Sunday, December 07, 2008

The pleasure of a well-turned sod

Digging today! Digging!!

I love digging. I love to see an untidy piece of ground transformed into a uniformly turned over, waiting for winter cold, well-dug patch. Robins seem to like it too. One ate so much I'm surprised he could still fly.

It's been glorious here today. A really heavy frost overnight then clear blue sky and wall to wall sunshine which, as the plot faces due south, hit us full-on. It was almost (that's, almost) shirt-off weather. Days like this remind me why I have an allotment. It's my own bit of land to work, deeply rooted in my family agricultural background.

My dad was a farm labourer and in winter after school I was straight into the byre for evening milking. Although the byre had electricity, for the milking machines, for some reason (probably parsimony) it was lit by hurricane lamps and Tilley lamps. I can still see the soft glow of the hurricane lamps and the altogether fiercer light of the Tilley's, and remember the hissing sound they made.

The first house I can remember living in was lit entirely by paraffin lamps (and the toilet was an earth closet at the end of the garden). These lamps were a design classic - the Aladdin lamp, which was a staple of isolated homesteads across the USA and England throughout the first half of the 1900s. My parents kept theirs and used it regularly until they had central heating installed, because it was a source of heat as well as light. I still have it and it still works (very useful in power cuts!).

Anyone else got/used/seen an Aladdin lamp?

1 comment:

Frankie @ Veg Plot said...

Can I have some for my soil? It's frozen solid!