Sunday, 14 July 2013

Gardening - the cure for writer's block? - No, but it keeps me away from Facebook.

Before I became a children's writer - I was a garden designer/landscaper and not all that bad as it happens.  From having a zero knowledge about plants and the physique of a librarian I quickly learnt many of the skills necessary to have a reasonably successful business and look like a bronzed 'Adonis'  in the process.

Bill Welch aka Chainsaw Bill
  It wasn't a bad job -  I got to play with dumper trucks and diggers, hanging out with people adept at using chainsaws; I enrolled in a HND design course at college and told everyone I was a garden designer.
Then came the easy job of filling in the gaps.
Fast forward six years and I had completely fallen out of love with gardening and everything else that came with it.  I used to get really depressed and even panic when I was doing the simplest of garden tasks and found it hard to focus.
Then something quite strange happened,  for no apparent reason I bought a packet of cress seeds for Maya-Rose and planted them and within a week, they had been harvested and eaten with a poached egg on toast. 
Inevitably this led to Maya-Rose asking - "What else can we grow?"
hmmm. . .
 The following week I went out and bought another 6 packets of various vegetable seeds a set of aluminium takeaway trays and some compost. The next day I dug up part of my lawn and began the arduous task of turning it over into a vegetable patch.  My kitchen window sill played host to a variety of seedlings and before I knew it I was given a choice.
a)Throw them away content in the knowledge that if I really wanted to grow food I probably could.
b)Put my boots on, grab a spade, dig up my neglected lawn and turn them into growing beds. 
after much deliberating I chose the latter.  My lawn is now half the size and artistically curvy, while the rest is divided between growing beds and wildflowers. (This year it's just daisies, but next year I intend to go the whole hog and do my bit to save the bees.)
So over the summer I have been rekindling my love of all things 'garden' whilst at the same time using it as an excuse to not write anything worth reading. 
It's not be a totally wasted exercise as I now have a modest collection of courgettes, radishes, peas, beans, broccoli, kale and an equal amount of herbs all coming together rather well.
My passion for foraging has taken up most of my spare daylight hours as I am making a massive effort to expand my wildflower knowledge and decode my surroundings when I am out walking the dog.  It's a slow and laborious process, checking and rechecking the petal formations and the leaf shapes to make an educated guess at the many plants that I had previously dismissed collectively as "weeds". 
So that's about where I am up to.
In other news
Having narrowly missed out at making the cut for Sound Central Festival in Kabul, I have spent a bit of time tinkering with visuals for my music and  taking samples from vintage radio transmissions to play over the top to give a bit of structure to the pieces.
Not having the proper equipment to produce my own, and  having no extra time to sit down properly and teach myself the fine art of film making I have had to borrow visual content from You Tube.  The result naturally being not bad for a beginner but definitely not in any danger of worrying the 'grown-ups'. 
Please feel free to leave a comment.
Static Island -  The Welcoming Committee
Visuals   "Geheimnisse Einer Seele"
Samples taken from Strange Tales - listen to the full stories here.
Static Island - The Solvent
Samples taken from Strange Tales - listen to the full stories here.