Home sweet home

Just a brief post tonight because time has almost run out, but I thought I’d just share what may or may not turn out to be a bright idea that I had in the middle of the night. Madame had taken down the 8′ high angelica yesterday because it was beginning to strew its seed everywhere, and much as we love it we prefer to choose where to plant it because it can be a bit of a monster. So the seed heads went into a bucket where we could finish ripening and drying some of them for sowing again, while the leftover stalks all went into the compost heap.

As I wrote yesterday I’ve been reading David Goode’s book on urban ecology and I suddenly remembered he’d written that some invertebrates like to nest, or overwinter in the hollow stems of dead plants. So after a several hours of routine campervan maintenance we slipped over to the allotment and I retrieved the angelica stalks from the heap; cut them into 12″ sections with hole diameters varying from and eighth of an inch to to a couple of inches – more than enough variety for pretty well any kind of homeless creature to find something that suits later on, and then bound them together very untidily with string and attached them to the main stalk which was thick enough to bury a foot into the earth. Every little helps, I hope, because we’ve been waging war on blackfly and asparagus beetle grubs while we wait for the other predators to come to our aid. We pick them off – dozens of them, and squeeze them – which is messy but therapeutic in a strange way.

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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