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Thoughts on……Month 40: Weird month, weird year.

Hmmmm……what to say about this month? It has been a bit of a naughty pickle! But as always, on reflection, the good stuff far out-weighs the not-so-good. For anyone in need of a hug today (don’t we all!) here’s a link (pop the sound on too) to a compilation of clips of Ms Toksvig giving hugs…..look how happy the recipients are! I wish I could hug you all in person but as I can’t, enjoy these ones from Sandi:…

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August Time Out: Day 28: Finding ‘normal’ again.

August has disappeared in a flash…..I don’t quite know where! Today I finally start in on my ‘to-do’ list and begin to get organised for having my shop again. It feels so good to be doing this… feels like I am finding a bit of normality again after months of oddness.

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August Time Out: Day 26: My toughest garden year, ever!

This has been my toughest year, ever, in the garden. Here I reflect on it a little……yes, I am a bit despondent, a bit down hearted but I’m still finding the positives! My heart goes out to all of you who are also having a tough year and feeling demoralised at this point. We’ll sit with these feelings a while……then put on our big girl pants again and get back on with things.

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Vivi’s Kitchen Garden 292: Storm Ellen (& Lancashire Cotton Mills).

I had no idea we were due a storm of high winds until a late night message from a friend… the next morning my priority was to get to the garden and make sure everything was tied down and that my precious tomato crop was a bit better supported. Whilst in the shed I reached for an object which made me think of the Cotton Mills of Lancashire, my home. I also remembered to harvest my celery seed before the winds took them away.

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It doesn’t always go to plan.

Today was not the day I expected. The first two weeks of August were a bit of a wash-out for me because of a mammoth migraine followed by a really stinky heatwave which made even the waggling of a little finger impossible….but today was going to be different……the forecast said 21*c which is perfect for a day in the garden in summer. A few days ago I decided that today would be perfect for a whole day in the dirt catching up with all those jobs missed because of the Sahara heat.

As I went to sleep last night I actually giggled to myself in excitement at the prospect. I ran through the list of jobs in my mind and pictured myself doing them. It would be the prefect day to work the soil after a full day of drizzle previously.

Ugh. Wrong. The drizzle had done nothing. Some of you may have seen tonight’s video……it was shot on Sunday….. Today is Thursday…..the garden couldn’t have looked more different …… Whole beds of beans are dying before the beans have had a chance to develop……the climbing beans are dropping their leaves and dying back….the bush beans are between yellow and dead…..plants I harvested from 4 days ago and still had more to come have died…’s so sad…….the garden is dying well before it’s time. The garden was dying before my eyes.

I had work to do and got stuck into it……but it was grotty as the temp climbed above 28 again (I know, for a lot of you that’s nothing……but in England it is NOT normal and we plant for mild, wet summers)……my face turned splotchy brown from the clay dust poufing up and sticking to my sweaty face. I stuck my fork into the ground to make a nice bed for the next crop but all I got was dust and rubble….I had a small (massive!) hissy fit and flung my fork across the garden whilst shouting a very, very naughty word, very loudly. Crikey, that fork flew through the air! I stood there, sweat pouring into my eyes, plants dying around me, dust filling my shoes and nostrils and cursed the day I decided I could grow all my own food. I sloped off back to the shed to calm myself and mutter the naughty words under my breath.

It was not going well.

I sat. I muttered.


….and then a cat jumped into my lap and purred at me.

…and then a breeze came which cooled me a little.

…..and then a neighbour turned up with a gift for me (I’d already had a gift from a different neighbour this morning).

……and then I picked a few tomatoes and ate some of them straight off the plant.

….and then I remembered that there are a lot of people who don’t have a space to grow their own food and that I am really fortunate.

….and then I allowed myself to have a little cry…..a little cry for the frustrations and the hard work which hurts me SO much a lot of the time…..and then a little cry of joy for the harvests I get and the company I keep, a little cry for the kindness of neighbours and strangers. A little cry for a tough day but a day that will have it’s own rewards later on……a little cry for knowing people care about me.

It’s OK to feel despondent in the garden, it’s OK to feel thwarted by the wee beasties and the weather…’s OK to momentarily feel like the battle is lost…….it’s all OK…..because later on… really WILL feel better… long as we stick with it, give it some hard work and welly, give it masses of love……it will be OK and it will reward us tenfold…..and there will be rubbish harvests, there will be crops that fail completely, there will be horrible days…….but they all pass and next year……next year……it will be OK.

To all of you struggling today……it will be OK. XXXXX

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August Time Out: Day 19: Hauling in the rain.

It’s a mizzling, drizzling kind of day…….the air is so much fresher…’s a joy to haul garden kit from the Cottage in the Sky to the garden on a day like today (even if it is rather heavy!)……and then just sit a while to appreciate it all.