The possibilities for glorious rebirth from apparent disaster (and of course the reverse of that, and of course of course all the countless in-between positions) are always present, especially in football. Quite what took us from being 0-1 down and missing a penalty to winning the game 3-2 is beyond me. It was baffling, beautiful and entirely needed.

While Leeds were being the end of me once more, we were attending the birthday party of one of my nieces. Went for a walk along the river before afternoon tea and cake.

In the image here, you can just about see where the level of the river has dropped. The weir a bit further down stream collapsed late last year.

The narrator here says two-three feet; it’s at least six feet in places at the moment. There are no plans to fix the weir as far as I’m aware. It’s keeping the water much fresher than it was, with a faster current, and the banks will cover over again. Today, the air was rich with wild garlic, and there were wood anemones, late snowdrops, early bluebells, celandine.

Plus – keeping a group of 10 kids busy for a couple of hours – the water finding its lowest level has revealed a trove of stuff in the silt. Presumably items thrown off the old viaduct: sections of railway, telegraph ceramics, bits of pottery… as well as more contemporary pieces of junk, like crusty bike frames, an abandoned boom box, fishing rods, plastic bags full of nameless sodden items.

Along the river bank, and along the cycle path that now runs across the viaduct, the trees had made that switch from incipient new growth to plump, visible buds, the colours changing, spring blossom out or arriving. The clocks go forward tomorrow.

Something about all of this going on offers a reassurance that is also baffling, beautiful and entirely needed.

Yesterday saw some headway made in the garden. In a mood shift, where a previous me has been keen to rush into stuff and then get frustrated when unrealistic plans come to nothing, this project is growing nicely into a combination of exterior improvement and meditative activity.

Gardening. We rent, but we’ve been lucky enough to get a big bit of outside space. However, the previous tenant (nine years, I understand) was not interested in the opportunities afforded. Mass take-over by brambles, overgrown hedges, and leaves, leaves, leaves everywhere.


That’s all from the back hedge and this one spot next to the eucalyptus. Quite a lot of work remaining…

While we’re probably not going to be installed as long as nine years, we’re planning on a good stint here, and I do dig a bit of gardening… which is a good job, as there is a shed load of diggery to do.

As well as the eucalyptus, there’s an apple tree, an elder and another fruit tree we haven’t managed to identify yet… and there’s this big patch of ground that used to be used to grow veg.


Oh yes, that’s a bay at the back left. Anyway, I know this was used for veg because before we moved in, I happened upon the parents of the owner doing some clearing of leaves (there is also a poplar that’s easily 80 feet… LEAVES! LEAVES! LEAVES!). They filled me in on a bit of the horticultural background of the house, and seemed pleased I was taking an interest. They had managed to stop the letting agent’s garden people from using weedkiller on this bit, in the hope it might get used again. They seemed quite pleased about that too.

As a result of the nonchemical nonintervention, and as you can see from that pic, the patch is currently a bit overgrown. The Giza pyramids arrangement of piles of muck are all soil and twigs cleared from the paving round and about the place. This took up most of yesterday’s short session at the spade.


The dark bits were all three-five inches submerged. It’s not quite the Lost Gardens of Heligan, but there’s been something highly exciting about discovering what lies beneath.

What lies beneath the veggie-patch-to-be-again is clusters and clusters of bramble roots like this, which took up the rest of yesterday’s efforts.



Felt like I’d Done My Bit by the time this was full, and I only managed one corner of the area as well!

Given the unseasonably diabolical weather since October, and the unlikelihood of getting much time in wellies before summer, at the moment I’m revising the schedule to target late planting produce.

No rush, like.