A day of writing and gardening, on my own and with Sarah.

I will always remember May 2020 as the time I spent most of my time here on Sarah’s Allotment. Graciously suggested by her as the best place to keep on doing the PhD work I’m doing, while the bleak lockdown virus spring has been happening around us all and yet the weather has been so perfect.

Even earlier than usual I’ve walked here this morning in only jeans and T-shirt. Expecting a hot day and glad of the early morning breeze as I walked here across Smithdown and through Greenbank Park.

Arriving I’ve watered the plants that looked like they might appreciate some water before the heat builds up, the spinach, sweet peas and the cornflowers. Checked that last evening’s work is bedding in fine, the new lavender bush and the mulched up rose on the trellis behind me. All well. And having looked after the place, the garden, like I do all the time I’m here, I’ve carried on and done the rest of my setting up for the day’s work.

Folding table brought out of the shed, sunshade from the polytunnel and all the other tools brought out of the back pack I carried here. Coffee and some food, the last two field notes books, my notes and mind-maps for the utopian literature review I’ll begin writing up today, with the philosophers my imagination has brought here to advise me, Marilyn Strathern, Michel Foucault and the others. My phone and laptop ready to be linked together for any temporary wifi I might need, and my headphones. Except I think I’ll listen to the birds for a while yet. Were there ever this many before? Or is their singing more obvious with the lockdown traffic still quiet? Bees too, humming on the Phacelia at the side of me, in this bee-loud glade, this Innisfree.

A bee in the Phacelia

Opening my laptop I start. Happy to be here and writing. All set up for another day of time in the garden, working in Sarah’s utopian place.

Time passes.

And good work is done on the literature review. Pausing also around mid-day to listen to my PhD friend Abi O’Connor being interviewed on Radio Merseyside by Roger Phillips about her work on the long term stigmatisation of Liverpool by UK central governments over the past forty years or more. She explains her research clearly, brilliantly.

Sarah arrives, toe polish matching the Phacelia, thoughtfully

Then later in the afternoon Sarah arrives, having done the last of her seventeen funerals in May, the most she’s ever done in a month and many of them Covid deaths of course. On the way home she’s been shopping now the garden centres have started opening again. And we spend the rest of the day planting up what she’s bought. More lavenders, a rose, a honeysuckle, more sweet peas, rows of baby lettuces, mange tout and radishes.

Such a perfect day, in such an imperfect time.

More lockdown writing here at “Pandemic Stories”.

Published by Ronnie Hughes

Writing about life, Liverpool and anything else that interests me. As well as working with others to make the world a fairer and kinder place: http://asenseofplace.com.

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