Would you like ice with that?

Would you like ice with that?

Preparing more seed trays today, I was hacking at frozen chunks of compost (stored inside the potting shed) with a hammer. I had turned the radio up three notches, but even the music wasn’t warming me from the inside and perhaps this is too much information, but I started to think about what I could write for a profile. Something along the lines of, ‘Current hobbies include staying warm and sleeping – goals: to do more of both.’ Doesn’t sound too attractive.


frozen soil

Yes those lumps are frozen solid…not too tempting for our seedlings

Ah well, enough of the sob story. Charlie is on day…SIXTEEN. If I ever doubted his ability to work I don’t now. Throughout this entire set up stage in sub-zero temperatures he has stayed in a borrowed camper van without electricity. Don’t ask why. I rather like his idea of sleeping in the glasshouse so you can see the night sky without getting too cold in winter or bitten in summer, but somehow I don’t think we would have room, given the density of our precious planting. I’ll have to seek glasshouses elsewhere in order to explore this new, sleep based hobby.

Suffice to say I have been initiated into the sacred world of microherbs. It’s top secret stuff as currently there are only 31 people in the country who know about the growing. Apparently I’m number 32. Even when soaking in the bath I’m recalling the exact saturation rate of grow-felt. Perhaps it’s best I spend spare time alone!!

the frozen yew

I tried to capture the sparkle of sunlight on the frozen yew, but somehow the twinkle never really comes across…and my fingers were pretty numb for picture taking today

Polytunnel Paul arrived today to look at the site and plan the construction with Charlie and Martin. We really appreciated him coming out in the snow, although I admit, I expect nothing less. I think that this cold snap has given me some sort of hard edge because after a tedious conversation to a centralised bank ‘helpline’ while stood in snow (I only get reception under the beech tree to the left of the church) and being told I should expect to use the computers whether I visited my local branch or not, I drove through the storm, marched through the waiting area and demanded to see a person. The somewhat stunned receptionist didn’t flinch too much as I removed my snow and mud covered gloves on her immaculate counter; she did everything she could to help. In minutes she did what would have taken me hours and directed me a handful of other useful services in the area. I imagined what it would be like to trade jobs. Warm. Nails would mean a manicure or pedicure or manicure (not essential hardware) and matt or gloss, types of lip salve not glasshouse masonry paint.  But where’s the challenge/excitement in that? Here’s an extract from a conversation with Chris Field of Field Compost:

Chris: ‘We’re freezing and we’ve only got a tiny heater.’

Me: ‘Well, ours is smaller and what do you mean cold, it’s warmer today, it’s snowing.’

Both: ‘Thank goodness for snow!’ lots of laughter.

Breaking news is that my friend Andrew Brogan of Henstead Exotic Garden- is Number 1 ‘Britain’s Best Garden’ according to Alan Titchmarsh last night. Among the shots of his sub tropical garden (right here in Suffolk) they showed heavy snow coating his assortment of palms, bamboos and bananas ‘Totally eccentric’ said Alan. What an incredible achievement.

This is for all of us who have the courage to see beyond the everyday in whatever we do:

‘No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.’ Helen Keller


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