I have a beautiful image of a lifestyle I want implanted in my mind’s eye. It has had enduring appeal for much of the day. I’d like to share it with you.
An allotment, where I sew seeds and harvest food, according to the season, organic vegetables and fruit, which feed myself and my family. I am wearing clogs, overalls and a big beautiful hat, and yes, you guessed it, I have arrived at the allotment on my elegant bicycle, complete with detachable woven basket. I duly unfasten it and peruse my bountiful winter garden picking fresh salad leaves and spinach for lunch, then pumpkin, celery and carrots for tonight’s soup. I can taste it already, a touch of turmeric and garlicky croutons.
I am not as far off this fantasy life as you may think. This morning I walked down the road in the rain to watch the fenced off chickens running around in the open field, the cockerel crowed beautifully, chiming my morning into existence. I love where I live, it’s a village in the country but I commute into the city for work.
Potentially I could buy a small allotment and grow my own produce and have a couple of chickens even. It wouldn’t be much of a time commitment really. A few books and a few Sundays preparing the soil and I’d be ready to go. Gardening is good for the soul. It could be my meditation time as I grow older. Clearing the weeds, feeling alarmed by the slugs and snails that will inevitably appear. Finding natural antidotes to yeasts and things that destroy crops. Finding out that the soil I have is rich in minerals, that the sun radiates upon the plot all year round and watching the seeds I have planted sprout up in perfect harmony. My daughter could get involved, learn all about plants, something her mother, a born and bred Londoner was never able to explore.
In the meantime I will follow my one thing a day philosophy, rather than feel overwhelmed and defeated by the difficulty of turning this daydream into a reality (I am not a cynic it’s just I am experiencing increasingly more difficulty washing the dishes and keeping the bathroom clean – darling husband has been dutifully attending to our home lately). So, in the meantime, by the end of the week perhaps, I plan to install and begin growing salad. Fresh, crisp, always appetizing salad (especially when lavished in lemon, capers and olive oil). I have some pots, I know where to get some organic seeds, and my friend the green grocer always sells soil and dispatches ever helpful gardening advice.