Normally, Halloween and ‘Bonfire Night’ are pretty busy events for us coming as they do ‘back-to-back’ on consecutive weekends, but this year things really did get out of hand.The cute little fire.

With it being our tenth anniversary year, we’ve hosted ‘Allotment Soup’ to celebrate, and in doing so, managed to almost complete not one, not two, but three of our ‘wish-list’ projects we’ve seemingly been putting off for years.  These were the composting toilet, the Geo Dome and the wood-fired pizza and bread oven.  Each on its own would have been a major accomplishment to be completed in the time we’d given ourselves, but all three at the same time?  Lunacy!

Also, remember that we’ve grown (..and eaten!..) more than we’ve ever grown this year whilst doing all the above.

So as it stands, the composting urinals are done, thanks largely to the Sheffield University Architecture Students.

The Geo Dome is fully finished -and decorated- thanks largely to Diane’s massive work, along with all the hard work put in by Matt and New Ian along with our friends at Cape UK.  This has now been ‘taken out’ to three local primary schools where smaller versions were successfully built by groups of parents and children who then came down to LEAF and built the ‘Real Thing’ down on our Children’s Plot.  Yes, I’ll get you the photos of it fully built and decorated.

And the pizza oven, as you can see in the photo to the right here, is about 90% of the way there after its first hugely successful firing at the ‘Allotment Soup’ celebrations a couple of weeks ago.  This was done largely by Matt and Jon.

Looking back on all the utter madness of the last few weeks and months, I really have to shake my head in total disbelief.

Having to organize and deliver on all three simultaneously and organize ‘Allotment Soup’?

Mad, bad and seemingly silly.

So, as you can appreciate, yesterday’s ‘Bonfire Night’ celebrations were er, somewhat muted.

Fire lit and burning nicely.Ian (no relation), Diane and myself made a slight modification to the guttering and rainwater collection system on the roofing of our new toilets, then Ian and I dragged out this little hand-built stove from its secure storage and decided to fire it up for the first time.

We were given this little beauty by our welder friend down the road who so kindly helps us out when we get broken in to and sorts out the locks on our metal shed.  Every few months, some bright sparks decide that because we’ve got such a good security system on that shed, we must have something worth stealing.

We haven’t, but lets not go down that road right now.

Anyway, he’d built this stove for a customer who for some reason didn’t want it, and we gratefully accepted it, and its been sat for at least a couple of years gathering dust.

Yesterday we decided that we’d finally fire it up and see what it could do.There she blows!

Very impressive, we thought!

While we did this, New David and Derek did a valiant job of collecting dead leaves from the banking and from the pavement just the other side then moved barrows and barrows of them into the newly-refurbished leaf clamp up by the top compost bins.

All through the afternoon as Ian and I tested this fire, we had visits from other plot holders and various LEAF members came and went, then Sara came down with her two girls and had brought one of her awesome fruit cakes!

No further excuse needed for us to stop what little work we were doing, put the kettle on and ‘help her out’ by sampling some of this.

Well, we had to.  It would have been very rude to do otherwise!

As I left for the evening, Matt had invited everyone down to his plot where he and Kyle were having a ‘burn’ to get ride of some brambles and rubbish, so a great excuse to go and try out the sparklers.Holly berries.

So Dear Reader, if you were expecting tales of fun and wild abandon, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed this year.

But then don’t despair.

As the photo to the left here reminds me, Christmas is but a few weeks away.