Sometimes you have to unplug from the hubbub and focus on the here and now. The worms beavering away in the soil, the broad beans fattening up in their pods, the courgettes growing so fast you can almost here them stretching. All things I have missed in previous years, distracted by the inbox and the To Do list. Silly really, because I spend all spring sowing and prepping to fill the patch, and all winter longing for it to be so again, but somehow, when the time does come I miss it because of the dreaded Busy-ness.
But not this time. Because today is my last day of real work for six weeks. All through August my diary is blank. I’ll be heading to the patch every day, yes to get my hands in the soil, but also just to sit and watch. Perhaps I’ll finally sit still for long enough to work out where the rabbits are breaking in.
I’ll start by planting out the leeks, which is long overdue. And for me, this task typifies why I’m so looking forward to a month offline and in the patch. Here’s how it goes:
Make a hole in the soil. Drop a leek in it. Move along eight inches. Make a hole in the soil. Drop a leek in it. Move along eight inches. You have a hundred leeks to go.
The task in hand will take just enough of my concentration to keep my mind in the moment. I realise I sound like a hippy, but, for me, this is a form of meditation. I have one job to do and it is uncomplicated and satisfying. I am utterly in the moment. And the moment is calm and gentle.
As I dibber, I will imagine all the other vegetable gardeners over hundreds of years who have dibbered and puddled-in their leeks just as I am now (though they may have done so in July like they’re supposed to). It is like stepping out of time, doing work that had been done for years in a landscape that has looked this way for generations. It is a world away from that laptop and the To Do list. Eccentric perhaps, but I find this connection to the landscape, the soil and to the generations of growers before me very restorative and I can’t wait to get started.
After a month in the patch, I’m off on holiday for two weeks and then back in the saddle by mid-September with more blogs and the next instalments of my monthly supper club on 27th September (just 2 spots remaining) and 25th October (more seats remaining!)
But before I go, if you enjoy the G&G blog and would like to see it showered in glory then please nominate it for ‘Best Special Interest Blog’ in the Saveur Magazine Blog Awards 2019. It’s one of those awards where you have to get a certain – and mysteriously unclear – number of nominations to make the shortlist. To nominate, click here and fill in the form (it takes 15 seconds) with the blog URL – glutsandgluttony.com – then click the ‘Best Special Interest’ button. I’m an anchovy compared to the tuna-sized blogs who will be entering so every single vote makes a massive difference. Thank you, thank you, thank you and see you in September.