NOSTALGIA: Gardening was more than just a hobby

Malcolm Wheatman

Malcolm Wheatman

First published in News

Malcolm Wheatman, 83, of Kendal, recalls tales from the wartime allotment

MY MOTHER always complained that my father spent too much time working on his allotment in Helme Drive.

He had been gassed and wounded in the First World War and must have been a long way short of 100 per cent fit.

To add to her anxiety he had taken over the vacant allotment of a neighbour, who had recently died.

One day her feelings got the better of her and she went down to the allotment at the bottom of the drive to stop him working too hard and bring him back home for a rest.

When she got there she found him sitting on a low wall, the dividing line between the allotments and the adjacent house at the back of the drive, and talking to Mrs Gudgeon, the lady of the house.

She had made him a pint mug of tea. She informed my mother that they would spend many an hour chatting this way, weather permitting.

My mother did not know whether to be upset or relieved, but she must have been gratified that he was getting some rest from working the double plot.

To add insult to injury, she saw that to ease the sharpness of the top of the limestone wall, he was sitting on an embroidered cushion she had made especially for him to use in his easy chair by the fire and for some time had been wondering where it had gone.

To add to my father’s gardening workload we had a large back lawn which during the war he turned into a vegetable patch. All these gardening activities were in addition to having a full-time job as a country postman.

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