I decided some months ago to give up my allotment - it was becoming more and more of a chore, the plot was too big and I often hadn't the time or energy to work it all, and the last two springs the weather, ill-health or just general busyness meant that I got off to a bad start. But the real tipping point was vandalism. Despite being at the "safer" end of the site, my shed was broken into several times - tools were stolen (though later dumped elsewhere on the site - no doubt after being used to damage someone else's plot), but mostly they just trashed the place, trampling plants and fences and throwing things about. After the second time it happened I spent every walk or ride up to the site worrying about what I would find, and something that should have been all about relaxation was suddenly a huge cause of stress.
Having realised that if I was going to hand back my plot I'd have to clear out the shed and remove any plants I wanted to keep, Mr. B. and I headed up there on Monday afternoon - only to find the worst vandal attack yet: the waterbutt tipped over, someone else's spade dumped in one of the beds and every pane of glass in the shed and coldframe smashed. There was much swearing - the pointlessness of it absolutely enraged me - but by the time I got home again I just wanted to cry. I can't help but despair of a society where people have so little regard for each other that they will destroy property purely for their own amusement (nothing was taken, so I can't think why else anyone would have done it.)
I have carried home my tools, and the fruit trees my grandparents bought me for my birthday, and the herbs I grew from cuttings from my dad's garden, and after this week I won't be going back there. And after this week, I'll be glad of that.
It is not my intention to put anyone off allotment gardening with this post - this is just my experience. I hope - and expect - that the vast majority of allotment holders have a far more positive experience than this. Indeed, I've had some wonderful times on my plot, it was my bolt-hole, my little piece of green when I lived in the centre of the city, and I'm sure it saved my sanity on more than one occasion!