A confession: I’ve been neglecting my knitting. This is problematic when you’re a knitting blogger. The yarny hiatus is temporary, and it’s partly because we’ve reached peak season in the veg-growing calendar. My coping strategies for covid, cancer, Brexit, and perimenopause are all pretty similar: grow as much fruit and veg as possible, drink wine, go running a lot, and laugh in the face of adversity. Oh, and – usually – knit or crochet too, just not these past couple of weeks.
It’s the time of year when eleventy hundred seedlings are waiting impatiently to be allowed unsupervised access to the garden. They’re crowded along every south-facing windowsill in the house and on every shelf of our tiny greenhouse, shoving each other aside and pressing their leaves longingly against the glass. There are many, many, many, vegetables, plus a large number of the types of flowers that attract beneficial insects.
Honestly, it’s like having an enormous brood of needy babies. But given that we’ve just had the frostiest April since woolly mammoths* roamed this land, I daren’t let my plants spend a night outside quite yet. Instead I waste hours indulging their every whim indoors, because I know that if I so much as forget to read them a bedtime story, they’ll clutch a withered leaf to their foreheads before collapsing melodramatically in their pots. Seedlings are such divas.
And briefly, because I’ve no idea whether this is your kinda thing, I’ve also been reading and reading and reading about rewilding, forest gardening, wildlife gardening, permaculture, plant biochemistry, ecology, and no-dig. Our garden may be small, but my ambitions are vast, because I’m an optimistic megalomaniac. With the twin priorities of growing food and encouraging wildlife, I’ve been planting more trees and fruit bushes, establishing guilds of mutually beneficial plants (e.g. peas climbing up the cherry tree), and generally making changes that may or may not be of interest to anyone outside the sofa on which I’m currently sprawled. If you are interested, I have a second Instagram account HERE (in addition to my yarny one HERE) where I show you all things garden.
It’s been a weird few weeks to be a veg-parent. One minute it’s cold-but-sunny and then the next, I unexpectedly open the curtains one morning a few weeks ago to see THIS. What the….?! Just………… what?!
I was so gobsmacked, I ran up to the top of the tower to get a better view:-
But never let it be said that the British weather lacks a sense of humour, because barely four hours later, the garden looked like this:-
And even as I write this post, it’s hailing, with the occasional rumble of thunder. Honestly, how’s a knitter supposed to organise her cauliflower seedlings, let alone get round to her yarn, with all that going on? But focus on yarn I must, because I’ve got an exciting knitting design commission due terrifyingly soon. Details to come, I promise, but it’s all a bit hush-hush-secret-squirrel, right now.
And having dragged you away from the yarny focus of this blog to talk about growing stuff, I’m now going to commit the even greater social faux pas of asking for donations to a charitable cause. May as well be as irritating as I can before getting back to the usual yarny content soon, yeah?
OK, so around the time I was diagnosed with breast cancer in August last year, I figured that I’d better find a focus to distract me and to maintain my health. (Yes, I am a psychologist so I can read your thoughts, and I’m well aware that you’re currently thinking, “For the love of yarn, will she please stop blithering on about cancer. It’s getting boring now.” But hear me out, please.)
All the ‘normal’ running races were cancelled last year, so I signed up for a virtual race. The running is real, but the location is virtual, in the form of a very wiggly route from toe to tip of the UK. I’m running 1083.8 miles (1744.2km) from Land’s End to John O’Groats. When cancer treatment has made running impossible I’ve walked, for example after surgery I shuffled one mile the first day, two miles the second day, and so on. ANYWAY, I’m doing all this in aid of the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund because amongst all the hideousness of cancer, pancreatic cancer has one of the worst outcomes, and I desperately want that to change. I was lucky that my breast cancer was very treatable, but a pancreatic cancer diagnosis must be terrifying.
So here’s the bit where I flutter my eyelashes at your poor beleaguered credit card. I’m 730 miles in to the race, and recently crossed the border into Scotland. 354 miles to go, so I’m two thirds of the way. I’m determined to get the job done within a year, so I’ll be finishing in mid-August.
I realize that the past year has quite possibly done horrid things to your financial situation, but if you have any cash to spare, and if you’d be interested in supporting this very important cause, my JustGiving page is RIGHT HERE.
Any pennies that you can spare would go towards making a real difference in future outcomes for this horrid illness. Thank you.
Right, shall we get back to the yarn next time?? Yes, I really think we should.
*Woolly mammoths you say? I do wonder whether their fur would’ve been knittable. Perhaps they’d have had a soft, fluffy, underbelly, like a musk ox…