LOCKDOWN AT WINDMILL GARDENS
I'm lucky enough to be one of the four core volunteers who have been working away in the community allotment since the spring. I say lucky, because it has got me out of the house, where I tend to listen to the radio all day long, including the news, and kept me healthy. I decided that it was safest to travel by bike, so I have cycled the mile and a bit twice a week, every week, except when I took a short holiday in Great Yarmouth. The weather has been kind to us too, there have been very few days when we have been "Rained Off". We have been lucky to have Tracey finding out the Covid restrictions and finding ways to keep us working. Social distancing doesn't always come naturally, but we have managed, and used many bottles of anti-bacterial hand gel.
Tracey shovelling shit!
We started in April with a massive pile of manure, which we cleared very quickly, despite the fact that we had to work in shifts. We were helped by Jeremy and Ash and Clare. In fact, there have been many other volunteers coming and going over the past six months, including one of our older members, Brian, who is invaluable for those DIY jobs, Tammy who has a magic touch with Calabrese and Kale. Mo, Durbah and Ayaan who have been watering regularly all summer. Also Shahnaz, Zarifah, Mary, and Adam who have been with us briefly, the list goes on. More recently, old volunteers like Stuart have been returning. We also had help from three year old twins, whose sister is shown resting below. They planted so much salad, that we have been making money selling it. Because of all these visitors, including people coming to buy plants, we had to install a bell, made by a friendly Blacksmith - Gavin. It can be heard at the far side of the allotment.
One of the benefits of having fewer people around, is that you don't stop to talk so much. Consequently more work has been done. We have been really impressed by the amount of vegetables that we have produced. In fact, we have been giving a lot away because we can no longer have our Thursday meal cooked by the lovely Zarifa, Mary, Shahnaz and Mo. We have donated food to community meals and given some to the Sumac Centre food hub, in return for Time Credits and goods. We have also been sending supplies to Mohi and Mohamed, who are isolating because they are expecting a baby very soon. They normally grow their own at the allotment.
Of course we mustn't forget the lovely Clare, who has started up a new project working with people with mental health issues. She runs a separate session for them, but is encouraging people to join our regular groups. As we have all found out over lock down, gardening and being outside in the fresh air and greenery is one of the best cures for stress, depression and anxiety.
Bryn hard at work!Rosie Jarrett 30/09/2020