WHISPERING SMITH: Birds and the bees and a cool summer breeze

Chris Adam Smith's allotment
Chris Adam Smith's allotment

It is a warm, sunny summer’s afternoon with a whisper of a breeze, just fresh enough to cool the blood and dry the sweat and tears of my labours.

I am at our allotment erecting canes and planting runner beans – bought that morning at the Bonfire Society fundraiser – and some cauliflower and marigold seedling given to me by fellow allotmenteers as surplus to their own requirements.

Chris Adam Smith

Chris Adam Smith

The work all done, time to lean on my spade and I watch a noisy bunch of gulls mob a coal black crow, while high above their raucous racketing a Goodwood Spitfire heads for the coast.

An idyllic afternoon in almost every way but this one marred by the bees swarming close by and the sight of a dead rabbit baited fox trap partially hidden in nearby bushes, a particularly cruel practice in this the breeding season with cubs no doubt being weaned somewhere close by.

Still, every silver lining has a dark cloud and the overall delight of having an allotment plot is a very real and happy experience and we in Littlehampton who have them are very privileged.

The town council provides five sites, with others pending, offering around 353 individual plots – currently all taken with 33 on the waiting list.

Total running cost to the council is a little over £100 per plot but, given that usually two people work a site, it is not a great deal to spend on the benefits gained through good exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

Allotmenteers are indeed a healthy, hardy and – in most cases – a good-natured friendly lot and in no way ungrateful for the effort put in by the town council staff who ensure a fair and supportive operation.

This month I happily tip my Stetson to the folk who make allotments possible and such a worthwhile amenity.

To paraphrase the Bard, ‘we few, we happy band of brothers and sisters’ say thank you.

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