An idiot’s guide to mud

1 Feb

My life sometimes feels like a battle against mud. At this time of year even a quick visit to our local park takes ten minutes’ preparation as the wriggly kids are suited and booted. Then on arrival back home they have to be stripped of suits and boots before one of them comes charging into the living room spraying mud on my white sofa (in my defence it was the cheapest option although I do wonder how much I was in denial about parenthood when I bought it). When it comes to being house proud V hating cleaning it is always the latter that inspires me to guard against mud. So it could be questioned why someone so mud averse is coaxing more of the brown stuff into her life.

I guess the reason so many people sign up to an allotment and then have said allotment taken promptly away from them is the result of the imagined V reality. I imagine my allotment in a year or two’s time, all the hard work done, some fruit trees growing, providing shade for the kids as they sit working on their little plots, learning about the cycle of life. We have looked at what benches we might buy or perhaps a fetching metal bistro set, where we can sit after a hard days graft and sup a tea or a well deserved beer. I didn’t, rather unsurprisingly, sit around fantasising about all the hours I would spend digging in the rain getting muddy, getting backache, missing my quality me-time at home. I dug for an hour, a mere hour and my hands, jacket and trousers, two pairs of gloves and ancient festival-purchased pink wellies were all lathered in the stuff. The mud, so soggy and water logged is the land right now, swiftly soaked through whatever hand protection I put up against it and I now sport (perhaps evenly vaguely proudly) a workman’s thumb!

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Over the hour’s dig I learnt how best to separate the clods of much needed earth from the tentacle like roots of grass and weeds that I am trying to clear – by hand, pulling lumps off, chucking them back into what now looks like a small pond with a big muddy splash. I learnt I am going to have get very muddy if this is to ever work – obvious I know but I thought you were given a perfect, level plot and then got on with the fun planting bit. I learnt that even though it’s splashy grotty gruelling work it is easier than our aborted attempts last summer when the clods were impenetrable and sun baked –  soggy mud has become my new best friend. And I did get a moment from my imagined allotment: after digging for an hour I cracked open my flask and had a biscuit and stood in complete knackered serenity. My mind the calmest it has been all week. We don’t have the money right now for that bistro table but I will furnish it with an old plastic chair from the garden, so that next time I can at least sit down and have my cuppa. When I think about that brief part of the morning I almost look forward to next Friday’s dig.

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4 Responses to “An idiot’s guide to mud”

  1. Dom February 1, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    Nice Becky, I’m sure it’ll get better. The secret to being comfortable outdoors in the mud is a good pair of wellies. You should think of them as important as a good pair of walking boots, festi wellies are alright to begin with but you need warmth. My advice is to invest in some Wellies with Neoprine or even better chamois leather innards. I wear mine everyday when I walk Hovis, and to have a pair fitting glove like makes life far more pleasant.

    • wifi allotment February 5, 2013 at 11:41 am #

      Thanks Dom, new wellies are definitely on my list of essential kit to buy, might have to wait till next month tho as I have blown the budget on compost and sand this month!

  2. Gill February 3, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    I know exactly what you mean about returning with the tots from the muddy park but just as a run around in the mud does them good your battle with allotment mud is obviously beginning to give you some calm moments! This is progress!

    • wifi allotment February 5, 2013 at 11:42 am #

      It’s true, I’m really enjoying it and progressing on plot – photos to follow!

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