I’ve been feeling just a bit curmudgeonly this last few weeks – a combination of living in political chaos, fag end of winter blues, problems with the campervan, rising damp, reading too many books about climate change and wondering how on earth we’re going to sort this mess out.
I do have an antidote for it all – and it’s getting back to the stove – making stock, baking bread, baking cakes, that sort of thing. I also notice that when I’m feeling a bit glum I also eat really badly, and suddenly, cakes, biscuits, toast made from white bread, convenience food and general junk look endlessly fascinating, so getting back to the stove sorts that particular temptation out, well – all except for the cakes. The other antidote, the one Madame favours, is sowing seeds, and so once again I’m sharing the kitchen with a busy propagator.
The last remedy is going through my photos and looking at all the lovely things I spotted last year – and that’s what I was doing when I found this photo, taken by Madame, of me skulking the cliff path at St Davids and making a list. That’s my waterproof notebook in my hand, my stick and my new hat and my old space pen, Swiss army knife, X10 pocket magnifier in my pocket. In the bag too is a copy of Rose, “Wildflower Key” and a couple of fold out keys for grasses and lichens. If you want to know what paradise looks like this is it – although possibly a less knobbly pair of legs would improve it a bit. I couldn’t be more happy than I am when I’m out in the sunshine amongst the plants and insects and birds. Just a little way further down the path last autumn we picked enough wild mushrooms to make the best omelette I’ve ever tasted.
Oh and we’ve got miniature tulips flowering in the window boxes – along with the irises and daffodils – I think that’s quite mad but it’s true. The remnants of storm Ciara are still howling through, and looking out of the window just now, the sky had that yellowish hue that looks like sleet or snow on the way. Our son just rang from Birmingham to say that it’s snowing hard there. These certainly are confusing times, but I try not to let it get to me too much. This week we’ll go and collect a load of hot horse manure for the hotbed and in a couple of weeks we’ll be flat out again on the allotment.