I didn't really feel like doing a "May at the Allotment" post this month. It had been so wet and dreary, plus I was beset by a feeling, which was quite annoying.
Honestly, I don't spend much time on social media, so I've never had fear of missing out (FOMO for any readers under 30), or comparison envy. I don't post selfies because I don't need validation of how I look from strangers, and I certainly don't need criticism from the same either.
Twitter is where I post work stuff, Instagram gets random pictures of bugs, pebbles and trees, Facebook is where I get updates from the allotment group about any spare plants or pallets going free. Mostly I try not to let the endless noise get to me.
Nevertheless this feeling persisted.
It took me some time to work out what was triggering it.
And when it did, I was annoyed with myself. I had fallen for the oldest trick in the book. I WAS comparing myself.
Not to ridiculous eye brows, body shapes that will never be mine, or fancy-schmancy goods that I would simply break or lose or give away. Oh no, I was comparing my allotment, finding it wanting and then stomping around in a black mood when I reached my own plot and it didn't match what was coming through the screen. Plot holder envy had taken hold of me.
I was following people who had been plotting for a lot longer, or who had more spare time than I had, or who had decided to make a career out of their allotmenting escapades, chasing compost (peat-free) sponsorship deals and adding the hashtag #blessed to their posts.
Seriously, no # makes me want to boke quite as much as #blessed.
That aside, good for them. More power to their green fingers, their greenhouses and their green Hunter wellies. I sincerely wish them well but I'm not following them any more.
My plot, as much as it is my happy place, is my hobby. Being there should be an exercise in pleasure and enjoyment, not dissatisfaction and malaise. There is no point comparing it with others because I don't have the time, resources or skills that they do. Everyone works to their own abilities, paces and times.
It is still, despite progress this year, half covered in scrubby grass, with a tangled mess of fallen elder and knotweed the council are steadfastedly trying to pretend doesn't exist at the end of it. I am still learning, learning all the time, making my own slow progress without greenhouse or polytunnel.
And things, other than grass, grow. Tomatoes, Japanese wineberries, courgettes, spinach, beans, peas, pumpkin, potatoes, beetroot, raspberries. At home we have sweetcorn, strawberries and runner beans. Waiting patiently for me to build the brassica cage are purple sprouting broccoli, sprouts, kale.
Today I brought home with me a tiny first bouquet of sweet peas, nigella, cosmos, lavender and daisies. The smell is amazing. While I was up there, I paused in the act of strimming and watched the bees in the wild oregeno, the crickets bounce away from me.
It's still good here.
Begone feeling. I'm not giving you brain space any more.