Harold’s once-proud allotment plots are getting a long-overdue facelift, thanks to the astonishing average age of their owners.
For years, the village allotments have been a draw for the elderly, who pretend to grow potatoes while drinking gin in their sheds.
But with vegetables now widely available in shops, few youngsters see the point in subsistence farming.
“I thought about putting my name on the waiting list”, explained Sean Pavey. “My granddad always said that having a plot could subsidise my income. But it turns out you can’t farm high-value crops such as foie gras, tiger cocks or opium because of ‘bylaws’. Just how much can you save growing a huge, ugly marrow?”
Fortunately for Sean, those same draconian rules did indeed save him a fortune, when his hard-working grandad finally died with his welly-bobs on. Instead of his family wasting their inheritance on a lavish Co-op funeral, an obscure statute from the 1100s allowed them to ‘dig for victory’ where the proud gardener fell.
“It turns out in Harold you can bury people pretty much anywhere”, explained Sean. “It’s something to do with a fertilizer shortage during the 100 Year war we once fought with Dunstable. Now Grandpa Alf can still put his back into his turnips, although we’ve not found anyone yet who’s willing to eat them.”
If anyone has an elderly relative who looks a bit peaky, they can put their names down for a plot with the council. “There was a bit of stampede during the long winter months, but now spring’s here, we’ve got a few openings”, explained Cllr Ron Ronsson.
“Gardening in this way makes sense, given our obesity crisis. Before long, we could all be living off the fat of the land.”