Last week via a stroke of luck and family connections, I am now a proud owner of a bit of land in central Plymouth! I have an allotment which I have lovingly named "Birdtopia" because for me, it's my bit of paradise on this earth. And land and allotment space is so scarce these days, this is a nice suprise for me.
But I was however warned..."It is a huge piece of land! Not your usual allotment size Hannah, it's going to be a lot of hard work..."
...hard work never scares me! I thrive off it, me and hard work are old friends and even older enemies!
I was shown around the huge area and finally shown plot 147 which was to be my plot...oh yeah!
But a nice suprise was discovering I already had a crop of rhubarb growing at the end of the field and between me and three other people, we all walked away with huge armfuls of massssshhoooooosive stalks of bright red rhubarb stalks...yummy!
I mean, look at my hands (and before anyone says it, I know I got tiny, midget hands...i'm forever teased about it by a certain dude...and I say it aint the size that counts, its what you do with them! :P)
So a few days later, after being handed the key (and one I mustn't lose else its £50 to replace...£50?! I'm gunna be getting quite a few spares cut here...!) I headed down to the allotments with a bucket, a trowel, packed lunch and some baby cabbages to plant.
And it clicked....Birdie here, was being a little well...bird-brained wasnt she?
She didnt click that she was going to need a little more than a trowel to turn over all that earth did she?!
Not to worry! Help came and delievered some tools and a much needed strimmer and the jungle/groundsheet cemetry was blitzed to look like this...
You almost didnt recognise it did you? And under all that grass and ground sheeting, I discovered that the plot was indeed if not double, certainly tripled it sized than originally thought!...ever get that feeling you bitten off more than you thought you can chew?!
This was the result of around 4 hours work and resulted in me painfully gaining two huuuge blisters, one on my thumb...as I was painfully reminded this evening as I wrote this blog (lemon juice + cuts....OUCH!) and one smack bang in the middle of the palm of my hand!
Look at the variety of wildlife I discovered in the short time I was there! It took me right back to my childhood where I use to spend hours outside, roaming where ever I was to look for critters and animals (and pretending I was a hunter/warrior/explorer/David Attenborough...but you didnt need to know that...). Under all that tarp, I found two slow worms...TWO! I havent seen them for years! And before anyone yells "snake"...slow worms are not snakes, they are actually legless lizards, if you see the face of one close up, you can see this...not a single snake like feature on their pretty little heads...oh, and they aren't slow in the slightest!
And that robin!...I loved that robin to the point he was nick-named Boy Wonder by me (yeah, the geek in me was aggressively active that day...!) reason being that he came right up to you to the point he was taking food from your hand and flitting off before darting back and hopping behind after you as you tilled the soil, pecking at the earth for any worms. I suspect he's got a nest nearby...or Batman... :)
Plus I had to take a picture of that ladybird! Such an unusual colour co-ordination! she's rocking the polka dot look that day!
To end a busy allotment day, I planted my cabbages as you can see in the thick earth that was almost like peat due to it saturating under all that tarp and ground sheet. I'm looking forward to seeing how these little babies do and how big they will become in a few weeks time!
Look at that view! Dont you love Plymouth?! Taken on top of the mound on Mount Batten spit on a break after a few hours around the watersports centre. And if you look closely...you can just spot a little pirate boat coming into harbour. I am sure it's a replica built of the Golden Hind as sailed in by Sir Francis Drake...I'm pretty sure....
Pirates!!!! In Plymouth!!! Hold on to yer hats matey!
But seriously, that aint something you see every day is it?!
And a little taste of the Olympics for you, the Olympic torch running past my road at 8.30am on a sunday...I was expecting no one to be out watching this but how wrong was I?! The street and Lara bridge was full of hundreds of people, half I swear were in their nightwear stilI...and what ws great was the celebratory atmosphere in the air so early on a bright, sunny morning. Flags were thrown out the windows, people clapping and cheering...I think we Brits could do with celebrating a little more. We dont make time or effort to appreciate the silly, fun things in our culture and lives and I think its these things that gives us a boost and a smile.
Plymouth, even though it isn't my place of birth, is however a place where I spent many of my childhood years growing up and spending holidays with my grandparents here. Alot of my family have been born and raised here and I say this marvellous city is in my blood to some extent. Its a mash-up of so many things that I havent encountered before in other cities. It brings the old and new, vintage with modern all together in one huge cooking pot. Plymouth has so many varied landscapes. I grew up in Plymstock mostly, where farmlands, moorlands and coastlands collide with each other. My family background originated from the old harbour and working dockyards, some of them long gone today. There isn't truely a city like Plymouth, It's so unique in such a way that I find it hard to explain.
I'm looking forward to swimming this year in the Tinside Lido, an art deco outdoor swimming pool right by the sea. I might even go down to Devil's point, a place that is wildly occupied by rip-tides and whirl pools but to the knowledgeable swimmer, is a pretty damn great place for a swim. I played here as a girl, shoving my brother off the walk way into the sea and freaking people out by running from the giant man-built rock pool where infants could swim, screaming "shark!" (its amazing how many people believed us and we nearly always had the whole pool to ourselves every time we went, watched by a group of scowling parents and pale-faced, scared children...we were lovely children really...!)
I'm already trying to look ahead to the summer days, working with how I feel day to day. What are your plans this summer?
Hope it brings you good times!
Birdie love to you all. xxx