Ed and I went back to the allotment today for the first time in 2009. We were almost scared of what we would find, and it certainly looked weedy and neglected when we got there. But we harvested some leeks and some borecole (a curly cabbage-related thing). And we found most of the weeds were shallow, surface-rooted things which came up very easily. In an hour and a half we had cleared about an eighth of the whole plot, which is very encouraging.
I'll go back later in the week and plant something in the ground we cleared. Broad beans and garlic can go in at this time. And we'll return once a week to clear a bit more. By the time spring really gets started we should have it all shipshape.
I enjoyed myself enormously. I had forgotten how much I love going there. It helped that it was a beautiful day. The sky was blue and the sun was shining, although there was an inch of ice in the water butt. But after only a short while of digging we had stripped off our layers of woolies and were in our shirtsleeves. I chatted to one of the allotment holders who filled me in on what had happened since I was last there. I took stock of what is still there - my soft fruit bushes, my apple tree, the rhubarb is already coming up and so are the daffodils. Ed and I planned what we would plant in the coming season.
It's good to have dirt under my nails again.