Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Been a long time........

Haven't posted a blog since October. Keep meaning to, but time has been short of late.

I started working at a specialist hospital at the end of October. I kind of forgot how a full working week eats into your time. Breaking even is great, but all the little tasks I did when they needed doing now have to be fitted into any spare time I have. Weekends are a mad rush but for the precious respite of the allotment.

And much of the break has been spent there. We're finally putting the old shed back up, and pretty soon I'll be able to brew a pot of tea under cover again. Having the tree canopy has been great, but now all the leaves have fallen (many into my leaf mould bin), there is nowhere to retreat from the rain.

It's been a pretty quiet time at the plot aside of that. We lifted a few Jerusalem Artichokes, but they were so small they could pass as the Chinese version, so I think we'll leave the rest until February.

It has to be said that the instructions in the Wartime Weekend Gardener for the last few weeks are fairly sparse. Just keep digging and clearing the plot, keep checking the crops in storage, order seeds and potatoes for the next year, cover rhubarb for forcing and the traditional Boxing Day task of sowing onions. With the weather we've had over the past few weeks, anyone would be hard pressed to have achieved anything from that list bar browsing the catalogues. The hard frosts this week will have helped anyone who managed to find a dry day to get some digging done, if such a person exists.

Still, on the gardening weather front at least, maybe next year will be better.

My last post was just before the US election, and fortunately sanity won through. Hopefully the Obama 8 years (please?) won't be sabotaged. Though I've always maintained Bill Clinton would never have needed to lie if he could have said fuck on US tv.

December saw the passing of one of my heroes - Oliver Postgate. Most celebrated for Bagpuss and The Clangers, he also co-created The Pogles, featuring my favourite character, Tog. The Pogles may well be a family for our current times - living in a low impact, sustainable house, foraging for wild food in the woods and meadows. Who amongst us wouldn't want to live that way?

This week sees the final branches of Woolworths close all over the UK. I last went in our local store in early November, to get the few things I relied on them to supply - bin bags and washing up sponges. Aside of the kitchenware, it had become a glorified pound shop. It had ceased to be the shop we mourned the passing of many years ago.

Many more shops will go to the wall before the hysteria ceases, and with almost all of these the blame will lie with management and their lack of awareness of the real financial situation. How anyone is supposed to help the country spend its way out of a recession when they expect to lose their job beggars belief.

And if we're all supposed to accept a wage freeze or cut, why can't a freeze or cut be enforced of transport fares?

There may be some good to come out of this. Who's to say we won't see the demise of DFS and their ghastly adverts?

Maybe 2009 will be the year that the difference between want and need finally are learnt.