I was lucky to be allocated an allotment with 2 apple trees, 2 gooseberry bushes and a series of well trained blackberry bushes. In addition, the previous tenant had left a large quantity of old timbers. The plot had potential, but it needed some character and some tlc



Bottom of Allotment February 2008Middle of allotment February 2008Top of Allotment February 2008

Having acquired the allotment in February 2008 I started to organise the plot and used the old timber to make a number of raised beds. Once I got organised I started to plant some basic vegetables, but then things took a surprising turn. The 2 gooseberry bushes looked uncared for, but they produced a large quantity of berries as did the blackberries later in the season, Many years before I had made my own wine from concentrates and having shown an interest in winemaking, my father gave me his old wine kit and books. With such a bumper crop of fruit I invested in a freezer and put thoughts of homemade wine to one side. My first season ended with a variety of vegetables being produced and the plot looking a little better than it did 6 months earlier.

Bottom of Allotment May 2008Middle of allotment May 2008Top of Allotment May 2008

In January 2009 I dug out my Dad’s wine book and set about making my first batch of wine. Because of the large quantity of fruit I made 4 gallons of blackberry followed by 4 gallons of gooseberry. Whilst waiting for the wine to mature I started to plan the allotment for the coming season. Knowing that I could rely on my good friend Steve Allot to help me with any DIY required I scoured the internet for a second hand wooden green house. During my search I came across a second hand summer house and my mind went into overdrive, especially when the seller lived close to where I had found my green house.


We had to cut down an old apple tree to accommodate the greenhouse and we had to heavily prune the other apple tree to be able to site the summerhouse under its branches.

A pattern developed of me and Steve having a night out in Grimsby on a Friday followed by a cooked breakfast on the Saturday morning in readiness for some work on the allotment. Within no time at all, the old apple tree was felled and a wooden greenhouse installed, soon followed by the heavy pruning of the 2nd apple tree and installation of a summerhouse underneath


Bottom of Allotment July 2009Middle of allotment July 2009Top of Allotment July 2009

With such a transformation it became a pleasure to visit my allotment, especially when I could stay behind on an evening and watch the sun set from my summerhouse. It was on one such evening that I first sampled my gooseberry wine and my sparkling elderflower champagne. I would like to think it was the clarity and flavour that affected me, rather than the alcohol content....but sat there on that summers evening I knew I had discovered a whole new way of living. I also knew that I wanted to be a full time grower, forager and maker of wine and that I needed a new home and new environment in which to fulfil that dream.


So with a big thank you to Steve Allott for helping me in Grimsby I was homeward bound to Bridlington and to Priory Cottage.