“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Monday, 12 July 2010

Continental Allotments.

One of the very best things about train journeys is the opportunity to look into other peoples back gardens and generally see a part of the landscape usually hidden from view. My recent rail trip across France, Switzerland and into Italy was, apart from anything else, a chance to do a bit of peering over the back fence on an international scale and although the passage through the Alpine passes was impressive enough it was the glimpse of other peoples daily lives that was the main attraction for me. One thing that interested me was the allotments. Quite unlike our own utilitarian but slightly scruffy plots the continental version is much more of a leisure garden complete with small chalet. I think I am right in saying that we are the only country in Europe that prevents people from sleeping on their allotment.
The shelves of bookshops are groaning under the weight of lavishly illustrated tomes on how to grow your own veg but very little has been written about the history and politics of the allotment movement. There is one wonderful exception, David Crouch and Colin Ward's The Allotment. Its Landscape and Culture. Available from the usual place I think.

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