Dear Giles,

I was always under the impression that my allotment was a space of contemplation for me myself and I. But after just a month or so, I realise that I am not alone down on the land - far from it.

So who joins me down on the proverbial 'allotment farm'? First we have a robin, large, overfed, familiar and constant - he goes by the name of Bob and I arrive and he flies instantly in. And I realise I spoil him with worms - but he prefers small ones. Next up we have a blackbird, noisy, pushy, but accommodated by Bob. The blackbird goes by the name of Turpin of course and is a regular visitor and appreciates the larger worms that Bob turns his beak up to.

Then there are the worms of course and although I find them utterly characterless I find myself occasionally hiding under the soil one that is especially large or wriggley before the birds sweep and feast.  Fourth up, and dominant in his presence, but currently unseen by me, is badger. Gender unknown, they are regular at night and largely impervious to my deterrents. I can trace them simply by the footprint, the earth that has been dug and the fact that they can pull open the garden shed door and push over the compost bin.

Next are a pair of mallard ducks - one boy and one girl, they clutch around the pond and are noisy and nervous, but they are regular and curiously characterful. They are currently nameless but that may change soon I think.  And finally, and I suspect part of a larger family currently unintroduced to me is a small green speckled frog whom I found in the wet earth the other day, and returned to the pond.

So there you have it for now - there are others I know and I will document them as I got, but alone on the allotment is a misnomer and in the true style of cousin Robert Bloomfield's children's book "The Birds and Insects Post Office".

Must dash as am behind on the indoor planting of my flowers for the summer.

I am always, your good friend,


(Footnote: Robert Bloomfield was a successful poet of the early 19th century, born in Suffolk, a farm boy himself, before going to London to work as a shoemaker and where he found great success as a poet. His success was builder on his account of the years of a Farmers Boy: Giles. Ed Fordham, is distantly related to Robert Booomfield, and knows well and fondly the local villages of Suffolk, places of Bloomfield's youth).