I’ve never grown winter vegetables, so everything they do is a surprise to me. At the veggie plot I glanced under some leaves and thought, “Who’s put a purple container in there?” I looked more closely. It was a turnip, an Actual Turnip announcing its presence above ground: “Pick me! Pick me!” There were several more, which was very exciting.
I’d planned to roast them, but when I got home and tasted a slice it was so fresh that I grated some into a salad instead, with wombok and coriander and a vaguely Thai dressing, and it was delish.
The veg garden is looking great, due mostly to being north facing and having had rain. I was reminded of Neil in The Young Ones as I worked: “We sow the seed. Nature grows the seed. We eat the seed.” That still makes me laugh.
At the community garden many people aren’t growing winter veg. They’re loading up the soil with nutrients, feeding it and letting it rest, while I’ve jumped in enthusiastically and planted everything possible. I’ll have to factor in some rest time after the current crop if I want lots of spring and summer growth.
I feel a bit like a veg patch. Lordy, I need a rest. My idea was that as soon as my work life changed I’d leap into creative projects. There’s a little bit of writing happening and a lot of thinking about how to make something that I’ve never made before, but mostly I’m pottering and reading. My plan is to re-read every book I own and fall in love with them all over again.
In the first weeks of my new life, I had a very strange feeling and couldn’t work out what it was. Part of my brain was saying, “Yippee! Four whole days out of every seven to live life!” but another part felt uneasy. I sat with it, trying to understand, until I worked out that it was guilt—specifically, guilt at giving up full-time work so that I can spend time on creative projects.
Having wanted creative freedom for so long, it’s odd to now feel guilty about getting it. I think it’s time to re-read Big Magic and Frugal Hedonism and The Artist’s Way and allow some time to get comfortable, to adjust. A quick squiz at the internet tells me that it’s a thing, this type of guilt. Have you experienced it?
I need to learn to ignore decades of indoctrination about deadlines and goals and achievements. I’d like this next phase of life to be about immersion, fully experiencing whatever’s going on and following creative ideas wherever they might lead.
On the cooking front, I’ve made two rhubarb frangipane tarts lately, thanks to an abundance of rhubarb, and Nigella’s cherry almond loaf, which is probably the cake I’d pick if I had to move to a desert island and could take only one. What would be your desert island cake? Or do I mean dessert island?
Soup’s back on the menu, with bread and cheese and much contented “Mmmmmm-ing” while I’m eating it. We’re having a chilly May. There’s frost on the ground most mornings, and the bright, clear nights are full of stars. I feel a period of hibernation coming on, of deep rest, perhaps interspersed with occasional jaunts to other towns. If I go somewhere interesting I’ll take you with me. Toodle-pip for now.