It's not over till it's over

Posted by Jeni in | 25 April 2020

Forget-me-knots have taken over the garden, I pulled some of them out gently and have laid them in the log basket next to the fireplace. They won't last but they look beautiful.

Dandelions everywhere. A couple of buttercups. Bundles of bluebells.

Primroses pink and yellow have lined the path to the studio.
My Stauntonia, after three years, has finally decided to flower.

The magnolia has been and gone, but the Rhododendrons, pink and blousy, have opened up.

The grass seed has taken and is filling in the gaps where Suki ran amok.

Me and him and her are isolated in the cottage. We are very, very, very, very lucky. We have space, and quiet. The big bumble bees are buzzing from the comfrey to the lavender and orange tipped butterflies flutter by daily.

We've got perpetual spinach and dandelion leaves, mint and dill fronds for salads. We've got shelves full of dried beans and tins of tomatoes. The internet provides us with light bulbs and disinfectant - which we shan't inject or drink.

There's been a lot of baths and showers, there's been a heap of arsey behaviour, there's been suppers of beetroot pickled and beetroot raw, asparagus grilled and asparagus raw. There are apples in the bowl and grapefruits galore, deliveries from the neighbours from bananas to frozen peas. Tonight I found a bag of frozen prawns hidden in the freezer which I cooked in butter and olive oil, garlic, cayenne pepper and Chile flakes, alongside a soupy hot bowl of vegetables and tiny little potatoes from the farm shop which I sprinkled with mint and butter, thats the potatoes not the farm shop! Our suppers are three plates and a bowl accompanied by dinner jazz.

The fridge is groaning with cartons of plant milk, cans of beer, bottles of wine and containers of defrosting berries and fruits of the forest. I'm about to make my own yoghurt.

It is surreal. I open my eyes around 7.00, meditate, then snooze. Me and her are walking hard and fast for about an hour a day. My little legs can't keep up with hers, we smile at the yellow celandine and white anemones, we gather wild garlic by the stream and then, if they're amenable we stroke the lambs in the field. The old git stays behind to do his exercises for his damaged knee then organise the studio for voice overs - which him and her engineer whilst I do the yakking.

I know nature's having her way. I know she's having the last laugh. I trust that we will come through all this, and I believe that we will have changed enough to allow the coral reef to continue to renew itself. Robins and blackbirds, pigeons and magpies are visiting although for the third year running we haven't heard the cuckoo.

It's not so much suspended animation as a noisy silence. Making coffee for the neighbours, accepting parsnips in exchange. Planting potatoes and beans, tomorrow the peas and more. The old git has made a naked wig-wam of string for the runner beans and I've planted up trays of wheat grass and lettuce. Only three worms revealed themselves, so we've got a long way to go for the earth to really rally.

Moment by moment, step by step. It's taking one day at a time. Lighting candles at dinner time. Playing long forgotten albums. I've freckles on my shoulders from the sun, and today the apple blossom sprung their buds all pink and white.

My mother grew things from whatever she could lay her hands on - an East End girl with green fingers - lemons, tomatoes, cucumbers, pineapples - we've got a lemon plant on the window sill that the dawter grew from a pip. I started life in two rooms in Aldgate with mice and rats and black damp on the walls. I've lived in this cottage since 1984, always kept my Fenchurch Street bank account open, never giving up my birthplace needing to keep my feet in London. But now, when I sit on the swing set contemplating my next gardening task, I do not take for granted that it took one fucking little virus for me not to take anything for granted.

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

Comments

1. At April 25, 2020 6:38 PM Lyn Misselbrook wrote:

Honest envy from this flat dweller for your garden! But without that the beautiful pictures you paint with words of your walks, cooks and banters would not give me such solace. Much love to you, her and the old git!
From me, my patient (slightly jealous) Girl and the interloper Chewie who has fast suborned his way into my affection! Xxx

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