Digging for victory
So Spring has finally sprung on colonsay. After 6 miserable months of rain we had a proper sunny day today. I even saw a lamb, it wasn’t gambolling but you can’t ask for everything. Sally had me up early and I felt incredibly smug (well as smug as a person who is up at 7:14 having already been up at midnight and 3:24 can feel) that there was a load of washing sitting in the machine waiting to be hung out. It’s a sorry state of affairs when you sit down on the sofa at the end of the day feeling that the day has really been a success because you got four loads of washing through the machine.
In between loading and unloading the washing machine I did something else today. I can’t quite believe that I’m typing this but I might just have done some gardening!
I never thought I would become a gardener. It’s always been a side of Allan’s personality that I’ve viewed as being slightly deviant. I mean who would want to be grubbing around in the dirt at the weekend when you could be ensconced on the sofa reading Mills and Boons, scoffing Snickers and purchasing exotic (and clean) vegetables in Sainsbury’s (other, cheaper, supermarkets are available)? Six months of being reliant on Uncle Mike’s fine emporium has caused me to revaluate my thinking slightly. Don’t get me wrong the shop is great. I’ve done my time there and it’s not a job I would take on for the world. Nonetheless it is truly gutting when you don’t manage to get round the afternoon after the boat has come in and rock up the next day knowing that the veg fridge will be looking as bare as the corn fields in Little House on the Prairie after the grasshoppers had been through it. Mike does his best – the other week he presented me with three only slightly rotten aubergines FOR FREE!!! But a girl cannot live on festering nightshades alone and I long to be able to dictate what veg I have access to. Mind you having a more limited selection has really expanded my cooking repertoire. When the only veg you can lay your hands on is a bag of spinach and some vacuum packed beetroot you’ve got to think on your feet!
Sorry I digress.
So Allan has been the gardener for the last ten years. When we moved here the idea was that he would grow fresh produce and I would cook inventive and nutritious meals for us and the children. I saw myself as a modern day, British, non-embezzling Martha Stewart. Slight problem………Allan is really much too busy doing gardening for other people to do any for us. He now has a shed full of fancy tools – even a chainsaw- swoon but he uses them all for the good of others whilst I and the girls are barely getting by on or spinach and beetroot sandwiches.
I took matters into my own hands and asked my dad for help! He kindly allowed me to dig up a patch of our (his) garden and a couple of weeks ago I spent numerous hours dodging the dog poo and digging up a sizeable plot. I even made a major archaeological find of an old stylee sixpence. In fact I found a lot of coal too. I’m looking into selling the mining rights to our garden so it may be that in future I’ll be able to afford to get our veg flown in direct from Uruguay.
Yesterday I dug some seaweed through my plot and I’m now just waiting for Allan to help me with the fence (yeah I’m not that independent) before I sew my seeds. Beetroot and spinach (obviously), carrots, onions, lettuce and potatoes. I’ve also planted some cucumber, basil and cress inside. I’ve got a few melon seeds too. I have a dream where I will have a melon farm. I will recycle all my old pre-baby bras as melon baskets (this is a bone-fide gardening technique by the way not just some sort of weird, kinky, melon-bra fetish) and the children and I will feast on Melon every morning.
This afternoon the sun was shining, Allan was off touting his wares elsewhere and I found myself at a loose end. Well, the house needed cleaning, but if you’re outside you can’t see the squalor. My eyes lit on our borders. ‘What a mess’ I found myself thinking. ‘What would Grandpa say if he could see the brambles mating with his rose-bush?’ Before I knew it I was ripping at the brambles with my bare hands. I stopped quite quickly after I started bleeding. Seconds later armed with the bread knife and a pair of gardening gloves I resumed my attack. I quite enjoyed myself. It was hard work, I had to lift up stones and there was collateral damage to some nice leafy things also growing but by the time Sally woke up I had vanquished the brambles. I feel so proud; I can’t wait to get started on the nettles tomorrow!
Fear not gentle reader, I promise this will not become a gardening blog. Unlike Allan I am well aware that my new hobby is deeply uninteresting to 99.9% of the population. I would imagine that by my next bit of bloggage I will either have got a life or (probably more likely) the rains will have come again and we will be forced to barricade ourselves indoors for a further six months.
Helen building up strength for a hard days digging