The Three Amigos

The weather was amazing today – bright, clear and with glorious winter sunshine. When I arrived on site, I found Cliff and Michael had moved their chairs to sit in the sunshine as they enjoyed a cuppa. We had arranged yesterday that we would do a tip run with Cliffs trailer to remove some rubbish that had been collecting at the back of the site. Derek appeared amongst us and while Cliff and Michael went off to attach the trailer, we chatted about various committee matters.

When Derek left, I realised I hadn’t seen Cliff or Michael for ages. Worried that they had gone without me, I dashed down a side path and scouted along the back path. The rubbish had been put into several large builder’s bags next to the back hedge. Seeing only one bag left,I grabbed it and dragged it up to the car park. As I triumphantly, albeit breathlessly, deposited the bag at the edge of the car park. With the car and trailer full, we walked back to where the bags were and filled another with more cuttings that had been left on the ground. Using a trolley, Cliff hauled it back to the car park. We all piled into the car and headed off to the tip.

Now, in order to fit three bags in Cliff’s car, he had to put the back seats down. So when it came to me jumping into the car, I found myself reclining against one of the bags, hoping that we didn’t pass a police car. There was no way to make the seatbelt work with the seats down. Travelling like this was rather a novel experience although I hasten to add that I had a proper seat with a seatbelt on for the journey home! The first four bags were of garden waste and we all worked together to heave the bags up to the skip and dump all the cuttings in. The last bag was plastic so Michael and I dragged it up to the other end of the tip while Cliff attached the trailer. A helpful employee opened up a skip for us and helped us lift the bag up. Flushed with success, we all piled into Cliff’s car to head back to the allotment.

As soon as we got back and had out the trailer into its space, I realised it was lunchtime. Promising Cliff I would be back after lunch, I dashed home. The problem is that once you are warm and full with a cat on your lap, it’s hard to drag yourself back outside. Despite the evil looks, I turfed off the cat and headed back to the allotment armed with lots of water. It’s the only job in the winter that I loathe. Daily hauling huge amounts of water down reminds me to sort out some more waterbutts and get a little trolley so I don’t have to lift it all!

I found Cliff sitting on a comfortable chair watching the two bird boxes in his fruit tree. Previously, he has had several generations of blue tit nest successfully and it’s about this time that they usually reappear. No sign of them today but we know they will be back soon. As ever, the little robin kept appearing. He really is utterly delightful.

My final job was to potter around all the coops, checking everyone had food and refilling all their water bowls. Cliff has done a great job in the new coop by keeping on top of the rats. Gordon’s girls are definitely getting tamer and one especially inquisitive girl even had a peck at my shoes! When the weather is nicer, I look forward to spending more time with them.

In the main coop, Tommy was sporting white on his normally iridescent green tail feathers. Stupid bird had clearly got paint on his tail as he slept. He didn’t take well to my rolling my eyes and tried to peck my feet in retribution. Needless to say, it didn’t work as I was using the lid of the food bin as a shield. The second I turned my back to the food storage bins in order to refill the water, Alba jumped up and stuck her head into the bins. I shrieked at her to get out and she just ignored me. To be honest, I think her head went deeper into the corn bag. Muttering something unprintable under my breath, I grabbed her and unceremoniously deposited her away from the food. She ruffled her feathers and looked rather smug. There is nothing more humiliating than being bested by a chicken…

Embarrassed, I shuffled off home ready to be down early tomorrow. The greenhouse on Plot 8 is being moved backwards slightly to make sure the path is the proper width. Hopefully, we will have enough volunteers to help!

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