Bill’s polytunnel saga continues.
Backstory: Bill applied to the Parish Council, who run the allotments, to erect a small polytunnel (about 8 foot long by 6 foot wide by 6 foot high) last Spring.
The council refused his application. To the best of my knowledge, the councillors refused it on the grounds that they “didn’t like polytunnels”.
Fair enough. I don’t like polytunnels on allotments. To my mind, it is not in the spirit of allotmenteering and I’m sure parishoners would not like to see a allotment covered with plastic.
Bill is nothing if not determined. He wanted a polytunnel. He wanted to extend the growing season and feed his family. Bill objected and asked why he had been refused. It was around this point that things started to deteriorate. Strong words were exchanged at a council meeting. Letters were sent. Complaints made. Bill was thrown out of one acrimonious meeting by the pompous and overbearing chairman (some might, some do, call him a bully).
The latest news came in the form of a letter pinned to the Parish Council noticeboard next to the shop in the village centre. Someone, Bill almost certainly, placed it there with the intention, I guess, of embarrassing the council.
The letter is from the council clerk to the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners (NSALG). It seems that there has been protracted correspondence, with the association supporting Bill’s polytunnel campaign. The clerk, I suspect egged on by the chairman or one or other member, sets out the council’s side of the story. This is all rather silly, but two points anger me.
First, the clerk says that the council had reasons for refusing the application viz. setting a precedent, noise from rustling plastic, visual intrusion. Well, that’s the first I have heard that line. As far as I know, no reasons have been minuted.
Second, the clerk’s letter appears to have enclosed a photo of Bill’s allotment showing the polytunnel. Fine. But, it now seems that the council is to take enforcement action. This leads to me suspect that a certain council member is behind the letter. That certain council member was warming up with his chainsaw yesterday.
The council is perfectly within its rights to take action against Bill. On the other hand, the way in which he has been treated is far from civilised.
At first, I thought he was a curmudgeonly old geezer. As I’ve got to know him and talk about gardening my view has changed. Bill is a strong character, one which the village would be poorer without. He has an independent streak. He likes being down the bottom of the allotments so that he doesn’t bother anyone. Like most of the other plot holders, he is more than happy to help out with practical advice. His chickens have cleared more land than the council could ever.
(That was Saturday. Sunday the letter had disappeared. I am not pointing fingers. Any one of several of the usual suspects could be to blame.)
Meanwhile, I aggravated my shoulder with some digging.
Where Bill’s chickens did their business, I started a new bed. The bed is still riddled with ground elder. I spent 5 minutes sifting through the till for roots for every one minute of digging. The spoil backfilled potato bed one.
Allotment number 7 saw a bit of mechanical tilling. As it is a relatively clear plot it probably works for him. But, with my weed cover, it’s manual digging and plenty of ibuprofen for me.
Not much more to report from the onions and garlic. Looking back down the plot, it still seems daunting. Can I get the digging done for growing season? With my shoulder?
Up at the potato bed, I dug in a couple of bags of manure. Sometime in the next 7 days I will pick up some more bags of poo.
At Wednesday night’s council meeting even more poo will be flying.