Friday, 27 January 2012

Guest post: Hope (by Michael Baker)

A gardenless gardener
Young adulthood. It’s a cacophony of highs and lows, triumphs and failures, anticipation and trepidation, as my future seems to rest on every action and reaction. Sound familiar gardeners? I share your pain.

One thing that youth and economics hasn’t so far provided me with is the sanctuary of defensible green space; so I get a glimpse of what I may have one day through the tales of Tom’s blog, hear about the trials of nature on Gardeners Question Time, and steal wistful moments with the keepers of the allotments behind my friends house. 

But my flatmates and I share a weekly joy that must be akin to what you gardeners feel when your sprouts are a sprouting, carrots are a carroting and Swedes a sweding...our organic veg box from NEOG (North East Organic Growers). It is our window on to the wonderful world of muddy, knobbly, misshapen, organic veg that garden dwellers are aspiring to every day, and I want to tell you of the joy it brought me on one fateful winter’s eve.

It is January, and we are in Britain; gardeners know of the anxious state this brings as every chilly eve brings the threat of frost and at any moment we could be cast into the darkness of a 2010 style freeze (I still remember the shock I felt when I discovered my parents Yuka had been claimed...goodbye old friend). Now walk in my shoes and bask for a moment when you realise that you have no garden to guard (I will allow you that) but this comes at a great cost; 15,000 words to write in three weeks! My career dependent on my performance! Graduate scheme applications! The highest youth unemployment rate in 20 years! Cuts, cuts and cuts! Euro-crisis! No job! No money! No hope! And garden! 

In the midst of the crushing pressure felt most acutely in this awful month, I was walking home from another 10 hour session in the library when I remembered that today was Thursday and there was a glimmer of hope due to be collected from a kind old ladies house round the corner – our veg box. Joy and perspective rushed over me in the knowledge that soon I would hold in my hands that scintillating smell of earthy dampness, the mystery of today’s contents would entice me as I carried it home and when I got there I would spill it onto the side and leaf excitedly through its contents.

When I got home, what did I find? Buxom beetroots, pert potatoes, lovely leeks and a host of other goodies, all ready to be peeled and chopped and souped and stewed. I began, and all worry washed away with the sticky mud down the sink, and in the meditation of preparation I realised that nothing else matters in this cruel world so long as I have nature to nourish me. So sayonara stress! Aurevoir applications! Goodbye deadlines! I have a leek and potato soup to make, with enough butter to make a GP wince and enough garlic to ensure my singleton status for at least a week. In small moments, veg perfect be.  

Michael was bold, brash even. Not one to wait for an invitation, he sent me this message, along with a fully formed post:

Hi Tom,
Hope your well! I was inspired by your plea for blog posts, and though I don't have a garden wanted to write something about my veg box, which really cheered me up one particularly depressing day. Feel free to edit it (in fact it'll feel weird if you don't!) and i don't know if its what your looking for for the blog, but I hope you and your readers enjoy it if it goes up!
All the best,

And within days he was up here displaying his wares to all. You too can be part of this emotional celebration and find out just how much fun it can be to bare all - who needs Gok Wan when you've got Hapless eh?

Email or tweet me / @haplessgardener

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The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

My photo
I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.