Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

What an emotionally taxing night in the jardin!

The woman North West plot to mine was having a depressive give up gardening moment. I had just shoved a giant dustbin of water across the big highway there and was having a bit of a “Gawd this is impossible without a water supply, but somehow on…” moment on that treacherous alley incline.

(Note to self: stop bringing pink handbag to garden, and then trying to push giant trolley with balanced water-loaded dustbin while holding onto it, cease wearing impractical mini skirts and clogs when gardening and get a proper clipper thing instead of wantonly snapping and ripping stuff off the plants).

But when another gardener is emotive, it is important to stay calm and practical. I gave the poor woman a speech, I absolutely do not believe a word of — but needs must. I pointed out that to labour the water to the garden plot is very useful (it is not a bit useful, it is an unmitigated pain), I appreciate hoses I told her (I do not. I want one.), I hate lawns I said (this is true). She nodded. We discussed a political and activisit approach to try to get City Hall to connect our water supply. At one point, the woman said “I was enjoying it, of her plot, but .. and she made noises along the lines of how ridiculous is this and it’s not worth …” and quelle horreur.  I can’t recall what I said next, but it was basically a pile of auld ramble along the lines of it’s up and down and some days are hard and today the earth is so dry it all seems hopeless, but wait for your third year (it’s my second year, she said), yes but wait for your third year. Everything is great and dandy in your third year. (I do not believe this, but I am personally having a wonderful year in the garden, except today, where I stared at the soil and actively despaired and thought of the impending days and absence and despaired some more and then, hark, cut some beans and fussed over my lettuces and got a waft of my tomatoes, and back to the much more burdened woman kitty corner….

We talked potatoes. I offered anecdotes of great gardening moments including futuristic ones. Tomorrow I said six strangers will eat my zuccinis (I’d dropped three off chez quelque’ un for an impending dinner party. I reinvocated the potaotes and she called me to inspect hers.

But they’re ready says I. Let’s pull them.

At first it looked highly precarious and I was worried tiny little red dots emerge, but put my pink gloves and funky claw shovel thing (the ultimate gardening tool) into the soil, still nothing hectic. He planted them very deep, says she. So I burrow in earnest, tossing soil all over my sleeves, and finally there they are, lovely roundy red fellas. A deep handsome red. Now she’s excited. So we shriek, and I find more. She’s a pile of six. Go home and cook them I say and get your fork and dig up the rest another day. You just needed a boost, I tell her, so go home and enjoy your spuds. And she’s off and she’s happy and the downer moment is swallowed by the sight of the rising red fellas. Glory be to the potato.

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