A monthly column in the summer months by freelance artist Carol Parker.
First some good news: I’m not being evicted from my allotment... phew. The letter from South Holland District Council telling me off for keeping my plot in a ‘state of disrepair’ was soon sorted with a quick strim of some grass. Shame the same prompt attention can’t be given to the forlorn and neglected old sorting office in Spring Gardens – pot calling kettle black comes to mind.
I’m now back on track after my hols with one goal – to muster enough muscle power in my right arm to start my petrol mower.
The allotment is being very generous this year, especially the fruit cage. I’ve harvested bucketfuls of blackcurrants and strawberries and this month the raspberries and loganberries are the stars. With the red gooseberry bushes in my garden being just as productive, it just had to be jam!
My now fully stocked kitchen dresser contains a varied assortment of jammy delights: strawberry with six gooseberries (the first to ripen), mixed berry and a handful of blackcurrants (the last few from the bushes), blackcurrant cement (not sure what went wrong with this one!) and strawberry coulis jam (more pectin required). It would seem I make jam like I garden; randomly, and without order.
But hey, they’re all edible even though some will slide off your toast while others require a hammer and chisel to remove from the jar.
On my plot dahlias grow happily with artichokes and my favourite teasel and cardoons protect the sweetcorn from fierce winds; it may look unorthodox but there’s a purpose to the madness.
I’m very busy on the work front too, with lots of meetings and funding applications to submit and new projects to begin… and I need to fit another holiday in somehow, plus a wedding and christening.
On August 24 my allotment plot will host an art project by Carole Miles and Jo Dacombe called ‘Forward Footing’. The aim is to use creative interventions to encourage people to get walking – read more at undiscoverednetworks.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/announcing-our-new-project-forward.html
I’m continuing creative sessions for those with early stage dementia, working in partnership with Boston Mayflower Ltd. Really looking forward to delivering the sessions fortnightly from September.