Friday, May 11, 2018

Summer's cabinet

Summer, from a cabinet made
by Cottier and Co. 
Sorrel's trying to go to seed, the parsley patch and lovage are growing taller and one of the angelica plants I kept going over winter has barely grown but already has a flower head. That will be the end of that.

My path from home to allotment is five minutes up the hill and for much of spring and summer this is the extent of my travelling. Mum once told me about a man who took his runner bean plants on holiday with him (in the UK, obviously) and I am becoming that person.

This week I've watched a fight between blackbirds lasting much of the afternoon, a blackbird chasing off a jay, a young fox meander along the top path as I was watering onions, look me in the eye as it cocked its leg against a fence post, and wander confidently into the next patch.

I've woken at 5.30 to pick rhubarb, I've started to dry herbs, I've found strawberry plants in long grass and transplanted them into boxes full of compost. I've weeded the raspberries and discovered shallots in a sea of forget me nots. There is a lot more to do.

In the back garden, I've found a place to hang a hammock and fallen asleep in it. I've sat in the shade of the plum tree and watched lime leaves sparkle in the wind and sun.
Travel chest by John Sell Cotman

When I drop into social media I no longer feel part of the industry of creative writing, of opinions and debate. While I'd like to be in this world, I don't know what it takes any more.

Potatoes and beans are reliable. The creative writing world I'm witnessing is beginning to feel like the noisy universes of Asda and Coca Cola.

It feels easier to be in the green, potting on, planting seed, cutting edges and nurturing the mint. Soon the blocks of bright blue forget me nots will hand over to drifts of ox-eye daisies and spiky foxgloves. Then the pink geraniums, the big yellow trumpets of squash and courgette.

Part of me would pack a trunk tomorrow if I had the chance. Part of me still wants to sit and share poems into the early hours with a glass of red. But I think most of me has my feet in the dew and wants more of that freedom.