Reasons to be cheerful
So here we are, home for the next 3 weeks. It’s certainly a strange time, isn’t it? I don’t think that anyone has lived quite like this before – even during the World Wars people were still allowed out of their houses freely during the daytime – and in a funny kind of way, it’s exciting to be part of history. Ask me again in 3 weeks’ time whether I still think it’s a good to be part of this particular historical event, but for now, it is what it is and we need to make the best of it.
Thank you for all your lovely comments on my last post, I really appreciate all of them. It’s always sad when things change, but hopefully something new and exciting will fill the void. That’s pretty much how I was brought up to try to look at things … we have the choice of “going down like a cow’s tail”, as my Nan would say, or just getting on with it. I don’t subscribe to the “stiff upper lip” mentality that encourages us to swallow our feelings and our problems rather than speak about how we’re feeling, but I do think that dwelling on what we don’t have rather than what we do have is a sure-fire way to go down like a cow’s tail faster than you can say “Jack Robinson”. Ha! I’ve got all the old family sayings in there! 😀 And on that happy note, I can assure you that I am going to do my best to just get on with it, appreciate how lucky I am to live in a house with a garden and in a time when I can still communicate through the internet and be thankful for all this gifted time that’s come my way!
You (you lucky things!) get to suffer enjoy more blog posts as I am planning to write as often as I can whilst I am just getting on with it – for my own sanity as much as anything – and it will be lovely to have you around if you feel like it.
It was Mother’s Day here in the UK on Sunday. We had originally planned to take the dog to the beach and it was a lovely sunny day so would have been perfect, but given the current virus situation at the time, we decided to stay at home. Instead, I announced that everyone could be a garden slave and gift me an hour or so of their time so that we could get the veg patch sorted out. They were surprisingly enthusiastic so I didn’t waste any time getting them outside and working!
The photo above is pretty much what’s left of my Dad’s and my combined seed collections. Last year, I discovered that a mouse had got into my seed box and had had a whale of a time going through the seeds to see what tasted good. There wasn’t much left! Luckily, my Dad’s seeds were in another box that the mouse hadn’t yet discovered so I had veg to plant, but it’s actually been a good excuse to clear my seed box out completely (I found that I had so many packets of old seeds, some bought, some collected, that I had never planted and probably never would) and I’ve just bought the seeds that I know I’m going to grow. My Dad’s seeds are all getting pretty old now (he’ll have been gone 5 years this year) so I know that I’m probably very lucky with anything that grows from those, but I’m not quite ready to clear those out just yet.
Small daughter was quite happy to get started on the seed sowing.
We’ve got leeks, beans, onions, spinach, carrots, lettuce and tomatoes going for now plus some flowers – it’s all veg that I know we will definitely eat and which I can sow in succession to keep us going for a good few months. I bought some seed potatoes the other day (I decided on a whim to call into B&Q for compost “just in case” and I’m so glad I did!) and they are now chitting (sprouting) on the windowsill ready to go into the ground.
Oh, I can’t tell you how good it was to have some help in the garden! Usually it’s just me because everyone else is out or busy and you forget just how much you can get done with extra pairs of hands!
Big daughter and my husband did a sterling job of clearing the blueberry and strawberries out, both smothered with couch grass and aquilegia plants …
My husband lifted the bags of compost for me. I buy those great big 125 litre bags as I know they will last. I can hardly lift them but I have perfected a way of rolling them onto the flat bed store trolley and then into the boot of my car – I must look hilarious!
There’s lettuce, rocket and spinach in that bed now, and later there will be leeks and sprouts. Ah yes, there will always be sprouts in my garden now!
I bought some sweet pea seedlings at the farm shop and they’re in the ground now. I hadn’t realised that I’d used up all of my edible pea seeds last year so I won’t be growing any of those, but it’s not the end of the world (although home grown pea pods are my very favourite vegetable, with tomatoes warm from the greenhouse a close second) as they do take up a lot of space. I might need that space this year for other things! I do love sweet peas, though, and the flowers should bring the bees into the garden which is all good.
And what did I do in all of this, you might ask, apart from striding about like an overseer? (On a very vaguely related note, we’ve just watched The English Game on Netflix about the start of the football leagues and that’s set in Lancashire mill towns which is obviously what’s made the connection in my mind. 😀 We loved the series, by the way.)
I have been re-painting the garden bench that we brought from my Dad’s house. It’s a bit battered (my Dad obviously used it as a saw horse for a while given the scars on the arm rests); there’s a bit of wood rot at the bottom that I’ve treated with preservative to try to get a few more years out of it and I couldn’t get all the layers of paint off, but it’s as good as it’s going to get now.
There are family photographs of me sitting on this bench in my teens, when my middle-aged brother was just a small boy and with our very first dog, so it makes me happy to think that I’ve been able to patch it up for a few more years at least. It won’t last forever (I have a feeling some of the horizontal slats are on their way out) but for now, it’s just what we need for a few moments of space in the sunshine.
And talking of space, that’s another tenuous link but an important one. We’re all going to be different in terms of the space that we have; some people live with big families all on top of each other, others are living alone and rattling around like peas on a drum; others like us are lucky that whilst we don’t live in mansions, it is possible for us to get away from each other either into the garden or into a bedroom for a while.
I don’t know if you took part in the Winter Haven KAL in January this year, but if you’re able to set up a Winter Haven (or possibly a Virus Haven?) space for yourself – a chair that you can sit in for a few moments peace, or a warm sunny step outside your front door – then take the opportunity to do that. You can find all the Winter Haven KAL posts if you take a look to the “here’s one I wrote earlier” list over in the right hand side bar – they’re all in January 2020.
We’ll all had a massive shock, whether we realise it or not, and we’ve been living with the constant low-level stress of watching the virus spread around the world for months now. Those stress levels are rising, and what happens is that we get used to living in a stressed state. It feels normal to wake up in the morning and for the worries to crowd your mind. We forget what we felt like before it all happened. And if there’s one thing that can lower your immune system very quickly, it’s stress. It’s so important for us to try to keep a grip on how we are feeling, however you can do it. Knitting, crocheting, crafting of any kind, gardening, meditating (this is a good one), reading, listening to music, being outside … even just taking deep breaths of air. I know, it’s easy for me to say but I’m not preaching from an enlightened position; just writing this reminds me that I need to do as I say as well!
And so, that’s it for today. The sun is still shining here in Winwick, I am fortunate that I can still connect with friends through the phone and the internet. No going down like a cow’s tail here, it’s not allowed!
See you soon, stay safe xx
|Isn’t this pretty? I spotted it at Aldi and couldn’t resist! It’s a primula, and should flower again next year, with any luck!|