On February 10th we held a ‘brunch morning’ down on our allotments in West Watford. Following days of OK weather, the forecast for Sunday looked grim and indeed it lived up to its prediction with constant rain, grey skies and a very cold temperature.
However this was not going to dampen our spirits! With help from everyone canopies were soon put up and shelter was given... Stalls were quickly set up as more and more helpers arrived. The feeling could only be described as being akin to a festival with bright colours, smiling faces and the good old public not letting the rain stop the fun. Ruth and Alison soon decorated the rd and gazebos in jolly bunting and bright flags.
Things were chaotic as people started to arrive, and members of the general public soon offered to lend a hand to get things up and running. The BBQ was set up by kind volunteer Jaz and helper and reinforcements soon arrived as did volunteers like Kerry with pre cooked sausages and Wendy really out did herself with homemade rolls! Cups of tea and coffee were passed round and there was even a sneaky supply of very nice mulled wine someone had brought in flasks and shared freely which warmed everyone’s cockles!
Fellow twitterers soon arrived from far flung place such as Surry, Essex, Chesham and East London. There was a great feeling of comradeship and it was great to be with fellow growers and allotment people. Ad hoc site tours were taken and I think it’s fair to say that visitors couldn’t believe the size of the site, quality of the land and the obvious well loved feeling you get from the plots.
Karen’s book stall was great and led to many interesting discussions between strangers and friends. Perhaps it was a little too early for the plant stall but Beryl’s pansies soon went and the house plants were very popular.
Ed, Jo and family did a sterling job with the kid’s entertainment, never has ‘hook a duck’ been in such an idyllic setting under rain on an allotment! But this didn’t put the children off!! Every time I stopped chatting to someone and looked round there seemed to be more and more people arriving. Friends, neighbours, people I recognised, people I didn’t and I met lots of new people.
The chat was obviously about the value of our allotments, about how strongly people felt about protecting them and how many local residents would love to have one when we save them. Not just because of the ability to grow their own but also equally importantly to be part of the fantastic community spirit which was so evident then and there.
Karen and Jeni’s cake stall was once again surrounded with many people wanting to sample the vegetable cakes (I did and they were wonderful!) My own raspberry muffins using raspberries from our plot which I had frozen last year were very gallantly endured!! We really appreciated the many yummy donations of cakes and biscuits brought in by everyone.
Time went extremely quickly and soon people were heading off to warm up. We reckon we had at least 135 visitors. Mary’s throat must have hurt after her brilliant mini History lessons, informing everyone of the allotments historical and cultural importance!
The diehards stayed to tidy up (taking down gazebos on a wet cold February day is a labour of love!) However we were all high on adrenalin after the amazing success of the day.
If this is what we can do on such a foul day, imagine what the spring one will be like!