I open the door after a week away. Everything is overgrown and all the beds need weeding. The embers of heady summer remain, with a few more hot sunny days to come.
The fruit trees are dripping – figs, damsons, apples, greengages. There are even 7 almonds on the recently planted tree. There are bucket loads of beans to pick and loads of tomatoes in the greenhouse. Courgettes have become marrows in no time.
Never ever have I been more grateful for this secret hillside rambling field, hedges and garden. Jobs that would normally bore me, such as watering and harvesting are soothingly absorbing.
I spend the week getting up there as quickly as possible after sorting other chores, and locking the door behind me, with no desire whatsoever to do anything else, or see anybody.
I spend nearly two days clearing out the greenhouse and tidying it impeccably. I get rid of all the tired straggly plants and just keep the strongest, which I give a topping of compost and organic chicken shit pellets. It’s a psychological oasis of tidiness – a re-starting point.
I’m conscious that this sunny weather can’t last for ever and I tackle dry-weather jobs: creosoting the door and getting the hay in from the field.
I’ve gathered bits of hay before but only enough to fill a couple of compost bins. This year, I let the grass in the field grow for a lot longer before mowing it, so there’s a lot more. So much in fact, that after filling 6 cubic metre sacks, I run out of storage space so I decide to make a hay wain in the middle of the field – it’s easy, I just pile the hay into a big cube. It’s soon head height, so I build a smaller cylindrical one further down.
There’s something primordially satisfying about gathering hay using the same design of rake that’s been used for centuries. What will we do if there’s no fuel for the tractors? We’ll have to go back to the pre-industrialisation farming methods.
It strikes me that there’s probably enough hay to feed a couple of small animals over winter, but I’m not interested in livestock yet. I’m using the hay to make compost, along with wood chippings from the hedge. If I can make my own compost, I can be certain that it’s 100% organic. I’m already having some success with the 3-bay compost bin and for the first time, I have a batch that’s weed seed free.
Elsewhere, I turn my mind to the bigger projects, such as finishing the little off grid solar and wind substation. Making your own power is going to be a no-brainer, given the fascists’ plans to make it unaffordable for ordinary people.
Mog and Helen visit. Helen has done the watering when I’ve been away.
‘When’s your birthday?’ Enquires Mog, as we inspect the hazel trees for nuts.
‘I already told you.’
‘Just have a party you miserable ****.’
It’s seed collection time. There are so many plants that you can save seed from – making you self-sufficient for that particular plant. I’d highly recommend Real Seeds seed saving guide on their website. If you’re starting from scratch, it’s well worth experimenting with several varieties, then settling on those that do particularly well in your area, then maybe try one new variety a year after that. I’ve even managed to pollinate some courgettes – you have to pollinate the female flower, before it opens, then tie it up so that insects can’t introduce pollen from other squashes.
There’s lots of bed space vacated by the spuds and if I was organised (I’m not) I’d have lots of plants ready to go in. I do have a few pot-bound leeks, onions and beetroot, which I’ll put in anyway. It’s not too late to plant salads, radishes, spring cabbage, spinach and so on.
I’ve grown echinacea and a few other medicinal plants for the first time. I still haven’t given up on growing plants to sell. When I’m feeling less reclusive, I’m going to invite like-minded people round and between us, we can share knowledge and perhaps build up a local food-growing network.
The outside world:
One advantage of being away for a week is having a break from the internet. When I get back, I catch up on the pandemic science and it’s not good. I maintain that talking about this stuff along with gardening is relevant, as it all relates to health and is inextricably linked. Social media is banning questioning gobshites like me left, right and centre – I might ditch it all one day, so feel free to subscribe to keep up with my ramblings.
Excess deaths are rising exponentially, particularly in younger age groups and birth rates are down. New cancers and relapses are occurring in terrifying numbers.
I don’t deal in conspiracy. I stick to hard facts, triangulated by my medical training, looking at the science and what I’m seeing around me.
I remain convinced that the spike protein is responsible for numerous adverse events, affecting all areas of the body. Broadly it, knocks off a particular aspect of T-cell function, leading to immune system impairment. It’s also pro-thrombotic (i.e. leading to clots).
The paradox is that both Covid and the vaccines induce the spike protein. Without a dedicated robust trial, where the unvaccinated are used as controls – particularly the much rarer unvaccinated, who haven’t yet had Covid, then it’s almost impossible to prove to the doubting masses that it’s the jab causing much more adverse events than Covid itself.
John Campbell is waking up slowly and continues to cover excess deaths, adverse events, natural immunity and other stuff not mentioned by the MSM, on his channel
Oh the dark horror of giving these medications with no long-term safety data to children. Their risk-benefit ratio clearly shows that they don’t need it, yet such a small proportion of the medical profession is speaking out against it.
I still can’t work out exactly what this means for longer term health. I want to be wrong, but I’m not so far.
