Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Stockport: the allotment gig

After Sheffield, we drove over to Stockport, through Glossop, a town of two-up, two-down houses and posh little shops, and through the Peaks, strangely claustrophobic deep-dimpled hills that are covered in densely grassed and heathery vegetation and lidded with grey clouds.
Adrian was waiting for us outside the Blue Cat, and he directed us to the magical world of allotmentdom. Each plot was a flower and vegetable portrait of its owner: some were neat and tidy with everything growing in lines and squares, and some were wild and bushy, with raspberries peeking out from the tousled weeds and calling 'Help!' in weak voices.
There was a wide grassy strip down the middle that was to be the source of the action.
Adrian had already lined up florist's buckets full of yellow, orange and red dahlias to give away. The stage was backed by banana trees whose leaves had been shredded into ferny shapes by the high winds earlier in the week. Orange-ribbed chard grew down one side of the 'stage', and it was fronted by a mass of pink and orange dahlias.
We met Brian, Adrian's friend who made us tea in his camper van and played tea-chest bass for Martin after his own busking set. The teenagers sat on bales of compressed yellow straw which had been lined up in front of the stage. Food appeared, and people appeared with it, and started to eat it.
It was cold and breezy, but jolly and warm-spirited. Eliza P came with her partner, and they had wisely brought a flask of hot coffee. My fingers were so chilly when I played that I resolved to write special songs for future cold-finger days. It was lovely to play and sing amongst all those flowers and teenagers, who weren't even sulking (the teenagers, not the flowers), Everyone was really friendly and Martin was on form, getting a gaggle of teenagers at the back to take their hands out of their pockets, who then had to stand there for an hour with their arms hanging awkwardly beside them, in case he noticed them putting them back in their pockets again! One father had his children piled up on him as he stood there, and looked like a sort of human totem-pole. People won prizes- bunches of flowers and boxes of vegetables and home-made chutney and jam.
Adrian spends a year making sure the allotments are prepared for this one afternoon, and it was a completely unique experience in a beautiful environment.
The photo in the last posting was sent by Adrian and I'll upload some of my own tomorrow.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks and sounds lovely, but I still haven't worked out exactly where the allotment was, possibly Mellor or Hadfield? I dunno... sounded like it was a great gig anyway...

10:40 PM  
Blogger Helen McCookerybook said...

I've been looking for the leaflet but I can't find it! It was 'High...something' Any idea where that could be? It was on top of a hill, about five minutes drive from the Blue Cat

9:44 AM  
Blogger Helen McCookerybook said...

And there are some bits on Youtube (my one's dreadful, as I had such cold fingers I could hardly play)
Look for 'Plot 20'

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plot 20 is at Priestnall Allotments on Laurel End Lane, Off Mauldeth Road, Stockport.

Call by for free flowers or whatever is in season. Chrysanthemums and Dahlias at the moment, coloured Gourds later, Daffs and Tulips in Spring and so on. It is an obsession growing and giving away flowers. You can catch me on the lotty most Sunday mornings and summer evenings too.

Helen, sorry about the temperature, I hardly notice it myself. February, now that can be cold, but with the winter digging it doesn't last long and with a warm winter soup waiting when I get home it is almost enjoyable to get cold.


6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed, February in Stockport is proper brass monkey weather. I used to work nights and have fond memories of coming home at 11 ish one night and finding my way home by the glow of the snow on the ground...

High Lane? but Adrian's description didn't sound like High Lane...

1:24 PM  

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