How do you prefer your foxes? As art, or the real thing?
Whoever painted the fox in the picture below has obviously had a real life encounter. I couldn't believe how similar it was to the photo I'd taken a few days earlier at the allotment.
As we arrived at the plot today the fox was trotting up the far side, just a bed's width away. It seemed to be grinning. I felt a bit less well disposed towards it when I discovered a neat little calling card of fox's poo in the grass.
One of the things I love most about growing things is how your vision becomes concentrated on life at ground level. That little patch of soil that you're digging or hoeing assumes an intimate topography. And it's all too easy to down tools and start taking pictures.
Since our plot is right beside the single access road in the site, and fairly near the entrance, most people pass by us on their way to their plot. I know they're saying that it's little wonder that woman still has a weedy patch to dig over and no seeds sown yet - there she is again, taking a photo of the ground, for heaven's sake, or a weed...
There's life stirring at the allotment site. Not just the glorious May blossoming of cow parsley and geans, or the perky rows of onions and emerging potatoes, but community life. Many sites have a bustling social life - not so ours. Immediate neighbours chat with each other, 'hellos' are exchanged as people pass to and fro on the road in to the site, but that's about it. Now, in the climate of diminishing council spending, there are stirrings of self-help: discussions about the communal strimmer; should we build communal compost bins for weeds, since the council won't; what about painting the site toilet. And as an off-shoot, if you'll pardon the pun, making time to get to know each other a bit and enjoy our common haven.
We had a get together at the very end of April. What better than to sit in the sunshine, serenaded by a blackbird, and make plans? And eat some cake. A few decisions were made, but that wasn't so much the point as to start getting people together.
And there's something particularly cheerful for me about the Union Jack fluttering from the site hut. I'm fiercely proud to be Scottish, but I'm also British and would like to remain so. Still, who knows - if Scotland were to become independent, perhaps Sir Sean Connery, that ardent supporter of the independence cause, would return from Switzerland to live here...
So many photos backed up, so many aching muscles from working at the plot, so few blog posts... It's the hungry gap in my blog world. Just to redeem myself quickly, here's the new bed as at Sunday, with the Anya potatoes coming through.
And just as forecast, we had frost this week, as the potato foliage shows.