds and ends. Derek was helping sort the items into two large builder’s bags.
Next, Derek took a saw to the trunk of the grapevine. The grapevine was enormously thick and must have been there for many years, like the greenhouse! Cliff was particularly keen to salvage the base of the grapevine and gave strict instructions that no one was to damage it or remove it until he could dig it out. Whilst the working party were busy at the front of the greenhouse, I was beavering away on the side, collecting glass splinters and depositing them in a glass bin. The amount of glass fragments I found was rather impressive considering how many undamaged panes of glass were salvaged from the frame.
Once the grapevine was cut, Derek, Cliff and Ian all lined up by the front of the greenhouse and prepared to push. It was spectacular! So much so, that I managed to record it coming down. It started with a slight creak, then the sound of snapping wood followed by a crunch as it fell over.
Once the frame was down, it became suddenly brighter on the plot. The hard work of the other three prior to my arrival was more visible. They had spent an hour hacking away thick, wooden brambles with savage thorns between the greenhouse and the boundary fence. Quite how they managed to clear it without pushing the greenhouse over is beyond me. With more light, it was possible to see the damage being caused by some of the hedge to our neighbour’s car port. Derek popped around to chat to them about trimming the hedge but unfortunately they weren’t in. Hopefully they will be in tomorrow and we can fix the issue with a judicious box of eggs.
By lunchtime, Derek and Ian had to leave so Cliff and I took on the burning of the greenhouse frame. The wood was so rotten in places, that it crumbled when you picked it up. While I was busy dismantling the frame and dropping the wood into the fire, Cliff was busy with the brambles at the back of the old compost bin. The thickness of some of these brambles was incredible – some nearly an inch in diameter, with thorns to match! Once I had burnt all the wood I could easily remove, I began to sort through the pots and other bits that had been uncovered by the removal of the brambles. Hard work yes, but it will mean the plot can be relet to a new person in a reasonable condition.
By two o’clock, Cliff and I decided to call it a day and headed down to his shed for a cuppa. We kept an eye on the fire as it burnt down and enjoyed a chat about the beautiful inquisitive robin who came to see what we were up to. As it turns out, Cliff had bought a bag of meal worms for him and the little robin was happily hoovering up any within beak range. Just before I left, I ran around to check on the chickens, all of whom are definitely grumpy about Flockdown. Promising them I would add some boredom busters over the next few days, I headed home covered in dirt and smelling strongly of wood smoke.