Wednesday, 25 May 2016
Farmer Giles of Ham
What surprises me is that there's not been a murder series centred around an allotment. There's Rosemary and Thyme: but the title gives its nature away - light hearted Midsomer Murder fare. Not a proper "whodunnit". No, I'm staggered why there's not been a crime series centred on an allotment such as " Art Chokes Two For a Pound" or "Post Mortem amongst the Potash."
I say this because in recent weeks life down on the allotment has taken on a definitely "The Archers" turn of events. It was all because of a "slight" miscalculation by our branch's Treasurer.
You see at this year's AGM our new Treasurer, in presenting last year's accounts made great play of the fact that in the past 3 years we had spent £5,000 on repairs to our lawnmowers and strimmers. He said, in his written report, that this could not continue. He suggested, quite strongly, that the damage to our horticultural tools which had occasioned such extravagance was due to the carelessness and incompetence of some of our allotment holders.
New measures had to introduced. Plots were to be surveyed to ensure that the grass paths between plots were sufficiently level to ensure that the mowers, if used, would not come a cropper. A report was to be drawn up highlighting those plots that were insufficiently flat. In those cases remedial action was to be taken. Subsequently a report was prepared and certain plot holders identified and spoken to.
Machinery in future would only be loaned out if it was signed for and on return inspected for damage. On no account was machinery to be passed from one plot holder to another without being returned and checked. Signs were suggested - written in large type; all plot holders were to be e-mailed with details of the new regime. Any damage was to be paid for by the culprit plot holder.
Unsurprisingly the grass between the plots has grown uncommonly tall. People, including me, have been afraid to take out any mower or strimmer for fear of inadvertently transgressing one of the new diktats.
I wasn't at the last but one committee meeting. It was a humdinger. One of the committee was incensed that the Treasurer had more or less accused them of incompetence in allowing the cost of repairs to grow so large. Especially as that committee member had done his own calculation to show that the amount spent on repairs was not £5,000 but less than £1,500. Accusations and taunts were thrown across the committee table. One member resigned on the spot in disgust and the rest of the committee walked out, leaving behind a rather bemused Chair and Secretary.
There followed a string of e-mails which clearly showed that the lower figure was correct. The new regime, which had caused quite a bit of resentment amongst plot holders, had been based on widely inaccurate figures. Still words like "idiots", "criminals" littered the texts and a certain member of the committee was asked to apologise, which they did in one e-mail only to retract it in the next.
A further committee meeting was called for last Sunday which I attended. Before it began the Chair itemised the series of insults and accusations that had been flying around - that had to stop. The meeting was so boring. No one said anything but just grunted or nodded when asked to agree on matters under discussion.
It's a miracle that blood had not been spilled at the earlier meeting. I had visions of heads being severed with pruning knives, legs cut off at the knees as strimmers were wielded, hands sawn off and noses snipped as accusations of bad faith and skullduggery were hurled across the committee room.
It would have made for truly exciting afternoon drama sponsored by Viking Cruises.
My potatoes are doing fine, as are the beetroot although everything else is unusually late. I suspect all the plants are lying low, fearful of what might happen to them should they be foolish enough put their heads above ground!