4 May 2009
Something potentially worrying has happened over the last few years; I’ve turned in to a bloke who trims the edges of his allotment paths every week without fail.
The other day Mrs Nails wandered down to join me on the plot for some quiet rest and relaxation. I was stooped over my long handled edging irons doing the deed in question. Shock, horror, my wife called me “anal!” In some respects she’s dead right. But seeing as she simultaneously observed on how lovely everything down there looked, actually I’m thinking that her second comment was much nearer the point.
As you may or may not know, I’m convinced that tidy edges are one of the biggest inspirations for setting off what goes on behind beautifully and helpful in prompting consistency of labours in the veg patch.
When I was a Groundsman I always kept the paths and boundaries of our parks and open spaces under control. That meant grading the height of vegetation quite artificially, from short close-clipped to ankle height with daisies to knee high and more. In fact, for big municipal areas, having diligently swept and obstruction-free paths regularly tended allowed for far less input amid the wilder places. So plants and animals could thrive, children had an irresistible adventure playground and older folk knew there was no dog’s shit, litter or other signs of uncaring laziness spoiling the communal environment as they travelled (or merely dawdled) from A to B.
The maintenance tactics I adopted democratised the parks because they made everybody welcome and encouraged care and respect from users.
Of course, it’s not like that now in Shaftesbury. The current Groundstaff have little imagination or ideas about how to do their jobs properly and they care even less. Those who should be prompting a change of attitude (town councillors and paid officials) seem unwilling or unable to take action. So we all moan to each other and, as usual, nothing happens. Tourists are let down when they come here and I think that is a real shame.
Back on the domestic plot, my paths welcome me in every time I visit and make me keen to carry on the good work. We all do things our own way, and this is mine.
Copyright, Dirty Nails