Life can be hard for the allotment holders in Ipplepen having to try and concentrate on their allotments and not be diverted by what must be one of the most fantastic views ‘allotmenteers’ anywhere in the country have.
Of course there are some in the village (not please note those who come from local farming stock) who believe that the allotment holders are nothing more than a set of tree huggers who keep a few chickens and a dozen honey bees with which they expect to save the world.
I suppose the allotment holders (who incidentally don’t own but rent the allotments from the Ipplepen Parish Council) figuratively speaking put two fingers (not Churchill style) to the detractors and simply get on with tilling their plots.
Not for them the good old country smell of farmyard manure tinged with the dainty odour of years of other farmyard detritus or dogs howling at the moon.
They even have a gate , in fact two gates one of which is now able to be locked only no-one seems concerned so for most of the time it isn’t, and unlike most of the surrounding farmyards the allotments are very suspiciously neat and tidy.
It comes as a surprise to visitors that in place of the expected smell of sinus-clearing slurry and manure (that actually is absorbed into the flesh) there is the much more agreeable aroma of flowers and tomatoes.
Having said all of that the allotment holders and especially those who have been at it for years have a reputation for being dour and having a stubborn intransigent attitude.
It is a reputation that’s hard won and well deserved and they will be the first to admit that they’ll be buggered sideways if they are going to change their way and sacrifice it just to please environmentalists.
Of course it isn’t strictly true because the ‘allotmenteers’ do care about the environment which is why you will find them at the allotments at dawn, during the holidays and working their little plot of land all hours God sends.
When Rupert Brook wrote the lines
“That there’s some corner of a foreign field”
“That is for ever England.”
He could just as well have been writing about the Ipplepen Allotment holders.
It is perhaps why they dislike change so much which is why they get angry (in fact very, very angry) if anyone no matter how well intentioned suggests an ill-thought-out change in the status-quo.
Not that they are opposed to change, only change that they think will make things worse.
This year they even ventured to have a stall at the annual Ipplepen Garden Show and Beer Festival (Ipplepen-Tipple) for which they won the trophy for ‘Best Presentation of an Attraction’, which of course means they will have to do even better next year.
Change is coming……………. Watch this space…