And then there was light.

This winter has been long. I knew it would be, fighting with dark demons that appear in the dead of night and stay till dawn is quite exhausting. It is a process and there seems to be no way to escape it. It is over six months now since hubby left us. I wake thinking of him and go to sleep thinking of him along with many, many moments during the day. I’m still listening for his car to come and go on the drive, for the sound of the key in the lock, along with all the other little idiosyncrasies that sounded like him. It is interesting how the mind in grief is still listening. I wonder when that will quieten down. Even the allotment cat is still looking for him. She greeted me today and then ran off around the corner, tail high, and I realised she had gone to greet hubby when she came back a few moments later looking a little sad.

In some ways I am evolving. For instance I buy better coffee! Hubby used to drink six or seven cups a day, the whirr of the bean to cup machine was never quiet. So as you might imagine the quantities of coffee beans purchased was often on an industrial scale. I only drink one cup a day and having recently joined a friend at a local coffee shop, that particular coffee was so good it played on my mind and I had to go back and buy some of their beans. Then finding out they used a local Artisan coffee roaster, I ordered a variety of beans from them. I’m looking forward to my morning coffee from Monsoon Estates, it really is the simple things that can give joy.

I gently celebrated the spring equinox on Monday, the struggle between light and dark, death and life, has been very real this winter, so it felt right to momentarily mark the occasion when light and dark was equal of (roughly) 12 hours each. Now we will see the days get longer and time spent at the allotment will greatly increase, just as soon as the wind and rain dies down… Although yesterday I was strimming in quite a gale, so as there was no one else up the allotment I sang Really Loudly as I was strimming along, I wondered if they would come and lock me up in the loony bin, it was brilliant.

Over the last month or so there has been, weather allowing, bouts of intense activity at the allotment, which included several days digging and one momentous day of cleaning the greenhouse, she shines like a shiny thing now and I couldn’t be more proud of my endeavours.

Son no.1 helped me clear and organise the shed at the allotment on Mother’s day, it really was the best of presents and has enabled me to get on with the enjoyable process of planting seeds. Unfortunately I have misplaced my order from the allotment society, especially when an allotment committee member went out of his way to collect them and bring them to me. I’ve obviously put them somewhere safe… but I really wasn’t well at that time and widows brain must have been in full force because I haven’t the faintest idea where they are. I’ve reordered with Suttons and hopefully they will be with me in the next day or so.

But of course I do have plenty of seeds to be getting on with and have spent an enjoyable evening making paper pots.

Mainly because the parsnips and beetroots were such a roaring success. I’d always read that root vegetables had to be sown directly into the ground because if you tried to prick them out you would risk stumping or forking them and that would not be ideal. But then I had this idea last year of paper pots, mainly because I find it so difficult to hand weed, especially when the weeds seem to germinate and grow faster than the parsnips and it’s very difficult to see them to keep them clear.

And boy did they grow. Sometimes I had stumped them, but it didn’t matter, they still grew huge. The best parsnips I have ever grown.

And this tray full that I could barely lift was provided by just three parsnips.

That chicken lasted me two weeks!

All homegrown, parsnips roasted with the chicken and rosemary, honey and thyme glazed carrots sown in the autumn and the first of the purple sprouting. I just finished the last of the soup yesterday. There is something very satisfying about using every scrap of a chicken, that you truly honoured the bird, that not a morsel was wasted.

I love purple sprouting, I do, I intend to grow much more of this. Is there anything prettier at this time of year on the allotment? Especially when the brussels did so poorly this year, I thought it was just me, but another allotment holder confirmed he had had a poor year too.

Although I think this really shouts that spring has sprung – my rhubarb is springing up.

And that is where I shall leave you for the moment. Should you need me, I will be in my happy place.