Friday, 8 May 2009

West African Green Leaf vegetables

Ida is a West African woman, her plot is opposite mine and next to her plot was Pear Tree Wullies (RIP) plot. Ida has two plots which she works with her husband and young children. She tends to grow a lot of spinach and kale type leaves; many of which I was unfamiliar with. Ida told me some of them were called 'rape' a green leafy vegetable. We exchanged some produce last year, I gave her some potatoes and herbs, and she gave me some green leaves amongst it ‘rape’ leaves, which I cooked simply in olive oil with garlic. They were absolutely delicious.

During this period, my mother came up from Wales to see me and my plot for the first time. My mother had instructed me to ask Ida for some seeds, but I don’t often see Ida as she usually comes in on days whilst I am at work. However, I did briefly see her this Wednesday evening when I went over after work to water the plants in the greenhouse, and she came up to me asking for a cutting of my lemon balm plant, as the previous one I had given her had died. I assured her I would do this over the weekend and leave it by her gate.

As I left my plot, I noted that someone had stripped all of Pear Tree Wullies rhubarb stems. I am not too sure what to think about this. Whether this was a good thing: that someone was making the most of it as it would have just rotted and gone to waste; or a bad thing: did someone ‘take it without permission’ as is a common theme at this site.

On my way out, I also bumped into the new dynamic committee member who I think is bringing some positive changes to the allotment site. He shared with me his recent experience of attending the last Committee meeting. He briefly mentioned that the secretary was getting all obnoxious with him as he did not support her viewpoint of ‘verbally evicting’ an older couple just because they had an unkempt plot.

Now I am not overly friendly with this vaguely hippy couple, but their plots in comparison to the secretarys own and the presidents plots are far better managed. Also there are a number of other plot holders whose plots are in a terrible condition: overgrown weed jungles and some of these people literally live a stones throw away, come over most evenings especially when the sun shines to ‘case’ other peoples plots, yet the committee are not forewarning or verbally threatening to evict them. Yet they have taken a dislike to this couple (probably over some minor disagreement or personality clash). The new member stated that a verbal warning was not permitted as it was not part of Plot Associations rules or regulations, and that it had to be a written warning, but the secretary was adamant, if she was unhappy with someone, it was her prerogative to evict them. The new committee member said he was shunned by the established committee members because he has not supported the secretary’s viewpoint, but he was simply abiding by rules that they had written.

It’s a shame that committee members, grown adults are acting immaturely, ‘we will like you if you take our side and dislike you if you don’t’. He also told me that he had suggested that they display their names and plot numbers on the Allotment sites notice board, so that all plot holders (old and new) knew exactly who was on the committee, which they all resented. Ridiculous. Seems to me they all want the so called authority and glory, but not the responsibility of being on the committee.

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