It's just after lunch down the allotment and it's empty... wet and empty. Thanks to the bad weather it's been practically deserted each time I've been down since November. I met one fellow allotmenter in December, both of us rushing to plant onion sets or garlic just before Christmas but today it's just a small fox with half a tail for company but even it scarpers as I approach.
I know there isn't supposed to be much sign of life in January but it's depressingly barren. The loganberry sits in its own grey pool of rain water, the green manure that looked like a mini fern forest in November has been hammered to a brown pulp by the snow.
Some of the onion sets are sprouting but seem to be pushing themselves entirely out of the ground. I tuck each one back into their muddy beds ... it's far too soon for them to be getting up.
Only the Bright Lights Chard seems to be carrying on regardless... little shocks of seaside rock pink, ruby and lemon curd poking out from underneath rotting leaves.
I grew it, but didn't eat any last year. A bunch made it as far as home before wilting, forgotten at the back of the fridge. I return to it now in the absence of any other edible thing on the plot and manage to forage about 13 pieces beforing making the walk of shame to the supermarket to buy a cabbage to bulk out the chard in a bowl of winter greens. I'm half way to self-sufficiency at least.