I know, we’re already a third of the way through March. I’m late. Sorry about that.
I looked through my photos from February to remind myself where the month went. I can see I walked a lot, most days. I watched birds in the garden, every day. I knitted (a lot), and even did some crochet. I cooked (a bit). I gardened (not a lot). We had granddaughter to stay for a couple of nights at half term, to help out her parents, which was great fun. There were snowdrops and primroses, and the promise of daffodils. There were pancakes (only about 3 weeks late to that party).
And most significant of all, I had my first Covid-19 vaccination. In a very beautifully-lit venue (The Pavillion, in the centre of Bath), with its chandeliers and starry-sky ceiling (which youngest son had a hand in upgrading and installing a few years ago). I realised to my amazement that it was the first time for months that I’ve been out after dark. The session was run largely by volunteers. There couldn’t be a better reminder of what we can achieve at our best.
As I write this, I see from my diary sitting in front of me that I’m already on Day 69 of my 100 day challenge to be active. I’m pleased with how it’s gone. True there’ve been a few days when I haven’t done anything very active, but far fewer than I thought there would be. On days when I’ve had to force myself to get out and walk I haven’t once regretted it (and I think today, wet and windy, will be one of those…). I’ve been recording in the diary how long I’ve been active each day, measured using my Fitbit (based on the activity recorded as either cardio or peak) and then working out the daily average for each week. What I’m looking for is an increase in the daily average, and that’s generally what I’m seeing. I’ve nudged it up from under an hour a day to over an hour a day. I don’t include the times when I’m just strolling, which are fewer and fewer now as I make an effort to walk briskly. I’ve also nudged up my average number of steps a day to closer to 12,000. I’m encouraged by how well this is going, and optimistic that I will keep it up beyond the hundred days.
I’ve begun sowing seeds for the 2021 growing season (tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, broad beans, peas for shoots, some flowers and lettuces so far. Many more to come over the next few days. I’ve been repotting and splitting houseplants – I’m developing a taste for propagation, which turns out to be so very easy in many cases. A small and very inexpensive plant bought in Lidl yielded 3 rather nice plants in no time at all. Cuttings from a red tradescantia began to root in just a few days. I’ve been inspired to re-grow celery from the stumps of two heads I bought at the market last month, and I was able to plant out the first into the greenhouse this week. I’m intrigued to see whether it produces edible stalks, but even if it doesn’t I’ll be able to use the leaves in salads.
There are things I’ve started doing since I began writing this blog that have now become routine and just part of ‘what I do’. One of these is making fermented foods. This week I’ve been noticing on my travels all sorts of examples of the sharing (or gift) economy in action, and I’ve been thinking about how I can add to that. On Monday, the first day we were able to meet up with one other person outdoors, I took a long walk to Dundas (one of the two nearby aqueducts on the Kennet and Avon canal) to meet an older relative with our flasks. While I was there I also met someone I had ‘met’ on Instagram and as arranged passed on a kombucha starter for him to take home with him. A friend originally gave me the kombucha scoby. I’ve previously given away jars of my sourdough starter. These things seem to me to embody the sharing/gift economy.
Today as I was sitting listening to a podcast interview with Sandor Ellix Katz it came to me that another opportunity for me to add to my 2021 Bath City Farm fundraiser would be to offer to do a workshop introduction to fermenting foods. I made the offer and it was swiftly accepted. So I think that will be an addition to a programme of workshops to be offered later this year – watch this space! [I’m now trying to stave off the nervousness, thinking about the Pippi Longstocking quote sent to me by my friend in Denmark – “I’ve never tried this before so I’m sure I can do it!”].
I’m very aware of my privilege and good fortune in being able to use this lockdown in creative and positive ways, and aware too that this isn’t a luxury shared by many.