Thursday, October 30, 2008

Veg patch slipping into Autumn

Looks a bit sad, but it is still being productive. - we had a lovely salad from it yesterday and there are still leeks, beetroot and chard to be had, plus Raff's carrots and baby corn.

I have sown green manure on two of the beds - Phacelia on one and Hungarian Rye grass on the other. Next I need to get some Broad Beans in -they were rubbish this year as I got them in too late and in the old patch which I think has become truly exhausted. I have begun thinking about what to do with that bit, but can't decide between a meadow made up just from flowering annuals, inspired by Gardens Illustrated or the Derek Jarman inspired shingle garden that I had previously planned for that end.


I went to a Private View recently of a project called the 'Importance of Elsewhere' - the artists had worked with an anthology of Philip Larkin poems as their juming off point. Written on acetate in beautiful script and stuck to a window in an attic room overlooking the lights and buildings that make up the remains of Chatham's industrial past, was this poem. Apparently it's about Hull but it could so easily have been the Medway which is the 'widening river's slow presence'.
Getting home and reading it here, where the land also ends suddenly, it speaks to me even more and reminds me how much I love his writing and how I should go back to reading poetry amongst all of the fiction.


Swerving east, from rich industrial shadows
And traffic all night north; swerving through fields
Too thin and thistled to be called meadows,
And now and then a harsh-named halt, that shields
Workmen at dawn; swerving to solitude
Of skies and scarecrows, haystacks, hares and pheasants,
And the widening river's slow presence,
The piled gold clouds, the shining gull-marked mud,

Gathers to the surprise of a large town:
Here domes and statues, spires and cranes cluster
Beside grain-scattered streets, barge-crowded water,
And residents from raw estates, brought down
The dead straight miles by stealing flat-faced trolleys,
Push through plate-glass swing doors to their desires -
Cheap suits, red kitchen-ware, sharp shoes, iced lollies,
Electric mixers, toasters, washers, driers –

A cut-price crowd, urban yet simple, dwelling
Where only salesmen and relations come
Within a terminate and fishy-smelling
Pastoral of ships up streets, the slave museum,
Tattoo-shops, consulates, grim head-scarfed wives;
And out beyond its mortgaged half-built edges
Fast-shadowed wheat-fields, running high as hedges,
Isolate villages, where removed lives

Loneliness clarifies. Here silence stands
Like heat. Here leaves unnoticed thicken,
Hidden weeds flower, neglected waters quicken,
Luminously-peopled air ascends;
And past the poppies bluish neutral distance
Ends the land suddenly beyond a beach
Of shapes and shingle. Here is unfenced existence:
Facing the sun, untalkative, out of reach.

Philip Larkin

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Planning my mid-life crisis...

Don't say you haven't all been warned!
Georgia is 10 on Friday and whilst a very exciting and an amazing milestone, it is nonetheless causing me no small amount of reflection. Mostly on the subject of "where did those 10 years go and what did I do in them?". I remember so vividly turning 10 and how quickly after that 16, 18, 21 and 30. Is her life going to get up to warp speed now too?
Her birthday coincides with my first week working properly full time for the first time since before she was born - for the past 4 months it has been 4 days per week, but now I am a 5 day a week girl and that too is daunting; I have prized my Fridays, free to go for huge walks with the dog, visit friends, do things without anyone else and will feel the loss of that small breathing space keenly.
But, before it sounds as though I am disappearing down my black hole, I love my new job, it's fantastic, challenging and rewarding. I guess it's just all about adjustments and there have been so many to make recently.