Ranch:

We get back from Beatherder late on Monday and it’s still searingly hot. Helen has watered the greenhouse, and apart from the odd wilted plant on the plant stand everything is fine.

Tuesday remains hot and I bask about, picking the veg and watering. It’s all a bit wild and overgrown and I’m behind with everything. Despite my paltry efforts at plant sales, there’s no way I could make a commercial success out it – I just don’t have the business skills and even those that do, know how difficult it is to make a go of it. Nevertheless, we found out that there’s a niche interest in native wild plants and some of the unusual herbs that we’ve grown.  Making money isn’t the entire point though – it’s equally about growing a community of like-minded people, who can sidestep the monstrous system that is systematically destroying our livelihoods. That’s something that I think about a lot – how does one bridge the gap between being a curmudgeonly recluse and forming a network? I think I might have found the answer.

I’ve been slowly developing a one and a half acre piece of high clay land for decades now – the original allotment is 1/10th of an acre then I bought the field next door – I’m so glad that I did.

I think that if I worked on it 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, I could keep on top of it, but I have other stuff to do. The whole point of my endlessly repeated mantra is that you can live a normal working life, whether it be as a doctor or a teacher or whatever, and dedicate a proportion of your time to growing your own food within walking distance. The walking distance bit is important, because if ever there came an imaginary time when fuel became unaffordable, the benefit of growing on non-arable land would outstrip the benefit of transporting from arable land. Oops – I think it already happened.

First Echinacea

 

It’s late on Wednesday when Peach phones to tell me that Ticker has died. I honestly can’t remember much about the next couple of days, but needless to say, his inner circle of closest friends meet regularly so sort stuff and support Carmen. Like I said last week, the division between friends and family blurred into insignificance a long ago for folk like us, and by golly, he had some good friends who supported him through thick and thin when he was poorly.

At one meeting Annie says ‘WWTD?’. ‘What?’ I ask. ‘What would Ticker do?’ 

That’s been my guiding light since – ‘What would Ticker do?’ ‘What would Ticker want?’ ‘What would Ticker think?’ He certainly wouldn’t be mawping about – he’s watching us from the sidelines with his inscrutable scowly grin, loving the fact that we’re all running round after him sorting shit. It’s going to be the biggest punk rock party ever – just the beginning of a resurrection of everything Rock & Roll in his memory – gigs, DJ nights, records and so on.

Onions

 

Back on the ranch, I notice a palpable sense of peace and stillness. Despite my doubts about my abilities, this secret area has a good atmosphere. I ask myself whether it’s possible for one person to create a space with a special atmosphere, or was it there to start with and I just curated it?

That’s when I realise why it’s so quiet. There are no sparrows. Since spring, there have been hundreds of them, chirping incessantly all day every day. I walk round the hedges and the pile of brushwood that they loved to congregate in and there are none. Not one. What happened to them? Where did they go? I’d really like to know.

I’ve had a crisis of compost this year, and something has made a lot of plants very unhealthy, with curled leaves. I’ve narrowed it down to the compost that I’ve got from the mountain next door. I’m hoping it’s because I’ve used manure too near to the top of the pile, which hasn’t broken down enough. I’m working on a composting system that uses the mowed grass from the field and chipped hedge clippings – I must get round to making my composting machine – a rotating drum with spiral blades that will cut up seeds and eggs in the compost.

Tomatoes

 

I suddenly get disproportionately upset and angry about gooseberries and redcurrants. I haven’t had time to pick them. I’m raging at myself for growing the fuckers then leaving them on the bushes to rot – someone, somewhere could use them and I’m too useless to sort it. It becomes a sustained despondency. It’s nothing to do with Ticker right? It couldn’t possibly be?

I ring Mog. ‘Concentrate on the successes.’ She says, when I snivel about the berries. It’s fortunate that she happens to be going round to Dewy’s with Jon and she kindly invites me. It’s a bit of lifesaver to be honest and we have the most convivial evening. Dewy has been at the organic gardening/permaculture thing longer than I have. Jon has just got an allotment and Mog is a keen gardener. We discuss the notion of linking up like-minded gardeners. Jon too is a smutist, so the usual ‘purple plums’ etc phrases abound. Mog sends me a thoughtful message – sensitive and intuitive. ‘It’s Friday…’ I wonder whether it may have originated from Growler.

There have been quite a few successes this year. We’ve managed to grow a few more native wild plants and unusual herbs to seed – seeds are everything. There are loads of potatoes, peas, beans and tomatoes.

