To recognise National Growing for wellbeing week, here's a guest post from Andy and Pip.
After spending several summers moaning about our cold, damp, north-facing yard we decided to take the plunge and secured our allotment in October 2018. Despite being in desperate need of TLC, we loved it from day one and were warmly welcomed by our community of fellow plot holders.
There was more grass inside the greenhouse than out, with almost every pane of glass broken or missing. However, we enlisted the help of brilliant ‘greenhouse man’ Dave, so a few weeks later it was as good as new. The entire winter was spent digging, battling the couch grass, making raised beds, and creating paths. We were absolute novices and learned as we went along, guided by a combination of others around us and the internet.
During our first summer of produce, we felt like children at Christmas! Everything tasted wonderful and one of our favourite games was counting how many home-grown veg items were on our plates. Our second growing season is proving just as exciting as the first, as something new pops up every day by way of reward for our efforts.
We adore the birds (yes, even the naughty ones) and nothing beats an early morning visit in late spring, the sun rising over Highbury, having a portable breakfast on the patio while listening to their song.
The allotment is our sanctuary. During the lockdown period in particular it has been an absolute lifesaver. Had we been unable to come here, our mental health would have undoubtedly suffered, with Pip working from home and Andy cooped up in the house for twenty-three hours a day.
It’s the perfect environment for Andy to maintain a level of fitness and enjoy a new hobby while awaiting a major operation. For Pip, it’s a stress-free haven. As an outdoor person, she often writes at the allotment or in her conservatory – aka the greenhouse – in the winter months. In fact, the whole experience has been such an inspiration that it is now the perfect setting for her second book – watch this space!