Robins put a stop to my planting

It is fairly typical of me that I decided to go and work on my allotment on the day that we had the heaviest rain of the year so far. But having spent the morning delivering leaflets for the local elections and got a good soaking, I felt that there was little point in trying to dry out. What harm could a little more rain do?

So, I grabbed the food waste bucket, put the leads on the dogs, bundled them into the car and set off for my little patch of greenery with grim determination and if I am honest a happy heart.

The rain gets heavier

As I parked the car the rain intensified. The dogs were very reluctant to get out, Lilly the Collie gave me her ‘you have to be joking look’ until I showed her her plastic stick and then she was bouncing and raring to go. The Gabster my Romanian rescue just had that look of resignation that she wears when the possibility of biscuits seems remote and far away.

We squelched our way onto the allotments, clambering over several fence panels that been torn down and flung onto the path by the wind and soon reached Plot 45.

I managed to undo the lock and untie the cable that secures the gate while holding onto the dogs and then pushing the gate open, we squeezed in.

It all looked a bit grim, the patches that I had cleared a month ago had become overgrown again, but two of the fruit bushes that I had planted at the beginning of the year seemed to be doing okay. Of course, if they bear any fruit then the birds will get them first, but I am happy with that as their need is greater than mine.

The best-laid plans

The plan, because there was a plan, was to plant another fruit bush. I had acquired it a couple of months ago and it was still resting in a large container inside its tough black plastic bag next to the shed, but under a wooden canopy out of the rain.

I selected a spade and dug a hole in what I thought was a suitable location and prepared the ground ready for the bush. Then heading off back to the shed, I picked up the bag and carried it to the hole. I lifted the bush out and was about to give it a shake when I noticed what at first, I thought was mould growing on the side of the root bowl.

Imagine my surprise!

However, I quickly realised that it was not a lump of mould but a robin’s nest and inside the perfectly formed and beautifully built structure were four little robins. They did not move but I could see four pairs of eyes staring back at me. They looked as if they were close to fledging, as they had feathers and there was very little down on them.

For a moment I froze. The only sound was the rain falling steadily on me, the ground and now the little robins. I became aware that the parents were around as I could hear their alarmed and panicked calls. Luckily the dogs had not cottoned on.

Carefully I placed the bush back in the bag and carried it back to the container by the entrance to the shed. I settled it back down as best and as far as I could and then carefully replacing the spade in the shed, I beat a hasty retreat.

I watched for a few minutes. I felt upset and annoyed. What possessed me to go and try and plant the wretched thing in this heavy rain.

An adult Robin cautiously flicked from branch to a post near to the shed. I decided that I had caused enough disturbance for one day and returned to the car with the dogs.

So that put paid to any thoughts of working on my allotment for the rest of the day or indeed the weekend.

Apart from the unwanted attention of the world’s worst gardener, the adult robins had chosen a warm snug and relatively safe place for their nest. I will pop down on a day or two and see if they have left the nest. Fingers crossed for them.

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