It’s wet. Again. I’m repeating myself. Reporting the same old things every week. It’s just that it’s wetter than ever ever before. Certainly in my memory. The ranch as always, is the as above, so below barometer. The track runs non-stop like a mini river. The actual spring gushes like a real river. The drain has burst halfway down the track and water flows onto the road below. The areas outside the muck midden and leading into the field to the sloping beds are slutchy mud baths.
I had a dawning realisation a few years ago, that because of the natural damp climate round here, it’s probably the best place in the country to live. It might not seem like it at the moment with all this wet but I think I’m right. The ranch is both flood and drought resistant. The long downward sloping beds in the field certainly get hammered, but only the relatively new top layer of woodchip manure gets washed off – the water naturally forms rivulets along the lower paths between the beds.
I had no idea when I was planting the mammoth twin hedges and digging a well in the boggiest area, that I was designing a flood management system – that’s just an accident. The overflow drains from the well are both running like full-on taps and the spiralling run-off around the outside runs like a river into the fledgling terraced watercress beds then drains down the field. The rest of the field is wet, but not boggy and I’m hoping that it won’t affect the growing season too much.
Meanwhile, large swathes of arable land down South are flooded which surely will affect forthcoming crops + 60% of our veg is imported from Europe and surely Brexfuckup will result in increased prices. The argument for growing clean food locally vs importing it from arable land strengthens by the day.
The last month has been a whirlwind of gig organising – first the punk gig at the library, then last night, our vegan street food pop-up at Jim’s vegetarian cafe in Colne, with us and Leon playing. Gwen and I have been planning it for ages and she in particular put a vast amount of work into preparing the food. I just helped out a bit and sorted the music and other bits and pieces. It was a great night and was just the next episode in a buzz of stuff happening locally. Jim’s has been going for 38 years and is a great place to put on small scale gigs – it has a lovely atmosphere. Ruth compered and did her poetry. We played our achingly quiet and slow songs (finishing with Notsensibles Because I’m Mine), some of them for the first time then we backed Leon. Hip hop in a cafe? Cool as fuckety-fuck-fuck.
We over-anticipated and had far more food and booze than we needed but that’s the way we wanted it – we learned the ropes so to speak. If we were to do it again, it would be far more streamlined and efficient. Ditto with the punk gig – I’ve learned a lot about organising. Exhausting but worth it, because it’s a joyous thing bringing the renegades, mavericks and lateral thinkers together. That surely is our way forward as fascism runs unhindered under our noses.
At the other ranch, trolleys with patients on continue to line the corridors for several hours. Once again, I re-iterate that no television programme could ever come remotely close to showing what it’s really like. We do the best with what we’ve got and we do it very well – if you are truly fucked and end up with us, you have the best chance that humanity can provide. If you are moderately fucked, we will still give you the best possible. If you are mildly fucked – perhaps just passing, or can’t get a GP appointment, we will still look after you but please don’t take the piss – we are unimaginably stretched. My little recruitment film captures a tiny glimpse in a fly on the wall stylee. At first I was embarrassed about shoving a camera in my colleagues faces but now I don’t give a shit – they have come to accept is as part of my general village idiot role. I’ve got into the habit of taking my camera to work ‘just in case’. I was on a paper work day last week and I kept on popping out on the shop floor to chit chat. I needed a shot of Eimhear so I just went out with the camera and filmed her without warning. She laughed and laughed and wagged a tendon hammer at the camera.
Our biggest problem is being grid-locked/bottle-necked – nowhere to see patients. As medical coordinators, we try and speed thing up by ordering x-rays etc as people arrive. I go out to find a patient in x-ray, and he presumes I’m a male nurse – that’s flattering. I don’t mind. He later says ‘You don’t sound like a doctor’ – he goes on to explain that I’m more down to earth than other doctors he’s come across – I’m proud of that. I’ve never gathered any twat affectations thankfully and that goes for all A&E people – it’s the nature of the game – above all be kind.
The food debate continues. All the junk food companies realise that plant-based food is cheaper than cheap meat so they’re all on the bandwagon. Then there’s the ethical debate. My debate is no debate – just eat what I can grow. I haven’t time to keep animals so it happens to be vegan. The next thing to think about is field to plate – I’ll grow it then pass it onto the chef. I feel like I have an ethical obligation to become a good food grower – people keep asking me for tips and maybe I should write a gardening book after all – Gardening for gormless gits.
I’m thrilled to bits to be hanging out with the cool kids. We have more gigs coming up.