Sunday, 1 September 2013

Why not be happy?

Sometimes, I get accused of not being ambitious.

Well maybe that is true.  Part of me thinks ambition is for the young, who have yet to realise what the real world is like.  Another part of me thinks I did stuff in my late teens and twenties - met and interviewed so many great musicians, got my work published in magazines, did a bit of travelling, saw some wonderful sights, that wanting more would be plain greedy.  I think there are plenty who earn more in a year than I do in three that have never seen ospreys catching their prey at dawn, have not looked over the side of a boat and seen humpbacked whales come up to feed, have not had a whole row of seats on a plane to themselves to lie back and watch the Northern Lights above Canada, or touched noses with a giant anteater, fed manatees, or been groomed by a lemur sitting on their shoulder.  Maybe they've used their city parasite earned money to get backstage to meet their musical heroes, but have they been genuinely thanked for being there?  (And known they meant it)

OK, in my working life I have never had fantastically well paid jobs, or been promoted above my ability.  But I'd rather have a genuinely useful job that pays enough to get by comfortably that earn a living doing something that my ethics told me was wrong.  In just under two months, it will be five years since I started working in the NHS.  It happened almost by accident - just a four week temp booking that became a permanent job - but it is something that, despite my minor admin role, I am, to use that hackneyed business term, passionately proud of.

Why should I aspire to do more that a job that benefits other and lets me go home with a clear conscience?  Even if it allowed me to put aside enough funds to buy a place in the country to do grown all my own food, including keeping livestock, my ethics would not allow me to work in private health or education, or in any way be involved in the dealing in stocks and shares.  I'd far rather be content than rich from exploiting others.

Yes I still have dreams, but I'd rather be realistic.  This year I've managed to get a few flowers off the dahlias and feel I've got one up on the slugs (although that may be because they turned their attention to my pumpkins) and so far my tomato plants have been blight free.

The Autumn Equinox approaches, the time when I start to work towards next year's harvest.  I'm starting to hone my planting lists, and will be visiting the Wisley Flower Show to purchase Autumn planting peas and broad beans, plus the first garlic, shallots and onions.   I'll be on the look out for more unusual edible plants, plus bulbs for containers to move around to brighten corners as required.

It's coming up to two years since I broke my ankle, but I still have aches and pains where the ligaments were damaged, so we're getting really serious about no-dig beds - once the couch and bramble have stopped fighting back.  The Annoying Middle Class Family and their slug pellets on the plot next to us have given up, and Howard is considering asking to take that over.  But first, we need to whip the one in my name into shape.

Another swathe was tackled today, and I've replanted my saffron bulbs in a sandier compost mix in the hope of more than a couple of home grown threads this year.

We're digging for small victories from here on in.


andrea said...

I haven`t had such an exiting life as you,but I am happy with my lot.Illness caused a life change,for the better.We do a worthwhile job.
I love my allotment,we are content.

Anonymous said...

It is definitely the little things that matter. I went to two farmers' markets this weekend and purchased from a few different people. I spent some time talking to a woman selling honey about her bees. I cooked up my beet greens when I got back and ate them, and then cooked up my beets. I felt happy.