Tuesday, 28 April 2020

recovering from toxic allotment in the shadow of Tannadice

Glad to say that I'm making a full recovery from the very negative experience of having a 10 pole plot for 3 months at Clepington Gardens Allotments Association (established 1865), Arklay Street, Dundee, on land owned by the William Neish Trust, managed by a Committee, Chair and Treasurer Joe (don't know his surname) from Muirhead, Secretary Ann Coull from Birkhill.
It was Secy Ann who showed me round the empty plots available at this Allotments on 14 January and I chose this one since it needed no work on shed or greenhouse.  Ann did ask me if I could build a shed, showed me inside hers where I also met Donna who I thought was her wee sister.  I said No but I had sons who could help me fix stuff.  They had shown me some other plots with greenhouses which had broken glass, weeds or grass everywhere, this number 77 was by far the best on offer to me. 

after choosing this plot 77 on 14Jan20
I signed plot agreement and paid £170 for shed greenhouse to Chair/Treasurer Joe on 18 January, meeting his wife Kathy.  Then I paid another £90 for rent and £40 deposit for fence gate key. So £300 in total for the year on this plot.

Saturday 18 January 2020, first day on my plot
I will be writing about these 3mths in detail, all the work I did to dig over the 10 pole plot, at some point.  I worked very hard, at the allotment most days, sowed trays of seeds in greenhouse, got my oldest son to start fixing the leaky roof, my middle son and his wife helped dig some ground and my youngest son visited the most, in solidarity.

For the first 2 months or so it seemed to go well although I did hear stories from a neighbouring female gardener about issues on the allotment, women having their space invaded, including screws loosened on her greenhouse door.  I listened to these stories, took them at face value, and on one occasion went to visit a community garden at which this woman also had a plot.

She was keen on me taking a plot there at Foxglove Community Garden but I had enough to do at number 77.  I heard stories of another woman gardener who got into a relationship with a fellow male plotter which ended badly and she got SLUT written on her shed, a vulnerable woman with alcohol issues, so I was told.

I listened to these stories, taking them at face value, although I had no bother at this point on the allotment, it was winter, quiet, hardly anyone gardening, just a few stalwarts.  However soon this was to change, with spring approaching, and before too long my space was being invaded and I had to put a screen on my greenhouse window, 10 March.

9 March no screen:

Very useful that I took many photos around this time as I didn't tweet about the Secretary Ann Coull coming into my plot, looking in my window, univited. I did get a shock, was drinking Diet Coke at the time, could have been doing anything. The path is to the left of the window so I didn't see her approaching.  Before this my son did say that maybe I should put net curtains up but I didn't think that anyone would look in when I was there.  I take many photos so what I was growing was transparent to anyone wanting a look. 

Another male committee member Bruce came down to my plot, on the path, introduced himself, invited me up to see his garden, maybe March sometime, didn't tweet about it so can't pin the date.  He opened my gate, it was probably before screening my window but not sure, and I went with him uphill to his plot where he spoke of various topics, including going for a Dementia test.

I just listened to this 69yr old man who said he'd worked in South Africa, similar to another older male gardener who I'd spoken to on 13Feb on way to visit Foxglove Community Gardens with a female gardener, passing by his plot to gate on Sandeman Street.  So that was 2 former Scottish gardeners at Clep Ass who spent time working in South Africa.  A coincidence.  Bruce said his grandson was taking on the plot down from his, I thought probably because of his dementia.

However a week or two later I heard from my fellow female gardener that Bruce's test for Dementia was negative.  I assume she must have asked him, for I'd told her about it, also Secretary who doubted that he had it, even before he went for the test.  I thought it odd that one appointment could confirm whether someone had or didn't have Dementia, thought it would take a number of tests to find out.  

Och well, another mystery.

Then on 2 April I got sworn at and bullied by Committee Member Shug when walking around the allotments looking at water barrels because the water hadn't been turned on, yet I'd been told by Secretary in the January that it would be March.  


After the bullying episode during Lockdown social distancing measures it became increasingly difficult at the Clepington Gardens Allotments Association, eventually being invaded with bags of faeces, urine at shed door, screws taken off gate and glass in the onions I planted.  It became unsafe to grow any vegetables and I determined to only grow flowers, however I got letters purportedly from Secretary Ann Coull, the final 3rd one telling me to exit the allotment by 19 April, giving me a week's notice to do so.  I moved everything by Saturday 18th, taking everything by car day by day back to Springfield.

It was very tiring.  Glad to have survived the flit, managed to buy two poly greenhouses from Lidl in Dundee, to help with protecting seedlings and plants.  Hardest thing was moving ceramic pots of plants, heavy lifting, my son helping me with transporting hybrid bike back home.  That was a priority, didn't want damage done to it.

20 March photos taken in allotment shed

Selection of photos from the flit 13-18 April, Tannadice to Springfield:

notice I put up 13Apr before receiving letter from Secy telling me to leave plot
my first reaction was to tear up the letter

But my son wasn't happy with me staying on at the toxic allotment plot so I retrieved torn up letter from our grey bin, pieced it together so my son could read it.  I exited the plot by Saturday 18 April then sent two texts to Donna, partner of Secretary Ann Coull, and to Ann herself when I found notepaper with her mobile phone number on it, in my purse where I'd put it 14 January 2020.

Donna had texted me 15 January about allotment plot after I'd met with her partner/sister Ann and her the day before. So I had both mobile numbers of Ann and Donna although have never used them since then until 18 April:

No response to my texts.  Another unheaded/no address or contact details letter by post dated 18 April, received 21 April.  Which could have been written by anyone, I suppose.

Social distancing rules so I won't be going back to the allotment.  When they give me my money back then I shall send my keys to Chair/Treasurer of Clepington Gardens Allotments Association.

In the meantime I will be raising complaints about Ann Coull, Secretary, and her partner Donna, with the Allotment landowners, the William Neish Trust, c/o Miller Hendry Solicitors, Dundee.

Allotments Fence Application to Dundee City Council 2010, Harry Tosh Agent/Gardener

details of William Neish Trust, owners of Allotments land

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

'Off the post new look for Tannadice matchday stalwart' 16May11 @thecourieruk

Kris Miller, Courier, 15/05/11. Picture today at Clepington Allotments, The allotments are getting a new fence!!! Harry Tosh (left) and Alexander Gauld beside the old one. See Andy Argo for story.

Kris Miller, Courier, 15/05/11. Picture today at Clepington Allotments, The allotments are getting a new fence!!! Harry Tosh (left) and Alexander Gauld beside the old one. See Andy Argo for story.