Monday, June 30, 2014

Shame and longing

A host of brave gardeners in our village opened their gardens to the public at the weekend.  It was fascinating, inspiring and depressing. Even bearing in mind the fact that if you are opening your garden to the public, it is probably looking sharper and tidier than it would otherwise, it was obvious that most of these gardens ALWAYS look weedless and tidy. But how do people get their lawn edges looking so sharp? That is what I long for – sharp lawn edges.

I asked one woman with immaculate borders and a vegetable plot that looked as if it had been lifted from a horticultural textbook how much time she spends in the garden every week, and she said 5 or 6 hours A DAY.

That made me feel better. I could write for five or six hours, but not garden. I would feel I was wasting my life.

But your passion is your passion, and as Joseph Campbell said, you have to follow your bliss. The trouble is I have so many blisses I don’t have the time to follow them all – writing, gardening, cycling on the Trail, playing my sax, seeing friends, sitting in the sun, walking here and in Wensleydale, playing with my grandchildren, laughing.…

Whatever. My brother said I need to have lots of photos on the blog and not just ones of my grandchildren. So here is one of my favourite plants flowering in my garden at the moment – an elderflower -


and here it is in situ


Notice how the grass needs mowing and the edge needs trimming?

Here’s my rag-taggle strawberry patch which is currently yielding a kilo of fruit a day – picked by me and eaten (mostly) by Dave -


See how untidy it is?

And do you remember the compost bins that Dave made for me last year?


This year I harvested some fabulous compost heaving with worms, and spread it on the sweet pea plot, but did a lousy job of digging it in so that the healthy, green sweet peas, which I planted five weeks ago, have become sickly and yellow, and are only just beginning to grow and have new green tips on them -


Maybe now you see why this post is called “Shame and longing.”

I had an iffy day yesterday, but at teatime the sun came out and I rode on my bike up the Monsal Trail to my favourite spot.

Here it is in April -


Here it is today -


I climbed over the fence and sat amongst the coltsfoot and clover and quaking grass that now cover the grass, and I drunk in the view. It’s magic there. And it made me think that when I am too old even to pick strawberries, I shall turn the garden into a meadow.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Do you want to know what I’ve been doing?

Not writing.

When I signed off for a rest from the blog, I thought I’d be using my blog time to write. But I haven’t been writing at all – apart from my journal.

I’ve been getting the garden fettled, which for the last few years has had seasons of neglect, due to writing, publishing and swanning overseas to see people like this:


and this:


I’ve just been looking for photos of the garden to show you and got really depressed. Before I started publishing, it was beautiful. Still…my new blog header shows it still looks OK from certain angles.

I’ve been doing others things too. I don’t seem to be able to read fiction when I am writing fiction, so I’ve been making the most of my time without writing to catch up.

You’ve no idea all the things I’ve missed (through lack of time/energy) in the last few years when I’ve been publishing – simple things like going to local art exhibitions, and even the village open gardens event – which is today.

Then there’s the patchwork that I half sewed up last year, and then unpicked because it wasn’t working. I’ve finally had time for that. I saw a local artist’s abstract landscapes last month and was inspired to do a different kind of patchwork i.e. not the usual classic geometric type like this one I made for Isaac and Wendy

oct 08 057

I’ve been designing an abstract sunset (double bed size), which has got thus far:

patchwork sunset

Dave doesn’t “get it” but certain key people do (Zoe, Wendy, and the artist who inspired me – oh yes, and Roopa on Twitter) and that’s all the encouragement I need.

And the blog? What’s happening with the blog?

I don’t know. We shall have to see. I’m back today because I have been missing it, and other people have been missing it too. So we’ll see what happens.