'I've got a steaming pile of shit with your name on it,' how often do you hear this sentence and actually feel happy about it? Well, I was jubilant when Sir Cakealot aka Sir Cakeatonne (shortly to be discussed), tweeted me an image of what looked like a pile of brown lava, with a gardening fork sticking out of it. It was time to shift £80 of rotten horse manure onto our plot. Trouble was (is) the van couldn't get down to the bottom, so we had to wheelbarrow the brown gold down there ourselves. This was pre-Christmas as I was recovering from man flu. I tell you hitting a 'vein' of particularly smelly dung with a bad chest is hilarious. When I say hilarious I mean dreadful.
The cold, courtesy of our very own pleistocene epoch had frozen most of the manure, so it came away in great clods and boulders. We were really jousting a dragon; Sir Cakealot definitely had more energy than me, filling up barrows like ale in a tankard. Hence Sir Cakeatonne - he was powerloading pounds at a single bound. I was more systematic in my approach, reducing the back bit methodically. Damn my chest was sore.
Comic relief came in the form of Reg who was traipsing through the snow with a Sainsburys bag and a smile that outshone the Winter sun. Turned out he was curious who was on the plot, and was paying a flying visit. He started laughing almost straight away, real loud like. That set us off. He admired the dung and then headed off, with Cakealot shouting at the back of his head. This wasn't at all malicious, Reg is a tad deaf and Cakealot / Cakeatonne was his chivalrous self.
The second round of dung shifting came yesterday. It was a milder day than I expected, with plenty of mist to make things atmospheric. I have seen the allotment in many ways over the year, and this was one of the most special. Cakealot and I had a good go at the pile and reduced it by approximately another quarter. Laughs were had with capsizing barrows (full to the brim), heartbreaking when that happens.
Amidst steaming plots, muddy walkways growing ever muddier and thinner, and puddles, we shifted a good six or seven barrows each. We also had time to lift up an area of carpet and black plastic we'd laid down a good long time ago. It had done the job well, with only a few hoochy coochy strands here and there. That too will be covered with the dung. There's still so much to shift though!
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A great year for gardening, a lousy year for everything else, so say Brother Oregano. I hope you've enjoyed the blog almost as much as I've had writing it. Keep up the support and I'll keep up the amateur gardening. 2011 will be a feast of activity, so watch this space. Happy Millennium!