Outdoors in the city
All that rain and then this warm weather has meant the slugs are having a lovely time and have munched through most of the Jerusalem artichokes and lettuce.
I've kept them so far off the peas and broad beans. However the early tats are appearing and need earthing up (drawing the soil around their necks to stop tubers from going green). My rocket has bolted and gone to flower, so I'm making the most of the flowers by adding them to salads and floating in soups. Oh and I made the first nettle soup of the season (I told my husband it was spinach as I knew he'd baulk at nettles) with some garlic mustard for extra kick.
Beyond the garden, as Isabel (the dog) is spending more time at home, I've had to up her walks. No longer can I rely on my rather lazy approach that coming to work was walk enough. Rather than this being a sad tale of no more frolicking in long grass and lazy afternoons chewing bit of stick, it's turned out rather well.
I've never spent so much time in my local park, but my morning and late evening walks are so enriching, so full of lovely things that I am almost as eager as the dog to get going. I am privileged to have two very lovely parks surrounding my neighbourhood, Highbury Park (very wild in bits with bee hives, allotments and a strange, if not beguiling pinetum) and Kings Heath Park (formal beddings, bowling greens and pond).
This morning I went to Kings Heath Park and wandered around the wilder bit looking at all the blossom and tender, soft green leaves unfurling. I love those spring leaves where the green seems almost iridescent and they look like they've been made out of silk.
I don't think it's just me that spending more time in the park. All this financial uncertainty, our economic foundation trembling, is forcing us, it seems, outside. Or at least outside of the rather selfish boundaries of consumerism (ah there it is all my political biased laid bare), which it seems, is dying on its feet.
Instead, in what's been recently dubbed, the we-conomy has arisen revealing humanity's talent for pulling together, forging companionship and keeping going. I read in a recent article that despite the downturn in the economy we've not stopped giving to charity and the uptake in community groups, time-share schemes (you bake me a cake and I'll mow your lawn) and volunteering is significant. Whether it's gardening together or knitting we want to be a part of something with other people.
I've lost count of how many neighbours have said, 'I've started cycling/walking/jogging in the park - it's full of people'. The indoor gym membership may be dwindling, but the free outside version, at least here, has had a huge increase.
Which is why it's all the more lovely that our parks are full of such pretty things as medlar trees and cherry blossom, heady, hectic bedding schemes and bowling greens.
A early morning walk in a deserted park is a rare moment of peace in city life, but an evening walk full of football games, gangs of kids on bikes, of lounging teenage lovers, joggers, dog walkers and promenaders-well that's a community.