Feeling a bit seasonally affected

How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
You know those days when you wake up, look out of the window and you think November.  I remember reading Bernard Leach’s “A Potters Book” for the first time more years ago than I care to remember – it’s in front of me now as I write this. Somewhere in the book he wrote that, of all the jobs in the pottery, filling in the tax return was the one that cost him most sleep.  Mercifully I no longer have to fill them in, but today I had to complete some unintelligible forms to claim back a small amount of money that was owed to me. Somehow the (relatively) simple action of searching for forms and letters last seen more than a decade ago saps the energy in a terrible way.
There were jobs on the allotment that needed to be done, but it was no use; I just had to get down to it. Of course in the event it wasn’t nearly so hard as I’d feared and by lunchtime the documents were on their way but the Black Dog lingered on. Cooking always seems to do the trick, so we did some shopping and I knuckled down to batch-cook 3.5 Kg of ragu, prepping 3Kg of blackcurrants ready to make cordial, and toad in the hole for supper – does that translate into North American, I wonder? Basically it’s sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter.  That, plus some spiced red cabbage and left-over gravy, made a meal to lift the soul.
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Author: Dave Pole

I've spent my life doing a lot of things, all of them interesting and many of them great fun. When most people see my CV they probably think I'm making things up because it includes being a rather bad welder and engineering dogsbody, a potter, a groundsman and bus driver. I taught in a prison and in one of those ghastly old mental institutions as an art therapist and I spent ten years as a community artist. I was one of the founding members of Spike Island, which began life as Artspace Bristol. ! wrote a column for Bristol Evening Post (I got sacked three times, in which I take some pride) and I worked in local and network radio and then finally became an Anglican parish priest for 25 years, retiring at 68 when I realised that the institutional church and me were on different paths. What interests me? It would be easier to list what doesn't, but I love cooking and baking with our home grown ingredients. I'm fascinated by botany and wildlife in general, and botanical illustration. We have a camper van that takes us to the wild places, we love walking, especially in the hills, and we take too many photographs. But what really animates me is the question "what does it mean to be human?". I've spent my life exploring it in every possible way and the answer is ..... well, today it's sitting in the van in the rain and looking across Ramsey Sound towards Ramsey Island. But it might as easily be digging potatoes or making pickle, singing or finding an orchid or just sitting. But it sure as hell doesn't mean getting a promotion, beasting your co-workers or being obsequious to power, which ensured that my rise to greatness in the Church of England flatlined 30 years ago after about 2 days. But I'm still here and still searching for that elusive sweet spot, and I don't have to please anyone any more. Over the last 50 or so years we've had a succession of gardens, some more like wildernesses when we were both working full-time, but now we're back in the game with our two allotments in Bath.

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