I crash at Dewy’s, have my breakfast at Booth’s, a brew at Mog’s, then I walk to Boyces in Nelson to replace the toy bows and arrows that were nicked off the ranch. It’s shut. Never mind. I walk nearly all the way home then phone Helen who kindly comes and picks me up.

Message of sympathy

 

Down the Rabbit Hole

‘What’s the matter?’ Says Louise.

I’m stamping about my room like a loon. I’ve seen a thing on the computer, saying that some Co-ops down South have installed facial recognition software in their stores. At first I think it might be a spoof but it’s not – it’s in The Guardian (here). How come there isn’t a national outcry? Can’t people see how utterly Orwellian it is? How come there aren’t bricks through every one of the windows of the stores involved? Once again I roll out my stock phrase ‘At which point did the English become so spectacularly dull and bourgeois?’

The doings of the creeping slime continues unabated under our noses, with the charade of the next pre-chosen WEF puppet occupying the not-news.

There are some interesting papers emerging regarding the role of the spike protein and it’s not good news. As I feared, something about it knocks off an essential part of T cell function and who knows what this will cause 10, 15, 20 years down the line? 2 years is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of medical science. Sadly, the first child manslaughters are coming to light. I despair reading a BMJ article about a consultant who has run Covid wards since the beginning of the pandemic. He, like me, never caught it when exposed to the early virulent strain and now (after his 3 jabs) he gets it. If someone as well-informed as him doesn’t see it, what hope is there?

But there is hope. The Dutch farmers continue to blockade and the Italian prime minister is ousted. In the UK, the Trade Union movement gathers pace again, spear-headed by the wonderfully articulate Mick Lynch. Of course the fascists are doing their best to destroy it, but more and more people are joining forces and objecting.

Those of us who have investigated, know exactly what’s happening. We can describe the pyramid – the families, the corporations, the foundations, the organisations, the puppet western governments etc. More and more people are waking up to being completely fucked over by them. For those who haven’t spotted it yet, monkeypox is the next fear episode.

Dwelling on all this bad energy is draining and I’m reminded to concentrate on the positives and help to form the communities that run outside their planned usury. 

Notsensibles and Ticker

 

Rock & Roll

… is all around, because everything Ticker did was Rock & Roll. I record one of my quieter songs on Tuesday night: …. Oh Noble noble art, save a body and take my soul. I do it after asking WWTD? He would want us all to carry on doing our weird arty shit.

When Ticker used to come round, I’d sometimes say ‘Right Ticker, it’s time for your bedtime story.’ I’d then read him an extract from a valve amp book or a technical manual – yet another of my shit jokes that only he got.

…inadequate filtering on the main high voltage supply. Only one 16 mfd capacitor was on the main high voltage supply. An extra 16 mfd 450 volt capacitor should be installed in parallel with the one that goes from the hot side of the standby to ground.

MC Saga at Beatherder

 

Our next gig is at Solfest. The Strange are playing and I’m doing my thing as a 3-piece with Gaz and Tyler. We rehearsed on Thursday and it was good to get back to doing my own original stuff. It goes without saying that a Ticker song has sprung into my head. It unashamedly borrows from one of his favourite songs – Plastic Bertrand’s Ca Plane pour moi (which is French slang for ‘That works for me’). I think MC Saga will want to perform it. He was spotted at Beatherder.

Smart suits, cool hats, hubba hubba gum.
Hey up (=Allez hop)
Ooh ooh ooh ooh
Ticker le Punk

On Saturday, when I’d be normally skulking around on my own on the ranch, I offer to take Louise out instead. We go to Tod and Sam comes with us. Sam and I meet Tyler in the Lion whilst Louise checks out the shoppies. Does she buy anything? Of course she does.

I chat most convivially to WAKA, Mickey and Louis. They all knew Ticker and are most sympathetic. Mickey’s dad is Bones, who was a big part of our punk scene back in the day – all those weaving threads – past, present and future.

Tyler, Sam and I talk about keeping the Notsensibles thing going and maybe going on tour. None of us were that bothered about going to Beatherder at first, but in the end it was great fun to be amongst great friends. Casey took some fantastic pics as part of her Saturday Town project – people just chilling, being whatever they want without judgement – check them out here

And that’s it. That’s the answer. The value of friends and family really is beyond measure.

It’s Lammas tomorrow – another of those pagan dates – we’ll be doing the usual on the ranch – an ale and a fire.