Back in January we applied to the local council for an allotment and received the exciting news at the beginning of the last week that one had become available. After making an appointment with the site manager to go and see the plot last Wednesday we came away brimming with excitement and full of ideas.
We are planning to keep it pretty old school by planting fairly traditional crops directly into the earth rather than making raised beds -which look very pretty but offer us no advantage. The crops we have discussed thus far includes kale, carrots, potatoes, broccoli and a mix of culinary and medicinal herbs etc, crops that my maternal Granddad would have easily recognised.
My Grandad was a gentle man and a gentleman, who was also a keen veg grower. Occupying a corner spot, my Grandparents house had a generous garden in which to grow things. The garden to the front was full of pretty flowers and shrubs, while in the larger side garden cabbages and kale stood in precision rows like a troops on parade. It was here, in this garden that my Grandad thought it would be a wheeze for my sister, Deb and me to take photos of cabbage patch dolls amid the cabbages (Sadly I couldn’t find those photos). At the rear, beans and peas covered cane supports, which to our youthful imaginations were teepees in which we would sit and play.
I digressed somewhat there didn’t I! Our hoped planting for the allotment isn’t born simply out a romanticised nostalgia for (my) childhood but more practically, it’s a reflection of the vegetables that we eat in quantity. Although our allotment is a half plot – approximately 5 metres wide by 26 metres long- there is still plenty of scope for growing and we hope that by next year that between the greenhouse at home and the allotment we will be growing a good proportion of our food. Until then of course we have our veg box from Riverford Organics, with whom we a really impressed.
I’ve been feeling good lately……really good. I’m brimming with energy, expansive of heart and mind and throwing myself into the projects I’ve been intending to do for ages. I’ve really been enjoying getting back into research and have started ploughing through my (unfinished) PhD on the influence of folk song and ballads on Pre-Raphaelite visual and literary culture, to see what can be salvaged from the wreckage and turned into something useful. There are some really interesting nuggets in it and what I’m now trying to decide is; do I turn what I have into a book; produce a series of articles for journals, or and this is the big one do I consider returning to university to complete it? Either way it’s all pretty exciting to think about.
I’m also underway planning a book about holistic living. It started as a recipe book but has grown organically into something broader that takes in my triumvirate of home, health and the arts. For as long as I can remember all the things that constitute a healthy, happy and sustainable home has been at the centre of my existence. I have shelves full of household manuals, cookery books and art and design books (vintage and modern) and call it synchronicity or a zeitgeist but everything seems to have come together right now for me to start work on something of my own.
I suddenly feel like I’ve got an awful lot to say and share.
Speaking of things to share; while I was sorting through boxes of notebooks I found one full of poetry that I wrote between 1995 -2003. Although much of it is pretty amateurish, there are odd ones that although not literary masterpieces -I’m no Christina Rossetti or Emily Bronte, that’s for sure- have some merit. I found the following, written in July 1998 and think it has a nice, bright atmosphere to it.
From earth to root
through trunk to heart,
a net of esoteric whisper
pulsing in the quickened dark,
weaves the breath of the awakened.
From heart to branch
through twig and sap,
rising to a leafy mantle
flows the light of the enchanted one,
glowing bright, within the dark.
Love and Light