In the process of beginning this new blog today I have contended with slow internet speed and passwords and even a name for my blog. Space for a garden wasn’t my first choice, but in retrospect it probably is the best name as it encompasses so many of the things I would like to share. (Now after I’ve finished writing I’m a bit confused because I’m not even sure that is the name!!!)
Two and a half years ago my husband took early retirement from the job he had been doing for 28 years and bought a takeaway shop in our hometown. I must confess that for a long time I didn’t think it was a good idea, but I decided to go with it and do my best to make a success of it. At that stage I was running a nursery school for underprivileged kids which was a joy to me.
I very soon discovered that running this shop isn’t a job, its a way of life. Putting in 16 hours a day is often the norm. I started to get extremely tired after 3 months and when I eventually went to a homeopath she told me to go gluten free and sugar free because of infection in my stomach and intestines. I had been on a gluten free diet some years previously so I knew what to do. Within a week I was a different person. So here I am, on a gluten free diet, spending most of my waking hours in a shop that makes the most amazing pies, samosas, burgers and toasted sandwiches, to name but a few! My working hours stayed the same because I was doing all the admin for the shop (I had no idea a little shop could generate so much paper work!!) and still running the school. Then 8 months ago I got a mild case of shingles and the doctor said it was due to burnout. This made me sit up and take notice. I knew I would have to make a change in my lifestyle.
I decided to give up the school. It sounds easy when you say it fast but it was a heart wrenching decision. Once I had made it I really had peace with it and for the last 6 months the running of the shop has become the major part of my life. But … I’m not an extrovert and being around grown-up people in a business situation all day isn’t my idea of the ideal life.
Then I looked out of the window and discovered that behind the shop there is more than enough space for a garden. I nagged my husband enthusiastically (that is possible) to let me start a vegetable garden. I even employ a teenage girl part time to help with the heavy work. She loves being outdoors and doing “hard work” – those are her words.
Last week I harvested a handful of green beans! What joy. This is how I cooked them so that there would be enough for my husband and myself:
Chop the beans into pieces of about 1.5cm
Dice one potato – cook the potatoes and beans in the microwave untill the beans are tender.
Fry 3 rashers of bacon together with 2 chopped onions.
Add the beans to the onion mixture and season with lots of black pepper, salt and parsley. Toss to heat through.
My neighbour, who just came to buy takeaways told me to add a cup of sour cream and grate cheddar cheese over the top and them bake it in the oven. I’ll try that next time.
I also have swiss chard, onions (and spring onions) garlic and a few miserable tomato plants in my garden. Its really too cold for tomatoes so I’ll have to see how they do. I’ll sow more seed in the spring. My peas have just put their first leaves through the soil. I love eating peas straight from the pods. Oh yes, my garlic is also growing. I get a bit carried away when I talk about my garden, and in a way that’s my aim. Its my happy place at the moment. When I’ve had enough of admin and staff and customers I can run away and play in the garden.
I think that everyone should have enough space for a garden. It doesn’t literally have to be a garden. It can be any hobby or pastime that makes you happy. Something that allows you to switch off from the stress that living brings. I also do other things that make me happy but I consider myself very privileged to have space for a garden.