An unplanned interval

We have all been overtaken by events and overwhelmed by the unexpected. For some it has had tragic consequences; for others is has caused untold anxiety and stress. There is no one who is not affected. This has never happened in my lifetime and I am sixty four. Like war but not a war, it all began with a sense of unreality. I have read about the phoney war of September of 1939. Glorious weather and everyone waiting. This is how the beginning of the pandemic felt here on the west coast of Scotland during the month of March.

Lock Down has had a profound effect on me and as most European countries now emerge, I have begun to reflect on what I have done and how I have used the time. Today I awoke feeling ungrounded, an unusual feeling when living here as there is always so much to do. It was useful because it made me reflect and write a list of what I have done to fill the last three months.

“bracken whacking gardening drawing reading weeding vegetable growing talking to my son chatting with my grandson on zoom sewing masks for family and friends cooking with foraged food walking on the beach with the dog sea swimming white wine zoom yoga three times a week collective household cleaning once a week speaking with friends to check they are safe and well listening to birdsong watching the fledglings on the bird table putting on weight”

It is amazing how long it all takes.



The Secret Lives of Midges.

We are on holiday in Italy as those of you who follow me on Instagram will know. I hadn’t intended to add anything to my blog whilst away, after all we are meant to be on holiday.
However, I have been persuaded otherwise in order to share with you something of another passion I have, the conservation and respect for Wild Places. As you will all realise, I am not a signed up believer in development necessarily meaning progress. In fact, where we live it is most often landscape degradation on an industrial scale, presumably in the belief that there is so much land, a little intervention wont hurt. But it only takes a very small alteration by man to have a disproportionate effect and unfortunately the pursuit of profit overrides all.
So it was with considerable amazement that I received a number of messages whilst away, telling of my appearance first on a trailer, broadcast on Farming Today and then on BBC Scotland giving an interview about midges; the bane of our lives especially as gardeners but an inherent part of living on the west coast. I still have to hear this interview, as i player is not available outside the United Kingdom so await my return with interest! Listening to the trailer makes me sound like the midges only and best friend but I will wait and see. What I do know is that as we live in a temperate rain forest, one almost unique to the world, I am sure the midge must fit there somewhere, perhaps quite near the bottom of the food chain. My view is therefore that we must put up with them as we live in such a rare and special place and we need to regard and respect the natural resource we are so lucky to have.