Wednesday, 9 September 2009


Dispite the gloomy forecast, the weather was actually fine for the big allotments birthday-party picnic this weekend, and everything went - well, better actually - than expected. That morning, under a glowering September sky, Sid, John, Jackie and I had hoisted up a couple of gazebos in case of the odd shower, and later that afternoon, over a hundred allotment-holders and villagers turned out bringing hampers, rugs, bags, rucksacks - and in one case, a picnic in a wheelbarrow - to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the oldest allotments in the country.

The birthday itself had actually been a couple of weeks earlier - an even gloomier day, as it turned out. I didn't even go down to the allotments that day, but managed a blustery walk with Brown Dog past the old rectory, where the reverend Stephen Demainbray would have arrived back hot and tired, no doubt, after his long ride from the Angel Hotel in Chippenham where he'd signed the papers which assigned over eight acres of land over in perpetuity to those poor cottagers, parishioners of and residing in Great Somerford otherwise Broad Somerford, due regard being had for the number in family of such poor exactly 200 years ago.

It was a lovely afternoon, and all the better for being quite informal, without any speeches or ceremony, and we ate and drank and talked among the waving trees and fat cabbages until the sun went down.

Cake was shared, sandwiches passed round, someone found some cricket stumps, old friends were remembered and in one case, a friendship of over 30 years was renewed...

I think Stephen Demainbray would have approved.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure Stephen Demainbray would have wiped a small tear from his eye at the sight of such joyful celebrations for those 8 acres. He'd have certainly been glad that his ride from the Angel Hotel hadn't been in vain. Lovely post.