Monday, 1 March 2010

Earth Moving!


Rejoice! (part 1)

The earth moved this morning and the sun illuminated a corner of the summerhouse. I sat at the cast-iron table in warm sunshine and drank coffee. A friend came for lunch. We both sat at the cast-iron table and drank wine. The dog asked to have her sunbed placed on the steps, and lounged there - not yet panting, but certainly basking.

There is still snow on the hills, a small patch on the northern face, but still snow, still white and gleaming, still just sitting there, refusing to melt. Old wives' tales have it that when snow lies more will come to take it away.
Oh, please - no more.

It's been tough in Middle England, with impacted ice and snow up to the dog's chin. I've plodded around with the old ski poles and a son's huge snowboots - refusing to buy my own because I don't believe it will last more than a day or two.
Then, after a day or two, learning to be thankful that I have everything I need within plodding, skidding distance.
Appreciating the neighbours, all of us looking out for one another.
Loving the stillness, the peace, the traffic-free roads.

Then today, warmth came back, not creeping, but leaping so that infant daffodils reached out to it and the camellia creaked open its first flower.

Rejoice! (part 2)

The tool shed, normally overflowing with a clutter of metalware, is empty of almost everything but sunshine.
I have three garden forks, small, medium and large, two spades, a few assorted rakes and hoes, a lopper, a blower, a sucker, a mower. I have lots of hand-tools and a cache of things to hold up other things.

And all the rest, all the duplicated, inherited spades and forks and hoes and rakes and shears, have been oiled and cleaned and sharpened and have gone to my son and his girl-friend for their first 'allotment'.

I was introduced to the allotment this weekend. It has soil like rich chocolate cake and it has none of the choking, strangling weeds so prevelant in my own garden. The allotment has been loved and fed. My son and his partner are lucky first-time gardeners.

Allotments are special places for enthusiasts, for the inventive and the enterprising. They are the epitomy of recycling, where old carpets suppress weeds, black plastic sheets warm the soil and old plastic bottles make mini-propagators.Wheelbarrows and know-how are shared. On this allotment site there is a shop, supplying seeds and well-rotted manure as well as knowledge.
My son and his partner are already enthusiasts, and they have yet to plant their first potato.

I rejoice that the gardening gene, for so long embedded in my ancestors and me, has surfaced in one of my sons.
I rejoice that my parents' gardening tools will be handled by the next generation, and that E. and S. will learn from the soil and the weather, the rabbits and the caterpillars as people have done throughout time. I specifically rejoice in the knowledge that their rich soil will bring forth abundance - and no spuds will ever have tasted as good!


herhimnbryn said...

Ah, that first sign of warmth in the uk, I remember it well. And allotments, such an english idea, such a wonderful use of land. I always think that allotments look like a worn old quilt.

Relatively Retiring said...

HHnB: I love that image of the worn old quilt - so apt!
I enjoy the views of allotments you get when travelling by train in England. So many plots seem to be close to the tracks - as is my son's - and no two allotments are alike.

Mouse said...

You're back!
I am so happy, I feel as if I've been given a gift

Yes, this morning I walked the dogs across a frosty field, bare- legged as ever so that I can slip of my shoes and wander barefoot if I please but it was so cold, and then the sun appeared over the trees and warmed my face so I took off my shoes and skipped in the long grass and suddenly a thrush began to sing for joy

Relatively Retiring said...

Hello Mouse - thank you for your very kind comment. Here's some interesting news for you - it was your post about stopping blogging (13th February)that made me start again.
We can never be sure of the effect our words have on others.
So, many thanks!

Mouse said...

Well then there was a good reason why I was feeling that way on that day, it was to summon you back!

But the trolls...
You do know that I am now somewhat of a whizz when it comes to policing cyberspace, I spend my days writing nifty code to defuse malware and clean up after it as well as chasing the spammers, phishers and, sadly, child abusers through the web so if you ever need a caped crusader then I am your man, er mouse

But if the trolls were just nasty people intent on accumulating bad karma then alas and alack, they are not so easy to banish but I'm working on that too!

Relatively Retiring said...

Mouse: Thank you so much for your offers of help, and I really appreciate the thought of the caped-crusader mouse!
The troll episode taught me a lot. My enjoyment of writing and communication far outweighs the damage attempted by trolls - and, because I realised that I possibly know the troll, I actually prefer not to have my suspicions confirmed.
Thank you again - and boldly go to clean up cyber-space!

Mouse said...

It's worse when you know them...
I've had a few trolls drop by to leave 'rat poison' in my comments and I wondered if I should start dropping a few names but my trolls are ex-colleagues and what else would one expect of rats but rat poison? They know no better

Relatively Retiring said...

Nicely put, Mouse, but not ex colleagues for me - mine are lovely!

Zhoen said...

Warm sun in early spring, like first kisses.

My main troll from years ago was a "friend" of sorts. Nowadays, mostly just spammers leaving Chinese ads. Just got to keep squashin' 'em like bugs.

Relatively Retiring said...

Zhoen: oh, much better than that, if my memory serves me correctly!

A nice comment about the bugs, too, except that I try to put them somewhere where they can be useful.

pohanginapete said...

This is such a beautifully written post — a joy to read; so evocative; so hopeful. Great to hear E and S are so enthused and that they have lovely soil (and excellent tools with which to work it).

Inspirational all round. I don't know which to do first: write or garden (no, wait — it's dark outside. Maybe I'll write. Besides, I don't have a garden.) I'd like to think this will be characteristic of the future: people everywhere reconnecting with the delights of simple, complex things like reading, writing, gardening and enjoying time (and wine) with friends.


Relatively Retiring said...

P.Pete: thank you so much for such kind and generous comments. I'm glad you remembered in the nick of time that you don't have a garden.
I felt rather bad mentioning about the earth moving, being aware that it was tipping the other way from your point of view. But let's hope for many more hours of sunshine for all of us - not to mention the Old Peculiar and the ever-simmering kettle.