Absorbing myself in farming is the solution to all this doom and gloom, but an anxiety over what’s coming is ever present.
The powers that be are taking away our ability to feed and shelter ourselves, right under our noses, as they award themselves ever-increasing grotesque profits. All over the world, food production is hugely down. Holland is one of the biggest food exporters in the world and their Prime Minister Mark Rutte, a well-known WEF member is trying to destroy Dutch farming. There are examples everywhere and still people don’t see it.
As poverty hits in winter, the hospitality industry will inevitably collapse due to astronomical rises in overheads and lack of customers.
The same bunch of ultra-rich, are destroying and demoralising populations, until they will no longer have the ability to gather together and resist.
A lot of people are really suffering and I remind myself of my stock phrase: Above all be kind grumpy fucker.
As ever, the science is eternally highjacked by politics, duping and clouding the truth.
The installing of another puppet Prime Minister is an irrelevance – it’s a bit like ordering a dog turd and tonic, then asking whether it’s a chihuahua turd or a bulldog turd – doesn’t really matter.
When the queen goes, there’ll a smokescreen of ultra-nationalism to cover up more political skulduggery.
I’m hearing more murmurings of a financial collapse towards early October. Money in the bank could lose all its value? Yikes.
I’m still looking at quick growing willow as a fuel source and I’ve nerdily been watching videos on converting lawn-mower engines into steam engines.
Rock & Roll
My week away is at Solfest. I go up on Tuesday to start teaching the first aid course and to help out at The Palais de Phonix. I’m thrilled to have been invited. It’s baking hot and sunny all week. It’s most interesting seeing a festival being built before it opens. It’s a beautiful part of the world up there, with a view of the Solway Firth and striking expansive skies with a light all of their own.
I’ve built a simple slatted bed for the back of the van, and after a shopping trip for the finest luxury items, I’m in full glamping mode. As crew, we get free food at a dedicated convivial crew area, but I confess that I resort to the odd bit of haut-cuisine back at the van and the occasional mis en bouteille aux chateau.
As a nervous whippet, I am not without anxiety. There’s a problem with the electronic Skiddle tickets, which isn’t my fault. I’ve meticulously submitted all our details (the two bands and all our guests). They arrive in dribs and drabs, and every time, I’m phoned to go to the box office to try and sort it out. They have all our names in front of them, but they’re saying all our tickets have already been scanned which they haven’t. The highlight is shutting the box office door in Anna’s face on Thursday night. What’s she supposed to do? Sleep in the car park on her own? In the end, I get a bit of help from friends and a girl at the artists’ wristband shed exercises a bit of kindness and common sense. I’m eternally grateful to her – so much so, that I take her a present the next day.
I empathise with the security staff – they have a thankless task. We have our own at The Palais de Phonix, who can exercise a bit more tact and diplomacy than the big security firms.
I confess that the quasi-paramilitary approach of many of the security staff is my least favourite aspects of festivals.
‘Sorry you can’t come through here, you’ve got the wrong wristband’.
‘But I just walked through 5 minutes ago and my van is literally just there in front of you’.
‘You’ll have to walk round mate’.
It’s a minor annoyance. I smile and walk round.
Alas the devil’s voice in my head invents the cunt wristband, before I can stop it. It’s a festival dicktard, not a prison camp.
Phil G gifts me a fluorescent waistcoat and I doff an air of quasi-authority, above and beyond my station. I have joked many times about the ubiquity of the hi-viz jacket (dogs, children, you name it). Finally the joke is on me.
I make friends with the lovely welfare team – I’m camped right behind the welfare tent.
I give some of them a book, and explain that whenever I sign one, I can never think of a single thing to write.
Debbie suggests writing ‘Sort yourself out you twat’ in hers.
It’s always nice to meet up with like-minded people who appreciate the vernacular.
Julie says ‘Stop being such a mother hen’. ‘Go and lay some eggs’. She’s referring to my constant concerns over my brood.
‘They’re all adults’. She says. Just let them get on with it.
She’s right of course.
The Strange play on Friday aft and we play on Sat aft, with Tyler drumming for us both. Gary (Notsensibles bass player) arrives just in the nick of time, before we go on stage. It all goes well.
On Saturday, after we’ve played, everyone is safely in and I can finally relax. The same bunch of us who have been coming to festivals for the last 12 years or so are still at it, which is most gratifying. Back at their camp, we swill ales and I am given far too much unquantified rum. Oops I’ve overdone it. My cosy bed beckons and I’m oblivious to the noise.
They all go home on Sunday morning. I have to stay, because I’m blocked in. Suddenly I’m a bit homesick. I walk the four miles to Aspatria on a scary road, not realising that the far more beautiful Silloth is much closer.
My niece Esme and her lovely baby Casper are also there. They come back with me in the van. Casper is so sweet.
The bank holiday traffic is very heavy. When we finally park outside the house, I am overjoyed to be back.
Would I go again? Well I’ve said never again before now.