Good old Aunty Beeb took her remit to educate, inform and entertain to a whole new level with this show last night. Out of curiosity, I was compelled to watch.
I am only in my second year of being an allotment holder, though I have been attempting to grow my own for a few years longer. That said, to date, I have had a very positive experience. There is nothing overt, that I can or would wish to complain about. I am very appreciative of the community that I belong to, despite the challenges that might be presented. Dodgy clay, occasional tutting and frowning not withstanding.
What allotment wars demonstrated-it’s on Iplayer somewhere-that the rosy ideal of allotmenteering is not the case. With shed break ins-swanky sheds, I hasten to add-a closed community attitude, and competitiveness that wouldn’t be out of place on a football field; such a documentary was best described as frightening.
Over the last few years, there has been increase in the demand for allotments. One could argue that this is product of the recent economic trouble. Perhaps it is, there may well be a correlation, between the economic down term and the turn towards GYO as produce becomes increasingly more expensive and people consider sustainability. The notion of having an allotment, is romantic. An activity, that during the war gave people the opportunity to contribute to the war effort, requires effort, commitment and some level of endurance. It also, perhaps mistakenly, has a reputation for being an old man’s game.
I am neither old, nor a man.
It still takes a bit of graft though.
The allotments featured, were pretty. I don’t doubt that effort and hardwork had been put into them. That was blatantly obvious. What took me by surprise, was the negativity, Yes, all right, the clue is in the title. But this begs the question. Why?
Why have such nastiness, a condescending attitude towards those that want to have a go, and most importantly, why pinch someone else’s veg?
The competition veg growing was amusing. The sheer work, shouldn’t be detracted from. That is commendable. I can’t get those sort of results. Good luck and well done, to those that want to, and do. But stealing crops, by way of sabotage. That has to be despicable. The burning down of greenhouses, the weedkilling of tomatos. Pulling up of carrots. You couldn’t make this up, really. Perhaps Aunty Beeb did…who knows?
Then there was the spare boudoir, I mean the swanky shed. That’s lovely, it really is. But when it is broken into repeatedly, why have one? It was a nice shed, a well kept one. I had been debating the notion of having one. The Jury has been sent out again.
And the old boy network. Whilst there were two ladies, they were the only two. In addition, only one person who could be termed younger than the gentlemen of more mature years. The show demonstrated a very skewed representation of allotmenteering. For many, having an allotment is a positive experience. Some folks join gyms, others sow and harvest fruit and vegetables. You will always have horses for courses, that is the way life works. The show would have benefited from that, yes, I know it’s allotment wars. But why a war? That I really don’t understand. You’d think Allotmenteering had a seering dark underbelly that was once consigned to victorian social commentary a la Charles Dickens. It surely doesn’t!
May be, in the same vein as Freemasons, allotments need to open their gates; debunk and demystify their nature. Mud slinging, is probably not the best way. It’s fairly useful, mud. Just not in this case. What alarms me the most, is the programme. Bordering on sensationalist, tabloid, and gutter like, the montage of allotmenteering does it no justice whatsoever. Waiting lists have increased over the years, the quantity of plots does not meet the level of demand. With some sites, poorly run, others being tyrannical dictatorships, and attitudes within them being hard to encapsulate; a muddy and confused picture is what we have.
Aligning freemasons with Allotmeentering. What a scary thought!
Yours in anticipation