Most people are probably marking off the wall calendar, as we progress through lockdown. Like tally marks on the pristine wall, keeping track of the number of weeks. When asked how many weeks it has been, they can pluck the number out, just like that.
Not us. Oh no. I have to think about it. Our method is different and a little bit more exhausting, to say the least. You see, we seem to dig another patch in the garden each week. It would look better from above, to be honest, but I wasn’t planning it as some kind of aerial countdown. Yet still the grass-less areas are rectangular, like dashes cutting through the grass. Our version of tally marks. If I count them up, I make it seven holes.
Last week, we dug next to the spaghetti squashes, to make a climbing bean bed. Our latest hole. The hazel poles are from one of our trees, which saved a trip out. One of the children described the structure as looking like a whale skeleton. I see their point.
The week before, my husband dug out another hole, to make room for a greenhouse. Not easy, as this one is on a slope. He has made a good job of it. Since I took this photo, he’s dug up the old patio and used the paving stones to make a path in front of the greenhouse and also another one inside. The patio was due to be removed, and this just brought the date forward.
This is going to be our ratatouille green house, this year. I have tomato, pepper, basil and aubergine plants to go in there. (Also water melons, but that would certainly add something else to the recipe.) I’m growing garlic outside it and onions elsewhere in the garden. I can almost taste it now. Just need to add more compost and watch it all grow.
Which leaves this week’s hole. I’ve marked it out with the white poles, just beyond the
whale bean bed.
I’m lucky. The family join in the digging, so it does move fast. It counts as part of our exercise. I’m not sure if they have been adding it to their time sheets as PE, but I think they could. It is a full on exercise.
Not that it’s the only exercise. Both my daughters have started running in the evenings and seem to really enjoy it. Hero the hound is most upset they don’t take him, and he waits by the gate until they get back. He does rather stop and start on a run to read/sniff all the local news, which is hard work when you want to run.
We also walked in to the village for the first time, for what seems like years. Middle teen needed photos of isolation/lockdown for her art coursework. First person I spotted was a friend I’ve not seen for ages. She also happens to be a hairdresser, so, while keeping a social distance from her, I was able to get tips on how to cut youngest’s hair.
It was strange to see the village play park taped off and padlocked. The school closed. The allotments dug, but not planted.
Also felt weird not heading into the village for VE day. (No May Day dancing either.) They usually have a get together. Instead, we put up bunting on the gate and fence. Neighbours had flags out too. It looked so festive, yet oddly deserted, as everyone celebrated in their own back gardens. A different experience.
The next day, I chatted with a neighbour over the fence. The way our houses and gardens are set up, you can go for weeks without seeing anyone. It was nice to catch up and social distancing is not hard, as the fence and bushes act as a natural barrier and spacer. She did manage to pass strawberry plants to me, which is one fruit I am missing this year.
It does mean, in the serendipitous way that the universe works, I’m going to need yet another hole.