Monday, September 15, 2008

What a washout!

I have now officially given up on summer!! Why can't we have a proper summer!!?

I haven't put an update on here for a while as I've been mad busy with starting a new job, I've gone into lecturing which is complete change from standing up cutting hair all day and means as I learn the new ropes I haven't had as much time to update the blog ... sorry!!

The onions dried nicely in the plastic greenhouses and I have trawled dozens of websites for plans and tips on how to tie them into strings. I feel really happy with the end result and I've hung them from the beams in the garden room next to the kitchen.

When I planted the seed potatoes I put loads of shredded paper, manure and rotted compost into the bottom of the trenches to help conserve moisture and give some food etc for the developing tubers. What I never expected was a gift wrapped spud to appear. Amongst the shredded paper I put in lots of xmas wrapping paper and obviously amongst it I accidentally put in some of the ribbon that the parcels had been decorated with. When I dug up some of the potatoes last week this one, perfectly wrapped with ribbon, came out. It had grown through the ribbon so it looks like I have actually tied ribbon around it!

On a sad note I received a phone call from our plot neighbour to tell me that the plots had been vandalised, I went up yesterday to have a look for myself.

Our shed has had the front kicked in to gain access and loads of stuff taken out and thrown around the plot. The pics below show the damage, the metal tin area on the right is the door still securely locked, the smashed in bit to the left was the front wall of the shed.They also smashed the brassica cage and tore all of it's netting (the pic doesn't show the damage properly) And all of this was done by children who were apparently about 8 or 9 years old!!! One of the plot holders came in when it was happening and apprehended them. I'm so shocked that this amount of damage can be done by such young children! But the people that really should hold there heads in shame are Gloucester city council, we have been on this site for nearly 2 years now and we have had constant reassurance that the site would be made more secure. We were told at the beginning of the year that £1000 was available to do works and we all agreed that a new gate with locks would help the site. Not only have we not had that but the lock on the current gate went walk abouts about 2 months ago and despite them saying it would be replaced the council and contractors have done nothing ... so now we suffer.

They have also promised since we arrived that the trackways onto the plot ,that look as if they are breaking health and safety rules, would be dealt with. The next picture shows what the track looks like now. It has rained a lot but this happens after the slightest downpour, as you can see by the mud on the car we are constantly getting stuck in the track and often risk damaging cars and other people. The cul de sac we drive through as we come and go is also getting covered in mud and debris as we come and go, small kids beware!!! Sorry for the rant on here but it has got to the point of being ridiculous now despite an allotment officer having been appointed earlier in the year. A plot gives lots of pleasure and I'm not too down about things but the constant lack of sun and too much rain plus this damage and lack of support from Gloucester City Council has left us all feeling low!! Next update will be positive, I promise!


Stephanie said...

Im sorry to hear about your troubles with vandals. Im far from old fashioned but I'd be fit to spank the lot of them and then make them help you guys clean up and help out in the garden as restitution. Hope the council gets off their arse and gets you guys taken care of.

Anonymous said...

It just shows the mentality of the children, and more importantly the parents! if they understood about it all, how long things take to grow etc, I think they would be less destructive. Or am I being too positive in my thinking?

Your plot always looks wonderful, (even with cages not in their rightful place) and I gave the link to my friend who's just starting up and said - righty, your plot needs to look like Fork it! hes now working every night and weekend!

Don't be down beaten - it'll all come good in the end! cat x

Anonymous said...

It just shows the mentality of the children, and more importantly the parents! if they understood about it all, how long things take to grow etc, I think they would be less destructive. Or am I being too positive in my thinking?

Your plot always looks wonderful, (even with cages not in their rightful place) and I gave the link to my friend who's just starting up and said - righty, your plot needs to look like Fork it! hes now working every night and weekend!

Don't be down beaten - it'll all come good in the end! cat x

glosterwomble said...

Hi Stephanie, thanks for your comments, hopefully the concil will get of their behinds one day!!

And Cat, thanks for your really generous comments, I've hardly been to the plot at all with all this rain!!! I'm really touched that you think my plot is something to aspire to though!! I will keep going despite the vandals and the useless council!! :)

Jo said...

Wow, you're brave. That seems such a big career change. Hope you're enjoying it.

I chuckled when I saw the pics of your spud. So who got the pressie?

I can't believe that kids of such a young age could cause so much damage. It isn't even so much the damage to the property but the damage to people's peace of mind. It's such a shame that we feel the need to pester the council for security on an allotment, isn't it? I really do wonder how parent's are bringing up their children. Mine are 13 and 10, and they wouldn't be allowed to even be on an allotment site without me being there, they aren't allowed to wander the streets, and even if they were, I really do hope that I have brought them up well enough to respect other people and other people's property.

