I did an inch of thinking this morning and made an inch of headway on yesterday’s decision to do a backward synopsis of my novel–in–edit.
I worked an inch of the allotment – under more than an inch of cold rain, digging up some old raspberry canes.
The whole plot is now under control, contained. Stuff for recycling is contained here, wood to be bonfired, there. We have frameworks for raised beds ready to be positioned. The new composting area is up and running. The rotten structure of the old one has been removed. Its mantle of weeds have been removed. I’m told the heap’s been there for many years, largely neglected. The compost is rich and beautiful (unlike me). It looks and smells delicious, like a gigantic knee-high loaf-shaped herbiforous cake extending across the width of the plot.
I transferred some of it last week into two large plastic containers we discovered – buried in junk – on the plot when we took it over last year. We learnt that it used to be a portable toilet – the sort you find at open air music festivals, which the plot’s previous tenant had sawed in half so he could get it in his car to fetch to the allotment. How he planned to put it back together again to use as a loo beats me. I’m glad he did it though, as now the two toilet halves are knee-deep raised beds. They are blue and white – boats. I’ll be changing that.
I filled the bottom third of the boats with a half-decomposed heap of weeds, mostly clods of grass. I then filled them almost to the top with some of this gorgeous ancient compost – I cut slices of it from either end of the loaf. On the very top – the icing on the cake – I spread a layer of horse manure. I’ll leave this to the elements over the winter, then in spring, I’ll work the manure in and plant it. If it doesn’t produce vegetables big enough to rival Findhorn’s, I’ll eat horse dung. My work has been inspected and admired – in much the same way as works at an art exhibition – and I’ve had a bunch of advice on what to grow in my boats, from my salty sea-dog neighbour.
Meanwhile, it’s harvest-time for this year’s crops. I’m astonished at the results of our first year. We did some things right. We were lucky with the weather; then, this is after all, Kent – the Garden of England. And it’s not finished, the growing. My Christmas potato crop is knee-high and flowering. We’ve bought fleece to cover it when the frosts come. Winter cauliflowers are waiting to be planted out.
The allotment is mirroring art. At the same time as making frames for more fruit and veggie beds I find myself constructing them for my art, writing and music. A backward synopsis for a novel-in-edit, becomes a series of sketchbooks for my art-project-in-progress; and a compilation, for my singing-project-in-progress, of aria, melodie, lied and art song. And the first question with each is what do I want to have achieved as an end result? Then: how do I make the journey towards this? In the end, I suspect these three projects are really sub-projects under the heading, Below The Line.
Art, writing, music. It’s harvest time. Time to sing the life fantastic.
How are you singing your life fantastic?
I’d like to know.