Sibling Rivalry

My sister has an allotment.

I am so jealous. Of all the romantic ideals a life in Britain conjures an allotment is the most seductive. I don’t know why except that we always think we would do better/ be better if we had this or that, grass is greener etc.

I remember a conversation with a friend in uni in which we agreed that we would be more committed students if we were surrounded by romantic stone buildings instead of Brutalist concrete. Our School of Arts was housed in the former dental building and we were as far from the beautiful gardens our campus contained as could be. Luckily I was never given the opportunity to test this theory and managed to get my degree (eventually) despite the uninspiring buildings. I have also since learned to value the of privilege being admitted onto campus when so many are not.

And yet what is life without envy.

I’m sure her plot is no bigger than my back garden and so far allotmenteering has mostly been collecting glass and other rubbish that has been dumped in it by previous tenants. But now the northern hemisphere is awakening and the romance of gardening can begin, assisted by a myriad of television programmes, seed varieties and inspirational gardens to visit.

She was only halfheartedly interested in gardening before, and when she got her allotment I tried to damp down my overwhelming enthusiasm in case it put her off but now she is as bugged as I am. She will inevitably surpass me in dedication and outcomes but it is nice to have a running mate albeit on the other side of the world. She will be planting potatoes when I should be harvesting them and harvesting them when I must remember to get them in the ground. We can have cosy competitions on the size of our carrots and discuss Monty Don’s latest gardening book. She will probably remind me about all the things I should be grateful for, like the weather and onsite facilities, while I remind her of the value of onsite community and experience.

We all have our own patch of ground, metaphorical and not, how we grow it is up to us.

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