Where the grass isn’t always greener
They say the grass is always greener on the other side. Not on my allotment it isn’t.
Nowhere else does the grass grow thicker, more luxuriantly, or with such confidence that it will never feel the blade of a lawnmower
I can’t for the life of me understand why they have so much trouble with the turf at Wembley. I don’t even want to grow the stuff, but you could stage all the play offs back to back and the FA Cup fnal on my allotment and the grass would be up and perkily growing again within hours.
It doesn’t help that I’m sandwiched between two gnarled geniuses of the allotment world.
Eddie and Dave line their plants up in serried ranks, they grow to order and a CSI Allotment team is called in to seal off the scene if a dandelion so much as rears its head.
It’s a bit like having Chernobyl squeezed in between the Garden of Eden and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
They live, needless to say, in fear of contamination from my patch – a source of some consolation to me.
Dave and Eddie have been gardening for centuries. In fact, talking of the Garden of Eden I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Dave who first gave Adam a cutting from a Cox’s orange pippin and suggested he might enjoy growing a few apples.
They’re always happy to pass on advice, spare plants and even water my allotment if I’m not around.
They are generous with their time, because, being retired they’ve got plenty of it.
But the truth for the rest of us is that if you have an allotment and a job, you’ve got weeds.
Officially I left the BBC to spend more time with my family, but a little part of me was thinking I could spend more time with my allotment too.
When I outlined my plans to my wife I could tell she had a horrifying vision of me standing idly on my allotment, swapping tips on courgettes with Eddie and Dave and not doing a stroke of work. I didn’t dare tell her that I shared the same, golden vision.
But it hasn’t turned out like that.
You would think that after ten years of interviewing people who ran their own business, every single one of whom couldn’t stress enough just how much hard work it was, I might have been prepared.
But the truth is, as any of my producers will tell you, I wasn’t listening. I was just tuning in for the twenty second clip I needed, everything else was just background noise.
Now I am running my own business and wondering where the time goes.
And then there was the realisation that when I was with the BBC, if I wasn’t at work, the corporation would run on quite nicely without me.
Now I know that if I sleep, Robin Hood Media sleeps too.
It’s enough not just to make you get out of bed in the morning, but to make sure you never go there in the first place.
There’s always this mythical golden window sometime in the future when you imagine you may have time to catch up with the weeds .
But that never materialises. Next week, or the week after may look quiet. But the week you’re in never does and slowly the diary fills up with appointments, and work (thankfully) and time passes and the grass grows.
Sometimes if I have half an hour to spare I’ll pop down to glare meaningfully at the grass and perhaps even wave a gardening fork at it. It’s a gesture, a warning that one day the final reckoning will come. But as the grass waves cheerfully back with its own gesture which says “Sure, but we won’t be holding our photosynthesis,” I can tell it doesn’t believe me.