One of my earliest memories is of my uncle smelling of tomatoes, he grew them in his greenhouse.
Then my mother died, I was quite young just about to turn 13 to be precise, this isn't a sob story..I have a reason for telling you this, bare with me. My mother died and with her any connection to her side of my family, my tomato scented uncle became a very distant memory. I grew up knowing very little about my mother's family that is until a very strange thing happened at work one day many years later. A girl I didn't know came to the desk I was working at, she'd come for a staff induction with my manager. I recognised her accent, it was the same as my mum and dad's. She also shared my mother's maiden name...to make conversation whilst waiting, I asked her where she was from...yes, as I had already guessed the same town as my parents. Still just making conversation I mentioned that I had family in that town with the same name (I was guessing now...I had no idea if any of my mothers family were still alive) she looked at me and said, 'I'm your cousin'.
And with that I rediscovered half of my family. One thing I learned was that my grandfather had had an allotment, it had been passed down through his son my uncle, to his son, it was still in the family. My newly discovered cousin brought me a bag of vegetables that her brother had grown on the plot, in the bag were tomatoes (of course) and a bunch of grapes from a vine that my grandfather had planted. I could actually hold ...and eat...a link to a man I had never known and to a family that had been lost just through this vine that had been nurtured for years by them. I find that amazing. It made me remember my mother's better days when she became the person she should always have been. She would make fairy gardens with me and plant window boxes, she had loved growing things. It made me remember that I had loved growing things too, I had forgotten.
Then my partner, Chris became very ill with cancer..still not a sob story, really...
We had a tough time for awhile, everything just stopped. Of course the bills still needed paying (still struggling with that one!) and the children still needed to go to school and nursery but life kinda got put on hold. The one thing I would say I learnt through it all was if you think you have problems go and spend some time in a Chemo ward and be bloody grateful for the NHS and all who sail in her...I am pathetically so.
Thankfully he got the all clear and we walked out of the consultants office with a very strange feeling of wary relief and a huge feeling of what now? Well my 'what now' became obvious...I put my name down for an allotment, I needed to grow things...
My partners was of course to get a dog...
And so my allotment adventure begins...I really haven't got a clue what I'm doing, I am a complete novice. This blog will go someway of reminding me of the huge mistakes I will no doubt make along the way but hopefully some of the good things that happen too:)
I dream of a gentle chaos of my own making, I'm not very good at straight lines and planning, though I love the stationary and pens that I've got to do my 'planning' with.
Fruit, vegetables and lots of flowers mixed in together, that's the plan so far. I want to make lovely, happy memories for my little family (even the big grown up ones!) I want them to have a beautiful place to be outdoors, to be able to pick food straight off the plant and know that it's safe for them to eat. I want the 'good life'...not too much to ask surely? First things first though, I really need a shed because it rains a lot and sometimes that's not funny!
***As for my cousin she has become a really good friend, we found we have such silly things in common. We had the same car, we'd taken the same degree and got the same result (ha!) We had our little surprise children within a year of each other and can now share the joys of an afternoon at the cinema watching Peppa Pig. We met the day after what would have been her father's birthday....sadly he had died the year before...but we both feel that somewhere, someone made sure we met and I for one am very grateful***