Sheila and her previous husband (widowed in 2007), had a nearby allotment for 27 years. After my marriage to Sheila, and with us both liking the allotment as a place of production, relaxation, and refuge, we decided to upgrade it. Being Irish by birth, I naturally loved new spuds with butter and considered a plate of new spuds, a meal in themselves, but had never grown any vegetables. Being the best cook I have ever met and the maker of delicious homemade jam, it made common sense to allocate the flower and shrub responsibility to myself while Sheila took a 'learn-on-the-job' approach to all the vegetables and the fruit.
We had to flag the allotment to make it safe for me to walk around after I fell a few times on the uneven ground. Our three-year improvement project is now complete. Sheila has become an expert vegetable and fruit grower and we have around one dozen varieties of new potatoes which will take us and our neighbours up to Christmas, plus every type of fruit apart from strawberries. I am pleased with over one hundred roses that surround our plot, along with dozens of clematis.
I must add, however, that the vast bulk of the required labouring, has had to be taken by my lovely wife Sheila over the past 18 months since I have had six cancer operations and forty sessions of radiotherapy. She is a woman and a half is my Sheila and apart from loving her to bits, I am extremely proud how she has developed into Haworth's finest flag layer, gardener, fruit grower, spud specialist, barrower of soil, and all-round partner. I must admit that I have taken naturally to becoming the overseer.
Thank you, Sheila Forde, for making my heaven on earth possible. It reminds me of my deceased mother whose favourite flower was the rose, and my grandfather Fanning from Portlaw, County Waterford, (whose house I was born in), and who grew nothing but spuds and cabbage in his back garden. In short, our allotment, with its grotto, roses, and spuds is my part of the green Ireland I love.
Love and peace Bill x