The Allotment


Between leaving Brisbane and heading off to our next adventure we had the opportunity to help out on Culmer’s allotment in Broadstairs. Of course I couldn’t just help out I also had to make some stop motion movies as well!

Green House

Putting up a new green house, even though we managed to put the roof on upside down!

Movie252 – Building a Greenhouse from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.

The second movie is a week later where we covered the building making it ready for growing things…

Movie261 – Covering the Greenhouse from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.

Clearing the Allotment

I took on a small project of digging over and getting a currently overgrown piece of land on the community plot ready for use. Although I thought it would only take me a month it actually took closer to three (Not that much different from game development really) and was completed over 18 visits.

Day 3

Most of the effort at the beginning was spent removing all the re-usable pieces from the land, this included bricks, planks, pipes, stakes and the dreaded Black Material that was being used to prevent the weeds from taking hold. Just for the record the Black Material is terrible to work with if earth has piled up on top of it.

Movie249 – Allotment 3 from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.

Day 4

Finally the land is clear enough now to allow me to start the digging! I was originally expecting the digging to be the most difficult part of the job but have been pleasantly surprised that digging only requires about half the energy I used clearing the area. For the first time since I started visiting the allotments the sun managed to make an appearance while I worked.

Movie253 – Allotment 4 from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.

Day 5 

It’s a good job no one else was around while I worked, who knows what they would think with me moving very slowly listening for the shutter going on the camera before moving a little bit more.

Movie254 – Allotment 5 from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.

Day 6 & 7 

See if you can spot the join between the two days. The first day was called off after I realised I needed a blade to cut the material and all the ones I had available at the time were blunt and not any good. Have I mentioned that I think the Black Material is evil and it hates me.

Movie256 – Allotment 6 & 7 from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.

Day 8

Time to tackle the small tree today, I’ve been putting it off but today I started hacking at it until it was gone except the buried roots. The pile of branches, twigs, weeds and vines is slowly growing it would be good to get it recycled into compost but Thanet Council don’t do that sort of thing any more so it’s going to be burned!

Movie257 – Allotment 8 from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.

Day 9

After bringing a tree down the next stage is to dig the bloody roots out! Watch out for my magic trick… send me an email if you like it.

Movie258 – Allotment 9 from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.

Day 11

Back to digging again!

Movie263 – Allotment 11 from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.

Day 12

Starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel with this job, and then I start trying to dig over the old raised flower bed and think it might be a few more visits yet.

Movie267 – Allotment 12 from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.

Day 13

This was supposed to be the last day digging, unfortunately when hail starts to fall from the sky I decided that I should quit for the day.

Movie268 – Allotment 13 from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.

Day 14

It has been almost six weeks since the movie above. Just before I made this movie I had made a quick visit to the allotment (without my camera) and had finished the last little bit of digging. So all that is required today is to rake the earth flat and try and remove some of the hills that have formed. What you can’t see in these movies is that the plot of land is on a slope so as the earth settles it has a tendency to slide down the slope.

The entire Culmer’s allotments are built on the bottom of a river bed that dried up about 200-300 years ago. The reason it dried up was that the river entrance to the sea became clogged by sediment creating this small valley of land to drain. With every piece of earth I have dug out of the ground I have been hoping to find all kinds of wonderful relics from that time when the river was used by smugglers, alas though all I have found is the occassional china piece.

Movie289 – Allotment 14 from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.

Day 15

Last day, covering the plot of land with fresh new Black Material so that it can spend the next few months settling and hopefully in summer the good people of the allotments will be able to put it to good use once more.

While I worked on pinning the material down, Karen and Ta’Luli used all the material I had dug up to make a couple of lovely fires. It’s a pity I didn’t have another stop motion camera since it would of been good to have a stop motion of them as well.

Movie290 – Allotment 15 from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.