Monday 27 May 2013

At Last: A Film That Features Allotments ("Oh what a lonely girl".)

I am starting to miss the premiership on television already.  So yesterday I spent most of the afternoon and night watching the test cricket (why didn't England declare?) 'Britain's Got Talent' and I finally watched Mike Leigh's incredibly complex and moving film:  'Another Year'.

I thought there would be lots of allotment clips but at least we saw a few.  I think there should be much more films about allotments and smallholdings, don't you?  The film also reminded me that allotments are great places to meet other like minded people.  I think smallholding life is good in terms of being able to do what you want on your own land, but it's far too lonely and isolated.  Perhaps Eco villages instead of one off rural housing, is the answer?

Any road.  It was like being a fly on the middleclass allotment tenants ceiling.  Observing the different characters engage in this wonderful British social drama.  Mary (Lesley Mandville) was the sad and often drunken character that couldn't accept middle age and being single.  She was such a mixed up and yet loveable character.

Mike Leigh seemed to poise the question:

"Is anybody actually happy?"

Mary reminded me of the Sandy Thom song:  "Oh what a lonely girl."

Great film and a great song.  Thanks to You Tube and the people who put these videos together for us.


  1. Yes, Eco-villages or settlements would be a very good, nobody can have all the skills needed, and many hands make light work.
    So big advantages with lots of labour available for the jobs that can't be done by one person and mix of skills for the more technical work
    Big downside would be the inevitable personality clashes, it would be difficult to get the right balance of people with the necessary abilities and attitudes.

    It would also be difficult to set up, but with the right people with a range of skills, it could be a very good idea.
    Sadly, it would take a lot of money and time to set up, and the people who could probably make the most of such a lifestyle wouldn't usually have the sort of money required, their ideals and aspirations don't normally revolve around monetary gain.

    "Is anybody actually happy?"
    Difficult one, everybodys idea of happiness is different, and many people aspire to something they haven't got, believing it will make them happy. Often, if and when the achieve their objective, they find it doesn't, and aspire to something else; some people must spend a lifetime chasing such rainbows and never finding anything they feel happy with.
    "The grass always looks greener on the other side" springs to mind, but in my experience it very rarely is.

    Back to winter here today, cold, windy, grey, raining hard. Miserable in fact, and it's less than a month to mid-summers day.
    Raggy cat in early, found a nice warm place on the bed, and Mrs is quite happy, I've been instructed to leave it there. At least it's a very clean little animal, she checks it regular for nasties, and never found a flea of a tick or anything on it.

  2. Thanks Cumbrian for your thoughts. Think if I ever moved anywhere else it would be next to a village with public transport, a community centre, pubs and shops...

    Eco villages do sound a great way of alleviating rural isolation. Think you are right about personality clashes and committees and people on ego trips. I suppose it's OK if you are the person in charge?

    I suppose the same thing could happen if you bought a smallholding with somebody else.

    Been looking at a house internet site called: Just type 25000 Euro and you will be amazed what you can get. Especially around Mayo and Galway. There's lots of smallholding for sale. A caravan and a head full of smallholding dreams would certainly help.

    Think you are right about the pursuit for happiness. I wouldn't like to move back to a town. But I do miss people, pubs, allotments, rock concerts and public transport...

    Showers here. Domino killed a sparrow last night and ate it. I told him off today. But he didn't seem to take much notice. Terrier asleep on sheep (sheepskin rug) next to my computer.


  3. Just had a look at, wish I was 30 years younger.

    Put it in perspective:-
    Just got Full Planning permission on a site for a client, 27m x 32m, about 0.2acre, no other land, services handy enough but not connected, valued and on the market at £100,000 for the plot. Nice enough area, but not really an executive postcode.
    rightmove, postcode CA22, select land, see Wyndham Place Egremont.

    Domino's following in Raggy cats footsteps, it fetches us the occasional sparrow. Sad I know, but you won't stop him. Terrier sounds very sensible. Raggy cat come in, wet and bedraggled, asleep in front of fire.

  4. There are lots of rural property/sites for sale in Ireland and Europe for incredibly cheap prices, Cumbrian. I went looking at a farmhouse on Saturday, near the Kerry border for less than fifty thousand. It needed too much spending on it. The best thing about buying land in Ireland is it's freehold. So you buy the land which the property sits on. We have also been looking at Finca's in Spain and Portugal. I have even considered buying somewhere in the city. Most apartments have service charges over one thousand five hundred a year. Perhaps if one had a city base and a rural base, you would have the best of both worlds?

    Congrats on the planning. It looks a great rural site.

    They say a dog sleeps 17 hours a day. Don't know how much a cat sleeps.

  5. Be nice to be able to afford a city house and a country house, move between them as weather or whim demand. I think it's only for the rich people though, who don't need to worry about earning a crust. No good if you have stock or even a garden, you can't leave them alone for very long.

    I really wish I was younger, the idea of a country holding has always appealed to me, my first wife refused to have a go, and I'm about past it now.

    Yeah, the Planning took a bit of getting, they're getting more difficult to deal with, all the best sites are built on, and it's just about impossible to build anything in the Lake District. This plot was made from 2 gardens, and used to have a lot of pigeon houses on it. Lovely outlook as you can see, and will never be built in front of, it's a small river just over the road.

    Don't know how long a cat sleeps, Raggy cat goes out about 10:00 pm and is always waiting about 6:00 am, but probably doesn't sleep much. It sleeps best part of the day, wakes up for food and milk then goes out for a while, the comes back and sleeps again. Seems to sleep more in winter.

    Miserable day here again, dull, cold and damp, but no wind or rain.

  6. Hi Cumbrian,

    Thanks for that. I live about sixty miles from Cork city. So if you want to go to see a show or a concert. You have to book an hotel/"room only") for the night.

    I have heard of rural dwellers who have to commute that distance to find work. Most city apartment rents make it impossible to live there. But if you want the work, you have got to go to the big towns and cities. You can't win can you?

    Farming is very time demanding. The dairy farmer seems to have it worst, milking twice a day.

    I often think the price for living somewhere nice is few job prospects and little infrastructure. We have to go over ten miles for a carton of milk or a newspaper.

    I would like to live somewhere warm in winter and here in Summer.

    Domino climbs through the window and curls up on the couch on his beach towel. He's a character like Raggy Cat.


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