Liz Clark’s Sunday Thoughts – Over the last few weeks, I have worked in my garden. What began as a clean-up and rearrangement of plants has become a significant landscape project. For years the grass has been in a poor state. Uneven ground and a succession of stopgap solutions had left the lawn unfit for any more than grazing, and the area would not keep a sheep fed for more than a day. So we decided to kill the old grass and level the soil ready for replanting with a good quality seed.
The garden is relatively large. One evening I suggested to Ian that we could turn half of the area into a vegetable patch. I looked at the possibilities and realised many thousands of people from all walks of life are already choosing to grow vegetables rather than flowers in urban gardens. Vast expanses of lawn and a rainbow of coloured flowers were no longer the status symbol of the past.
Conversion of lawn and flower to small allotment style garden is no easy task. The preparation so far has taken two weeks of back-breaking work: And the preparation is far from over: we have enough space for nine raised beds of 1200X800cm size: and they will have 600X600 slabs surrounding them, and the earth has to be levelled, sieved and fertilised before any plants can be sown.
There is a point of no return. And you realise there are tens of hours of work already done and the project does not seem to be making headways and there are tens of hours to be worked before completion. And it is at this point the question is asked ‘Have we made the right choice and will the reward be worth the immense effort? I do not think we will see a return on investment for the first two years. The expenditure will probably be about 300 pounds: let’s be fair; this will buy plenty of vegetables from the supermarket. Of more importance is the amount of time involved. As a rough estimate, it will take five weeks to finish the project: and there will be the upkeep of the vegetable patch to consider for the years ahead.
For the time being, I realise the reward is in the accomplishment. And no matter the quantity of the first years yield or even the second years harvest: Ian and I will have learned much about growing vegetables, and we should be healthier due to eating organic vegetables and the extra exercise.
I wonder how far this project can be taken? And I quickly dismissed any idea of expanding to an allotment. We simply have not the time to look after a more abundant crop. In the future, our market stall will reopen, the shows will open again, and our online shop will also take up time. So here we are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, having made changes which would never have happened without the situation. And I have come to realise a valuable lesson: It is not the day to day or week to week maintenance or enterprise which is the difficulty in running a business or home: it is the effort needed to set up the endeavour.
For some, a new way is one of taking extra responsibility for certain aspects of life. Whether growing food or reviewing material needs, nothing will be taken for granted again. New wealth and status are demonstrating a desire to live well and happily. My feeling is the wealths of money, and ‘possession status’ will decline in importance for those with intelligent minds and attitude. Without a doubt, there will be millions who will not follow the idea. However, many will choose to contribute to the health of the body by growing vegetables and keeping fitter. And they will benefit mentally as well because there is an additional, and real knowledge of achievement whenever we succeed in doing things for ourselves.
We all see people engulfed by the present crisis: and it seems to me many will find life impossible to negotiate in the future. For them, trust in people has been eroded. They will never be sure if the person standing next them is carrying an infection. There is already resentment felt by many people who see differing points of view: so ingrained are peoples beliefs in their standpoint. And the hard difficulty to face there is no definitive answer to the present crisis. Therefore those who adapt to and make defined changes and take responsibility for their lives have a higher chance of physical and mental survival.
People fail to accept the effect of the immense lack of future tax revenues. Businesses closed, people without work and lack in future investment will result in unprecedented burdens on any government. It would be easy to say ‘Well we rebuilt this country after WW2’ and my reply is: This is no World war: the infrastructure of the Country is not decimated. We do not have to rebuild homes, town and cities. There is no need to rebuild industry. Twenty years after WW2 repairing the damage to the Country was still being carried out, and the restructuring and redesign of the Uk put money back into the economy. This crisis is a Neutron Bomb, people have died, and millions have become shell shocked, however, there will be no ‘drive to rebuild’ for a new future. There is nothing to rebuild: only confidence and this is the biggest hurdle humankind has ever encountered.
As I consider the investment in our future: I see the growing of vegetables as a real contribution. In the same way, the return to cycling and considering physical and mental health the top of the list priority. All the diverse statistics and opinions in the world count for little: only action and adapting to future changes have meaning. Of course, many will disagree: however, my perspective guides me to decisive action, not passing the responsibility over to others.
See You Soon
Liz Clark – MD LizianEvents Ltd