is this thing on?
it seems that it takes a very long time for me to get round to writing anything at the moment. partly i blame the facebook. It’s a lazy excuse. Take responsibility.
Am I so boneheaded that I would rather a) scroll through blip after blip of my friends’ odd choices of what counts as news or some lunatic theories about how the world works and b) take part in the same ridiculous charade of self-expression by allying myself with somebody else’s thoughtshower? Yes, clearly, yes I am precisely that boneheaded.
I heard two things this week that brought me back to myself. "You need to express yourself more" and "Put your own house in order before going around telling other people how they could improve their lives." These are not new thoughts. The voices that say this kind of stuff to me have been with me for a while. But I’ve been ignoring the voices. Taking the FB meds and ignoring the voice within.
This morning I popped out to have a closer look at the broccoli that is growing in my newly-made vegetable patch. Now there are two things (at least) to know.
One is that I didn’t set out to grow broccoli. I mean I did, but not properly, big plants, I had a packet of sprouting purple broccoli seeds in the cupboard because I tried them as an addition to my sprout mix (usually lentils, mung and adzuki beans) but they grew a little more slowly and weren’t very interesting, a bit cress-like, and so I gave up on that. And then with lockdown I thought I’d see how they turned out if you let them grow for a few days so I sprinkled some on a few pots of compost and watered and waited and they kept growing and so then I planted them out in the bed when I prepared that, but I was still waiting for them to die. And they haven’t, they’re too close to each other and this weekend I was thinking of thinning them out a little and transplanting some.
Oh the other thing to know, is that I have close to zero experience or knowledge of how to grow anything that I actually intend to eat. My gardens over the years have been decorated with flowers that older relatives would come and plant for me. I’ve had a compost heap for the last three years since we moved to Guildford but it’s been input-only. That meant when I did open it up a few weeks ago there was loads of good stuff in there, but it was bloody hard work getting it out. And, as I’ve discovered, there was a lot of un-rotted organic matter in there – like seeds, so I have an interesting collection of weeds that might turn into something edible.
So that’s why I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube and learning by killing things.
Anyway this started as a story about finding bugs on my broccoli. So that was one of the things that I did that was standing between me and writing, I had to locate and clean a spray bottle, load it up with soapy water and give the little blighters a good old soaking.
run, fat boy, run
The other unexpected facet of later middle-age for me is that I became a runner a couple of years ago. Of course I started out as a plodder and waddler, but with some practice and perseverance and the amazing C25K programme I convinced my body and my mind that I could both run for more than thirty minutes at a time and that in that time I could cover five kilometres or more. Today, for example, I ran for forty minutes and that meant about six and a half thousand metres.
It still astounds me that I can do it and continue to do it, but it has helped a great deal in this time of pandemic houseboundness to have a good reason to start every other day with a bit of a bounce around the neighbourhood. And as I am fortunate enough to live next door to greenery, it’s a pleasant aesthetic experience too (though not for anyone coming in the other direction, approached by a sweaty bald man in his fifties).
but the writing though
I suppose getting into the garden YouTube sub-genre has helped shock me into seeing what a load of horrible imitation broadcast media stuff there is out there. This isn’t what we started this stuff for. This isn’t what I got excited about blogging in order to do. I don’t want my blog to be just a kind of wannabe Guardian column (or worse!) but it can become like that, very easily, especially if I don’t write anything at all and then it’s a wannabe Guardian column that never gets written.
And running has taught me to just keep going, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and trust that you’ll get to 5k (or not) today. Just keep putting one word after another, Lloyd, and trust that it will make sense (not to anyone else necessarily) or rather that the doing of it will move you into a space that is different from the one you awoke to.
I also did some traditional blog software ridiculousness before I started to actually write. On this occasion it meant using the block editor on wordpress.com for the first time. But this has all been one block, a Markdown block and the only formatting I’ve used in the headings. But it’s not hurting anyone, is it?
never end a blog post with a question mark.