Allotted Time

Robin Shelton

02 March 2007
368 pages


Robin Shelton and his mate Steve were complete neophytes when they decided that having an allotment might save them a bit of money. But what had seemed like a good idea over a couple of beers seemed rather more daunting when faced with a weedy patch of ground. Still, both men were at a crisis point in their lives and the allotment represented their desire to achieve something concrete. They persevered and, despite the weather and confusing advice from their elderly allotment neighbours, managed to plant and grow a successful crop of vegetables.

As he writes about their year in the allotment, Robin describes his own personal journey. When he takes the allotment on he is divorced, broke and suffering from depression. Working on the allotment brings back happy memories of his father, who died when Robin was sixteen, and also draws him closer to his own two sons. Gradually Robin finds stability and a sense of purpose in his life. His and Steve's tale is funny, moving and enlightening - a book for anyone who's ever bitten off more than they can chew, but muddled through anyway.

"Their struggle to plant their crops against the baffling advice of fellow allotment holders is funny and moving. Our heroes finish the year wiser, saner and with an impressive array of veg." Daily Express

"A comforting antidote to the glossy perfection of gardening on the telly." Evening Standard