Sitting quietly, I watch a pair of long-tailed tits hanging upside down under the lean-to, picking off little corner pockets of spider eggs.
It’s almost May – my favourite month. When I first ‘got’ my allotment, the rent was 9 quid a year. Fast forward decades and we all own our plots. It’s a mammoth story that would make a great Mike Leigh or Ken Loach plot. When the owner of the land died, two tenants bought it without telling anybody, then got all high and mighty, trying to chuck folk off and treble the rent.
I devoured land law (via The Blue Book) [now The Green Book], formed an Association, and we bought the land. I subsequently transferred each and every plot back to the holder – each transaction being equivalent to buying a house. It was a vast amount of work – I could have just bought a piece of land without all the hassle. That wasn’t the point though – it was a fight for ordinary Burnley Wood people to have a bit of land close to home.
Not many people understood and I got a lot of abuse. ‘We’ve already paid us money’ was the response when I asked for the forty quid registration fee. I remained diplomatic, but privately I thought You’d be paying a solicitor ten times more to do the work I’m doing for free dicktard.
One of my big incentives was being told by our solicitor what I could and couldn’t do. Just watch me mate.
I was content with my tenth of an acre. Bit by bit, I developed it from a total weed patch. Spectacular failure became modest success and the large quantities of brick and stone that I dug up became paths and walls, augmented by bottle building from the ales and wines I’ve swilled.
It was a few years before I went to medical school, but I was already interested in native and medicinal plants. Other allotments came up for sale. I only bought them when no one else wanted them and I paid silly inflated prices. To me, buying land close to home, however non-arable and inhospitable, was infinitely more worthwhile than spending money on foreign holidays and flash possessions.
When the field next door came up, I didn’t want it, but I didn’t want bad neighbours either. It had been for sale for over a year before I bought it. I’m glad I did. It takes another few years to realise that I’ve got myself a little urban farmlet by mistake.
I planted native hedges all round – double in places to make leafy avenues. Severely pruned and laid, they look neat but bare in winter. Now is the time that the screen of incandescent greenery has burst forth – mainly hawthorn – creating a secret cloak. It’s a secret garden – just me and the trees and nature.
It’s been an unusually cold winter and spring, and as ever, I’m way behind. I haven’t even got the spuds in yet but still have loads from last year in the store – they’re sprouty but perfectly fine to eat. If I was organised, I would have had first earlies in containers in the greenhouse yonks ago, but I’m not.
As ever, all the lessons are there on that rugged hillside – as above, so below. It’s not all sweetness. There are some right sneaks and scoundrels – those big rodents and corvids.
I have a few bits in the ground: salads; Durham cabbage; early peas; broad beans and spinach. I also have several native wild plants in pots left over from last year when we were doing sales – I can’t be bothered this year – I’m low on mojo. The greenhouse is full of healthy plants, waiting for when it’s safe from frost, to plant them out.
With a bit of help from a few regulars, the main allotment is neater and tidier than it’s ever been and I’m determined to keep on top of it. With all the shit going on outside, community growing is more popular than ever. I did try and start a regular gardening group, but there was an incident, which knocked the wind out of my sails, prompting a step back.
It’s all about observation. Every year, something does unexpectedly well and vice-versa. This year, I’ve noticed that there are thousands upon thousands of sycamore seedlings everywhere – blocking gutters and swamping fields. It’s no joke, because they’re poisonous to grazing animals. The telly said that it was due to the weather conditions but I don’t believe them. There have been plenty of similar years weather-wise. I think that there’s something else going on with the atmosphere.
The fruit trees and bushes are looking very healthy. I’ve treated myself to three mulberry bushes – a traditional one and two quick-flowering dwarf ones. I’m trying to grow less and look after it properly and somehow circumvent the same mistakes that I make every year.
The four elements: earth; fire; water and air, are so applicable to gardening. Soil is everything and it’s a bit of a problem, because like so much else, shop-bought compost has skyrocketed in price and it’s difficult to find good stuff. I’m making good progress making my own, but still have a way to go. Imagine owning an allotment with a spring on it? Your own water supply? That would be the greatest of riches.
A doctor, a lawyer and a lecturer get up at dawn for no particular reason and speed off to the seaside for a flying visit. There are pink kiss me quick hats, perfect for M C Saga and cut-price turds with eyes.
Like I said, I don’t bother much with that friendship nonsense and I certainly wouldn’t know how to ask for help if I needed it. Some cunts turn out to be spectacularly decent which is a bit hard to handle. Other cunts turn out exactly as my intuition told me, and that’s far more straightforward. There are times when you find out who your friends really are.
