Men, manure and middle-age

It is a truth universally acknowledged, as Jane Austen never wrote, that a middle-aged man in possession of a bladder will never need an alarm clock.

And so it happened that although I passed the night with neither clock nor phone to wake me, I woke at 7 am without a problem.

And 5.30 am and 3 am.

I normally set the clock anyway but the battery has gone dead, and my phone was also out of juice, so I relied on nature and it didn’t fail me. It was actually one of the more relaxed nights I have spent recently, as we didn’t need to be at work until around 11.00, allowing us time to get up, shop and have breakfast out (which was an error – the TESCO cafe staff, as usual, lacked energy whilst the cafe itself lacked tea. There were no working hot water machines, and, according to the staff, no kettle. That’s worse than a pub with no beer.).

When we got to work we found that the volunteers from Capital One were hard at work, and had nearly completed the raised bed in the large polytunnel. It brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye. It is a beautiful bed made from straw bales and filled with a variety of materials, including a lot of well-rotted pig muck. We’ve been trying to get it done for several years but there’s always been a problem, so it was great to see it completed.

It was a bitter-sweet moment: seeing the beautiful raised bed, yet knowing that the plan for next year is to let the Allotment Club use it. So there I was with my nose pressed up against the polythene like a kid at a sweetshop window. So close, and yet so far!

To be honest, the pleasure of seeing the bed outweighs the sense of loss. I’m already making plans for next year and I far prefer planning to actual gardening.

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Men and manure in perfect harmony

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