I woke this morning to a day of no pressing deadlines for the first time in ages, nothing urgent I needed to do and nowhere I needed to be (I was supposed to be on a cycling and camping weekend in Perthshire but had cried off due to feeling ill). It was supposed to rain for most of the day but – after I had knuckled down and completed my long-put-off tax return (as ever, it takes about half an hour when you actually put your mind to it, or two and a half hours if you count the weapons-strength procrastinating beforehand) – I was rewarded by the rain actually stopping, and I took the opportunity to wander up to my veg plot to try and undo some of my recent neglect with a couple of hours of concentrated pottering.
Two hours can’t do much to clear a neglected garden, but it does do a lot to untangle the mind. I note that Jeremy Corbyn, newly elected leader of the Labour Party, has an allotment (for some reason, along with ‘cycling’ and ‘wearing beige’ this is considered to be a point against him, no doubt because it appears to be a throwback to the politics of the last century – but then again, so did having a beard once, and now every male under 30 seems to have one. Could it be that it’s not just facial hair but supposedly retro policies that come back into fashion after a time?).
There was a time when I would have followed every twist and turn of the leadership competition with avid interest, and thrown myself into the fray with the best of them, but I’ve felt a bit detached from all the arguments over the leadership contest this summer. Perhaps it’s being in Scotland – the list of his supposedly extreme and unelectable policies bear a curious resemblance to the list of policies that the SNP just swept the board with at the last election – or because I’d no longer consider myself a Labour voter except in those elections where the Greens haven’t a hope in hell of winning. So I can’t really comment on whether Corbyn’s election will prove to be the reawakening his supporters suggest, or the electoral disaster most commentators seem to believe. But I can’t help but warm to a man whose hobby and whose mode of transport is so close to my own. Sure we’ve had cycling politicians in the past, and look how well *that* turned out (I’d bet my last pumpkin that Corbyn isn’t followed by a car carrying his papers though). But when did we last have a proper veg-growing one? Surely anyone who can go and mull things over among the fruit canes or while rooting out a stubborn patch of bindweed, will make the right decisions in the end?
That said, I can’t imagine the state his poor allotment is in after a summer of campaigning – and no chance now of getting it sorted out before the autumn. Can one restore the fortunes of a struggling party AND maintain an allotment? #Jezwecan…