And this is what greeted me when I drove down next morning.
Immediately I could think of all sorts of gross and heinous punishments for those that did it. First beat them to an inch of their lives, then a public disemboweling with blunt secateurs, maybe some boarding in comfrey tea to make them see the error of their ways followed by a light spot of weeding clearing the entire allotment site of stinging neetles using their teeth by way of redemptive community service.
No doubt I was reacting in the usual way of all victims - a sense of violation, followed by anger and the desire for revenge.
Anyway I reported it to the police (I didn't expect much but was very impressed with their response and an officer came to visit the site later that day) and a fire service investigator came also, both interested in logging the incident to see if there is any pattern in the area.
What I did learn is it's very unlikely, almost impossible, that the lawn mower stored in the shed would have self combusted. Even filled with petrol there wouldn't have been enough oxygen in the tank and the heat would have had to have been intense and 'just right' to set it off.
Ignition by persons unknown is what's going down in the official report and I'm now the proud owner of a 'C' number on which my insurance company will pay up - er, that's if I had any insurance.
The Pilgrim Rose climbing up the shed side is charred but I'll see if it grows back - perhaps the roots weren't fried. The lawn mower is a burnt out shell and all the tools are gone, including my father's, which though I seldom used were always a reminder.
The good thing is that the growing area, protected by netting and a wooden cage escaped unharmed. So we've had a set back and the allotment for the time being doesn't seem the bucolic place it was, but we are still growing.
Still, keep the right attitude. Cup of tea anyone?