Utopian Marrows – the allure of the allotment

The sight of an allotment gives me hope.

Just as the Sunday newspaper had battered me to the state of morose, between Wolverton and Milton Keynes, I saw a square of allotments. “

You going up the allotments?”

“You’ve got a big bag of greens, just been up your allotment.”

“Bloody Jackdaws”

Our excellent postman has an allotment, sometimes he used to leave an excess marrow on our doormat. Across the railway tracks outside my house, there is an impressive patchwork of runner beans, water butts and optimistic seedlings.

Sometimes, I potter up with my son and look at the allotment of his former nursery school. It is a working museum of plant planning, bamboo markers and contemplation. When we first moved nearby, we were confused by what resembled the sound of a noisy android Pelican coming from the hillside. The initial deduction was that this seabird holler was to occasionally scare away the pests, though the interval between bursts would have left plenty of time for a peckish Chaffinch to have her fill. After some questioning of the soil-fingered, blackberry loiterers, we were informed it is the noises the water heater makes to inform thirsty gardeners it is cup of tea time.

We haven’t got our own allotment yet, but the time has come that I hanker for one.

The allotment is the antithesis of the shopping mall. As that instils a sense of nausea and annoyance in me, the walk through the allotments cures me. If every shopping centre offered a view of allotments, wouldn’t those hectic shoppers look at their insatiable desires for “just one more new thing”, “just one more cardboard carrier bag to unsteady my gait”, and have a eureka moment. “What am I doing here? Why have I failed to realise that these socket wrenching sacks of durables are not giving me that Soma wave of euphoria the swipe of plastic promised. Why am I sitting in the false light of an eating area that declares it offers me a trip around the world, yet only gives me different forms of beef mince and chicken flash from the same abattoir? Would I be happier on a moss flecked bench with my own thermos of soup and a sandwich tight in tin foil?” I may well be misjudging the nation’s tastes and hopes, but that is what the view of allotments does to me, it gives me optimism.

the tendrils of the blackberries strangled the faux marble pillars of New Look, the surviving gardeners looked on with satisfaction, as the concussed shoppers confusedly grasped the last leaking bottles of bronzer. Death to the mall, viva the row of spring greens, tomatoes, and a small shed for thought.


I have just seen some very big rhubarb.


next tour dates are Swindon, Cheltenham, Newport, Swansea, Newcastle, Hull, Glasgow, Edinburgh and plenty more (Autumn date announced soon) plus two works in progresses and Angry shows with Michael Legge in York, Leeds – all dates HERE

latest DVD (three hours long and new technology that makes it play randomly and strangely) HERE

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3 Responses to Utopian Marrows – the allure of the allotment

  1. carsmilesteve says:

    One of the joys of train travel, I think, is getting to see a lot of allotments.

  2. lanceleuven says:

    Whenever I see allotments I see great potential for car parks.*

    *I’m joking! 🙂

  3. Emily Heath says:

    I just got my first allotment recently. I’m keeping bees on it, no gardeners wanted the plot as it’s shady and not great soil, but it’s perfect for bees. The allotment society is cleaning up a local walkway behind the allotments and planting wild flowers along it, which makes me very happy.

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