Sunday, 24 March 2013

Compare and Contrast

Another weekend without any useful work done in the garden or at the allotment.

Nigh on 48 hours of light snow meant that the only meaningful thing we got done this weekend was our weekly trip to the wonderful bakers, Holtwhites Bakery, which opened towards the end of last year in Enfield.  A proper artisan bakers, where proper bread is made with only those ingredients necessary - flour, yeast, water, maybe some salt, maybe some seeds - no chemicals to speed up the process or mask decay.  It's become our Saturday routine to go there, pick up some gorgeous proper bread - a sourdough, a ciabatta, some cheese and a cake or a fruit Danish pastry, before going into Enfield proper, stopping for a coffee and a snack before doing the more basic shopping.

What we HAD planned to be doing this weekend was to visit the RHS gardens at Wisley for the Grow Your Own weekend.  As well as stalls from some great nurseries and seed suppliers, there were talks lined up from the likes of James Wong, Pippa Greenwood and Charles Dowding.  Charles Dowding was there last year, and much as I enjoyed the talk, the combination of hushed atmosphere, lowered lighting and warmth meant I drifted off and missed parts of the lecture.  Remember the equivalent weekend last year?  It was a mini heatwave, and we were being told that unless significant rain came, we were heading for a drought.  Well it seems like it hasn't stopped raining since.

Ten years back was the start of the invasion of Iraq.  I was working myself to a frenzy, sowing seeds and in particular planting potatoes at the old allotment, as I felt sure that Britain's involvement in such a cavalier act would lead us to be ostracised by the bulk of the EU, and maybe on the receiving end of sanctions, and growing as much of our own food would be crucial.  As it was, sanctions never happened, the war dragged on and bankrupted our economy, and the ordinary working people have been paying for it ever since.

I have a good memory for dates and so forth.  A good thing, as living with a domestic god means that he is far tidier than I am.  Reading matter and notebooks that I leave where I can refer to them again get put away neatly, so I can't directly refer back to every sowing record I've made in the past 12 years beyond last year.  Apart from pots of flower bulbs, and the onions, garlic and shallots I got in the ground before I broke my ankle the previous November, I wasn't steady enough on my feet to start seed sowing until the corresponding weekend last year.  Most years I has a few things in pots and modules by the end of February, with the bulk started mid March.  This past year I have upgraded my little shanty town of mini greenhouses to a slightly more sturdy model, but still unheated.  I don't have the luxury of a heated greenhouse, and leaving seedlings on the windowsill is bound to upset the cat, so I have no choice but to wait until there is a definite movement in the seasons.  It seems this year we're three weeks to a month behind what has been normal for the past decade or so, ironically probably more in line with most of the last century.  So on the plus side, I can probably follow my precious little book The Wartime Weekend Garden to the date.  Who knows?  We may still get a long hot Summer, from May until October, with no blight and a decent crop of tomatoes.

Another aspect of living with a domestic god is that he knows how to look after clothes properly.  Clothes are gently laundered dried in the fresh air before being put away carefully, shoes are polished and reheeled, giving year's more use.  Once clothes are past their absolute best, they still are serviceable for wear - in the garden or whilst doing assorted DIY tasks.  In the case of t-shirts, they can serve as a extra layer against the cold until they are so threadbare they get used as rages, or end their days being composted.

A sort through of Howard's Winter wear has found a few items that have been outgrown - knitwear from a few years ago that was fashionably skinny, and don't skim his temporarily unfit form.  Thus I have come to inherit a rather lovely jumper - khaki with a zip up placket, brown cuffs, hem and collar.  It has an army surplus feel to it, and goes perfectly with my favourite stretchy skinny cut combat trousers and lace up boots for my modern take on a Land Girl uniform.  All I need is a jaunty neckerchief and red lipstick, but as that doesn't suit me I'll stick with my favourite copper brown one.


Mary said...

I'm so glad you stopped by my blog. I can tell from a quick read of your earlier posts that you are quite sincere in your beliefs and the lifestyle you have chosen. I do hope you'll stop by my "place" again. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

John Gray said...

You need to blog more