There is a pervasive sense of the apocalyptic flavoured with despondency, which seems somehow to be linked to the changing worldwide weather. The Brexit fuck-up degenerates further into weary farce. Several millionaires with shares in dodgy companies have the fates of ordinary hard-working people in their hands. Once upon a time the ordinary people would have revolted and disposed of them, but we are now so hopelessly intoxicated by the internet that there is no chance of that. Nothing about these billi-millionaires represents me or the poor and hopeless of Burnley and Salford.
A lunatic has gunned down 50 or so people in one of the most peaceful trouble-free countries on earth. Polarisation increases and hatred grows and once again the internet and social media in particular is responsible.
Meanwhile up here, it’s still lashing with rain. Within minutes of the kindling bursting into flame, the stove pipe is searingly hot and the rear shedlet gets toasty. The trees are not despondent. They are in bud. The hawthorn leaves that first appeared below the window behind me in early Feb are now fully formed and lots of stuff is starting to come up.
And so it is that the relentless mundane tasks up here are a great leveller – steadying, comforting. I’m planting as many seeds as possible under the lean-to and the four propagators. The reward? Food – grossly under-estimated until you’re hungry. What’s the point when you can just go to the supermarket? Unless you’re in Yemen or Syria or Palestine that is – or maybe even post-Brexit Britain. Who knows?
So that’s the answer when things in the outside world seem overwhelmingly apocalyptic. I can cultivate my inner world – i.e. the ranch – and hopefully some of it trickles into the outer world. As above, so below y’all. That’s where art comes in – crafting something impeccable, inspired by nature – the exquisite beauty of the blackthorn blossom. Putting cryptic things in songs that you could never possibly say out loud and so on.
Along with the other two ‘Winter projects’, the fledgling greenhouse, now in its third year of uncompletion, remains incomplete, although I have managed to get the first two sections of roof frames on. I planned the initial foundations badly, so had to add more at the front with two extra supports. Now it looks more like a medieval Viking hall than a greenhouse. Routine tasks take priority, so the projects often get left behind.
I used the transport box on the back of the tractor for the first time last week to take some fencing stuff up to the top of the field. Simple things. The week before, the tractor broke down – it just slowed and wouldn’t start again. After a lifetime of messing with old vehicles, I knew straight away that it was a fuel blockage. I left it where it was for the night and did a bit of research using that double-edged sword that is the internet. The next day, despite a torrent of doubts about the wisdom of having a sixty-four-year-old tractor, I find the blockage quickly and once again, I marvel at what an astounding piece of engineering it is. I made the right choice. Sometimes, older is better. Here is something that I can fix myself with a handful of tools – no expensive un-mendable computerised boxes.
I used the van during the hot spell to bring up a load of timber and sand and cement. It’s looking very tired. I keep thinking of selling it but I can’t until I’ve fulfilled my ambition of doing a plant sale in it. I’ve started planting pots of herb seeds to sell.