Diary January 2020 : Partings, meteorology and progress

I’ve been a bit dreckly with my January diary blog post, so much so that February is already underway.

It was a peculiar month. It was always likely to be the case. The sad news about my mum that came in December dominated Christmas and New Year. It was her funeral at the beginning of the month. Partings are always difficult but the sun shone, and it was lovely to catch up with family and friends and share memories of my parents. I read a Causley poem.

My mum was one of 13 children and I got talking to her youngest brother who I’ve not seen for some time. He was a miner and then a publican in his working life but before he went down the mines he’d been an agricultural worker. When I told him what I was currently doing he told me that every year he used to travel to Cornwall to work at a flower farm. He stayed on a farm near St Ives picking daffodils mostly, then spending the proceeds in the local pubs. It felt like an incredible coincidence. I hadn’t realised we had any family connection to the flower growing industry here in Cornwall but apparently we do.

The weather was wet, then very cold, then wet, with occasional dry days when I could get to work. Rainfall levels have been much higher than usual. There’s a danger of ascribing every meteorological anomaly that comes our way to climate change, but I think it’s hard to deny something is going on. Most of the models for rising global temperatures see Britain and Ireland getting wetter in the areas that already see heavier rainfall (the north and west) and dryer and hotter in the parts that already see less (the south-east).

The frosty sunny days were welcome, but being a cyclist made the roads treacherous. I mostly sat them out at home and took care of other work. I’ve just about ordered all the seeds I need, I’ve nearly got all the kit I need. When I think about spring I get butterflies in my stomach.

As the month came to an end I’d almost dug as much of the plot as I’m going to this year. I’ve planted four hazels that self-seeded in my brother-in-law’s London garden that will hopefully provide me with plant supports in time. I’ve got back into a good rhythm after the disruption and sadness of the previous few weeks.

I’ve lost enough people close to me know that every bereavement is different, and every time you lose someone it changes you in some way. Over the last few weeks I’ve had a strong sense of wanting to do something positive with Green Fuse Garden in memory of my parents. I think it’s made me a little more determined. I’m sure grief and change will shift and move in me as the year progresses.

So as February arrived I felt the slow withdrawal of winter begin. The daffodils are ready to flower in the lanes, the sun is a little warmer. The polytunnel is cleared and ready for seed sowing. The birds have been much more vocal over the past few days. People are restless for Spring.

Winter often has a sting in its tail but I’m trying not to anticipate too much.

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