I am late with this post (I was supposed to blog on the 1st of April) but I was out in our new allotment instead. Out in the sun:) So I am sorry for not being here, but let me explain my love for the hard work in the open air, for chatting to the allotment neighbours and for our love for home-grown fruit and veg.
The new Bristol allotment is our second project of this kind. Our first allotment initiative came out of the need to get away from work in front of the screen back in Oxfordshire (we have documented it over on Tumblr here – just scroll down as it’s now renamed and updated from Bristol). As a self-employed, working from home mum, I am kind of stuck in between the need to sit at home and work and the inability to meet up with others in an office environment. Self-employment is a funny beast – people tend to think that you are not working but always too busy to make time for them. So you risk feeling really isolated. But here is the good news: as a self-employed person you are in charge of your time. And so if you manage it wisely you can achieve an hour or two each day so why not go out and spend it with people who are connected through mutual interests (love for nature, food growing and simply doing something for yourself)? To me personally going to the allotment is the ultimate form of self-care.
If you look at the photos of the old allotment you will call me mad: starting from zero in a new city? Why? What is the point? Well, the project itself, really. There is something zen about the idea of taking on an old, abandoned plot of land, bringing it up to speed and cultivating it, nurturing it and making plants and flowers grow on it. It is not just the results but the journey that matters. So this month, over on Instagram this time, we have joined the community of fellow allotmenteers as @BristolAllotment (what a great way to learn new words in English;)). In the first two days of our account, we have gained 200 genuine followers – people crazy about allotments, but also nature, flowers and growing your own food. Some are from Bristols, others from the UK, many from all around the world. Each time we post a question or get stuck with ideas, the Instagramers are there to help and serve with advice. Friends and neighbours smile when they see us head out to the allotment or get overly excited about stories from the plot;) Technology is great to connect with people around our hobbies and I am super happy to see so many similarly minded people – it’s great news to see that people still care about growing their own food and caring for wildlife.
But ultimately there is the very selfish reason for renting an allotment: it is a project – an easy, self-inflicted and very achievable series of tasks that brings quick and pleasant results. And that, my dear readers, is according to positive psychology a perfect recipe for happiness.
So what’s so appealing about having your own allotment? One word: real! It’s so very real: the sunshine on your cheek, the cold wind on a November morning or calming sunset view on a summer eve. In the age of screens, long work commutes and advertising convincing us that having kids is hard work (not joy) the allotment is the best place to take some time off our busy life and go back to the basics: a little bit of work, a few sublime views and a lot of time together with friends and family. Try it out and I bet you: you will never look back!