J.J.Overton is from Coventry, in England’s industrial West Midlands. He served an apprenticeship as a precision toolmaker, studied mechanical engineering, and is a Freeman of the City of Coventry. He was a director of Grey and Rushton Precision Tools, and subsequently was involved with quality control at Alfred Herbert Machine Tools, Massey Ferguson and Courtaulds Structural Composites.
We have an allotment, and a number of years ago, before the resurgence of interest in growing your own vegetables, our allotment association gave about two hundred plots back to the local council. The area has since been turned into a nature reserve.
A few months ago, number two son, Chris, and I took a walk through the nature reserve. The old plot delineations are still there, vague now and overgrown. Hawthorn hedges, old wooden gates, mostly rotten and holding no interloper out.
Within, with grass almost waist-high, moving in a breeze that is easy to imagine blowing from another time, are places where people tilled the earth and got the good soil under their fingernails, and where smoke from their garden fires curled around and made their eyes water.
It is all there in that place of forgotten allotments. It is a register of lives.
Chris and I walked on and came to one particular plot with hawthorn thick at the base and at least fifteen feet high. Mostly hidden in the undergrowth beyond the hedge was a spade, and with the spade there was a story telling of a grand cycle of people's triumph over the rough soil, and their beautiful ordinariness.
I laid these images down into memory, and when I got home I began to write.

Until next time,
Keep well,

posted by J.J. Overton on September, 18