An allotment expedition, dodging deluges, finds daffodils daring to stick their heads above ground. There is no need to dig for roots as they weren’t the only things standing out. The pounding of rain has removed the lightly chalky soil and parsnips destined for dinner are poking up and pecked.
Alongside erosion of our soil, and supper, structures put up to protect plants are vandalised by weather. On neighbouring plots we witness catastrophic loss, where whirls of wind have upturned sheds and left them on their backs, for dead. Greenhouses lie gutted, their shattered glass shining in the the odd sliver of sun. Fruit cages are thrown into anguished shapes – leaning inland to escape more gusts and gales, and compost containers have crashed and rock and roll, lying helpless on their sides. The splinters and bits of anonymous allotment kit is scattered wide.
Three miles away, 200 feet below, waves are clobbering the coast and carving up sea walls, and floods are flowing in the lower lands. High on the hills we’re not immune from wind and water – as small waterfalls form and wash away the earth.
Allotment plots perched on the Downs face the full force of westerly weather. They are not immune to frequent floods as rain rushes from the heights of Hollingbury Camp. Small waterfalls form on tracks, as rain runs across the newly tarmaced car park, making rivers of our routes, and pouring onto some unfortunate plots. Damns and channels have been dug by gardeners to defend their soil and crops from deluge – a microcosm of the the problem faced by the farmers who grow the rest of our food. A lesson that the water needs to find a way.