OK, that's my rant over. Hope you manage to get everything fixed and that you get the security that you obviously need. Surely the council will see this now.


glosterwomble said...

Thanks for the comments Jo, I haven't had the heart to do anything with the spud yet so it sits in the kitchen perfectly gift wrapped still!!

HappyMouffetard said...

What an absolute shame. Hopefully this will poke the council into action, but it is so disheartening.

I love the potato, and your onions look very classy.

glosterwomble said...

It should poke the council into action but somehow I suspect it wont do so!!!

clodhopper said...

It's been a gloomy summer right enuff. Let's hope for better next year.

glosterwomble said...


Anonymous said...

Just found you while I was blog hopping, lol. So sorry to hear of the vandalism.

Three 10 year old boys set fire to my front garden - took a lighter to my lovely conifers and they were fully ablaze within a minute. Ten people saw them do it, they went around the whole area bragging about it, and set fire to two shops and the nearby fields. The police can't do anything because of lack of evidence.

I'd throttle my kids if they did anything like that....but so many parents don't seem to bother.

Really hope that you get some security there.....such a shame to have all your hard work ruined.


Howling Duck Ranch said...

Well, nice to know I'm not the only one that had a lousy summer. SO sorry to read about the vandalism. There are days when I wish I didn't live quite SO remotely as I do and then, I read something like this and am thankful I do!

Just found your blog...going to enjoy reading more!

glosterwomble said...

Hi Clare, thanks for your comment on the blog, I think it's dreadful that kids would do that!

Robin said...

Greetings from allotmenteer on the other side of the city.
Sorry to hear about your vandalism but it's just one of the things that goes with allotment gardening unfortunately. In our 4 years on our present site we've been hit twice (within a few weeks of each other) - luckily we have a tin shed and haven't had it burned to the ground as has happened with fellow plot holders...
We all think the Council 'could do more', but, to give them their due, we do now at least have an officer with responsibility and there really isn't a lot of cash sloshing around in the coffers. It's better than it used to be (see what happened to our last plot/site - )

glosterwomble said...

Hi Robin, thanks for your comment. I agree that vandalism is probably part of the allotment life, very frustrating isn't it!! Which site are you on now? I have read about the townham plot before, so sad.
I know I sound like I'm having a go at the council but I'm just frustrated that they haven't done work that they promised 18 months ago and have never delivered. But as you say we have now got an officer so fingers crossed!!

Robin said...

Womble (a pseudonym I presume...)

We're over at the Escourt Close site and have just got a set of lockable gates. The area's not truly secure but it does at least not 'invite' vandals in the same way as an open site.
Back in the 80s we had a plot on Tredworth Fields (the part that is now being brought back into use). I remember that if we had a bonfire, the earth beneath turned bright pink - I think it was a brickfield for a time - so I know the work that goes into digging it!

glosterwomble said...

That's good that they've sorted out your gate for you, it does sound as if they are starting to do things now.
We are on the back part of the Tredworth site but it is as difficult to dig as the front!

vegmonkey said...

That shocking.. haven't been in for a while, so sorry to see so much destruction. I know what u mean about the council too...they can be gits. I've taken on an allotment today that was waterlogged and is every year apparently, which i've been given as it was meant to be 'unusable.' Because i was 100th on the list, they won't give me any help with it as i have jumped the clue! But if i was top of the list, i would have been given topsoil and help clearing it! But i suppose i do have a free plot for a year!

glosterwomble said...

Hi Vegmonkey, good news for you! You've got your own allotment, that's great! No more damage on our plot at the moment, fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

Come on trifer! time to update the blog, me thinks Nx

glosterwomble said...

Hi Anonymous and thanks for your comment! An update might just be on the way, lots of wet weather and lots of stuff happening has meant less allotment time but we have just been up there so some pics and bits will be on here soon! Thanks for your support!! :)

Green Lane Allotments said...

Sorry this probably isn't the right place to post this but I am trying to spread the message about the nationwide problems with contaminated manure. I hope you have heard about it - if not try this link to our website

You may have already done this but I am afraid I haven't had time to browse your website fully, but if not would you consider placing a warning on your website as this problem hasn't gone away - contaminated manure could be in the system for a year or two yet even if the herbicide that has been temporarily withdrawn is never used again.

Now is the time that many gardeners will be obtaining manure and anything we can do to prevent others from experiencing the problems faced this year is worth a try.