It’s a while ago since I went to my friend Kath Reade’s meditation book launch at Hebden Bridge Town Hall. Coincidentally, our friend Tricia was there and she’s recently done a meditation teaching course. She was explaining the effects to someone else, and made reference to some of the insights gained from meditation being equivalent to psychic episodes. I’d never quite seen it like that before. I’m diligently keeping mine up. In a sea of uncertainty, there’s something comforting about it. Tricia was right. In association with weird tinglings, some truths become apparent. Ah yes. I was right after all.
It’s interesting that fighting is a part of all indigenous cultures and is somehow intrinsically tied in with spirituality. A lot of prophets (e.g. The Buddha) came from warrior traditions. My fascination with archery continues and I’m getting better – there’s something very grounding about it. Zen in the art of innit?
There are times when I despair. What can’t/don’t/won’t people see? Over the last three years, there has been the greatest transfer of wealth from poor to rich, ever seen in human history. It’s the same people at the top of the pyramid responsible for it all.
If a brand-new medical technology, was rushed out in a year and had never before been used on the human population, then it would be incumbent on the medical profession to exercise extreme caution and diligent observation. Some of us (a surprisingly small percentage) did. We were censored and ridiculed, but we were right. Sadly, my worst fears are coming true. Repeat doses of the medication lead to the destruction of a specific part of the immune system, in turn leading to a tsunami of immuno-compromise related disorders. I fear that what we’re seeing now is the tip of the iceberg and all I want is to be wrong. ‘I’m tired all the time’. ‘I keep getting infections.’ Please wake the fuck up.
More people are waking up, but will it be a trickle or a revolution? Going down the rabbit hole can get dark indeed. Some stuff, for which there seems to be compelling evidence, is beyond horror. Is there anyone out there naïve enough to imagine that people like Savile acted in isolation? Sausage fingers wrote him some lovely letters. Coronation? I’d rather shit in my hands and clap, than watch that shite. Who’s paying for it? ‘Allegiance to the …?’ You must be f’ing joking.
The art of propaganda was well-honed in WW2. Now, with AI and social media algorithms, it’s far more sophisticated. I’ve explained it all in previous posts. In brief, at the top of the pyramid a handful of families control everything. Next are the big corporations who own literally every industry – Black Rock and Vanguard are the major ones. Next are the foundations and the NGOs who effectively launder trillions. Next are the governments, most, but not all deeply infiltrated by the WEF. They have a plan for us, which was hatched decades ago.
A big part of propaganda is the notion of ‘controlled opposition’, where somebody appearing to challenge the mainstream narrative, creates division in those who would otherwise be united in opposition. The British used it in India a lot.
Climate change is as old as history – it wiped out the dinosaurs for instance. Alas, the destruction of the earth by the above people is real too – pollution destroying environments and food chains. The solution would be to round up the oligarchs, strip them of their assets and start a reversal process. Instead, intelligent articulate people are falling for the digital enslavement, where as always, the rich benefit and the poor suffer. C02 causing climate change is bollocks. Electric cars – unsustainable and hugely environmentally damaging – are bollocks. My VW van is 58 years old and can be repaired with a handful of tools anywhere in the world.
I’ve become a builder by mistake. I’m doing up a little house to be as off grid as possible. The builder who was doing it left, so it’s just me and Sam and it’s most chilled and convivial. If I could choose just one of my apprenticeships, it would be engineering – it taught me the fabric of manufacturing. It’s taken us ages to get the water connected – we replaced the original lead pipe. Last week, I plumbed in the toilet and cold water taps and it felt like a massive step forward. I can survive anywhere with a cold tap and a toilet. We’ve been far too conditioned to want shit that we don’t need. No microwaves or dishwashers in my territory.
I’m glad I wrote my book when I did. I set out my stall before the shiteshow. In the foreword, I wrote ‘It’s all about peering between the cracks and challenging the norm – doing things your own way without necessarily toeing the line’. More apt than ever.
I’ve started another. It was supposed to be an epic along LOTR lines, but I happened to mention an idea about two outrageous women to my 88 year old auntie, and she keeps asking for chapters.
My muse has gone at the moment. I’ve hardly touched my guitar recently. All five of the original Notsensibles were very briefly together yesterday at Nez’s funeral. It made me sad. Too many funerals of late and I’m weary. Our little lives …
Beltane tomorrow and Vesakha on Friday – the full moon of May. Onwards and upwards.
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