The man with the allotment
My Dad told me this story years ago. I can’t remember the names of the people involved so I’ll make up some names so that in a few years time when James and Emma are a little bit older they will be able to read a story from their Grandad.
It happened sometime in the 1930’s when my dad was a boy and happened in one of the villages around Fakenham in Norfolk. You have to imagine the broad norfolk accents.
It seems there was a man called Old Joe Williams who was an enthusiastic gardener and allotment user. He spent many hours on his allotment tending his vegetables and was so good at it that he won prizes in the local village fete. One year he had won several prizes and he received a visit from the mayors wife on his allotment.
The Mayors wife, Mrs Jackson was quite a prim and proper lady, noted for being formal in her dealings with people. They passed a few pleasantries and Mrs Jackson commented on the fact that they were quite a way from the village. She asked about how Old Joe managed because they were so ‘out in the wild’. He said that the allotment had all he needed and he could easily spend all day pottering about etc. Mrs Jacksom however persisted and pressed hm,
‘But how do you go to the toilet ?’
Old Joe explained that there was a toilet on the allotment and asked the mayors wife if she would like to see. It seemed that Mrs Jackson was probably pushing the conversation in that direction because she did want to go so she agreed and Old Joe led her to the rather basic facilities.
There was a small square shed with a shabby wooden door and a latch. In the middle of the door was a diamond shaped hole, presumably used to check occupancy. She was about to enter when she realised with horror that there was no way to secure the door. She turned to Old Joe and said,
‘but Mr Williams, there’s no lock ‘.
To which Old Joe replied
‘well missus, I’ve been here 30 years and I’ve never known anyone want to pinch anything from it ‘ !!