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Hello world - how you doing? It's been awhile.

Hello world how you doing?

As I haven’t really been on social media since March last year I thought I’d come back with a bit of an update. As an introvert I found some of the lockdown comforting and quietening, and also unsettling and upsetting at political mismanagement, corruption and the huge unimaginable loss that so many were going through.

As the pandemic grew I withdrew from social media as I just found it far too stressful, and as my physical social world decreased so did my electronic one. I spent days watching the ever increasing demise in political decision making till I suspended my news intake to that of political satirical programmes (at least they made more sense) and the musings of Larry the Downing Street Cat on Twitter.

Both Jules and my work stopped at venues - him sign writing - the work (can I use the word literally in this context?) dried up over night, my art promotion was no longer venue based and I felt rather bemused and lost. Fortunately (and I feel very lucky) I had some savings so the kitchen will just have to wait another gazillion years!

But then, last July, after 18 months on the waiting list my allotment arrived. Who knew a piece of land that looked like a field could give me so much solace, comfort, escape, mental nourishment and a sense of a new emerging purpose.

Here was something I could do, I could control, I could be creative and I could be productive. As I walked down to the ‘lottie’ this afternoon at the hight of the heat I remembered my first attempt last year on the hottest day. So on the hottest part of the hottest day I decided this would be a great idea to take my shears to the allotment. After two hours of hard manual labour (something I was not remotely built for or in condition to do) I had achieved the grand sum of one square meter of very high stubbly grass to sit on. There was clearly a learning curve ahead!

During the last year I took photos, and phone videos of progress. I did’t feel ready to share (other than with close friends), but just as a way of starting to come back into the world I thought I’d share my progress and lessons learning. Mostly about gardening (obvs) but also perhaps how connecting with something bigger, I mean nature is freeking huge, and the peace of being in it, and the mis-takes (AKA learning opportunities) and learning that I have found along the way.

I don’t know where this will take me, but I thought I’d share my ‘this is where it started’ and ‘this is where I’ve got to so far’.

The first day......

And today.... just one year and one week apart

What I have noticed most in working on my own project is how it has just been 'the next job', be it cardboarding an area (yes cardboarding is now a verb in my vocabulary), researching what seeds to sow, researching how to grow the particular seed or pulling a weed up one weed at a time or a particular patch of weeds (there were many many weeds). Some things I thought of as weeds turned out to be plants. (The definition of a weed is a plant in the wrong place), so on my allotment there is a place for plantain the grass (Ruth the medicinal herbalist a few plots up) introduced me to it as an insect bite soother, and as insects find me delicious this is a particular useful plant to have in my blood sucking outdoor world. Nettles, not only are brilliant for insects but make a great food for plants. There is a great video by one of my new gurus Hew Richards which I'll post down below all about the benefits of nettles - who knew? Not me, but now you do too if you watch it.

So, for me the learning has been one step at a time, allowing things to emerge, re-evaluating old beliefs and discovering new approaches and lots and lots of things to learn.

Last year's learning about nettles

This year's learning about nettles

If you want to see more of the progress pictures of the lottie here is the link. 71A


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