So there I was spending my Friday morning sitting in (virtually, of course) on our local regional transport partnership meeting because that his how we cycle campaigners roll – and never let them tell you that it isn’t an exciting and glamorous life – when there was a knock at the door and I realised that the plot inspection committee had arrived. Or rather, my gardening pal from Old Nearest Village, who likes to drop by from time to time and see how my veg is getting on.
If nothing else, I had thought the pandemic might at least save me from this ritual humiliation, but clearly not. Fortunately, a slight easing of work deadlines in the past week has meant I wasn’t as behind as I could have been – but nothing could disguise the puniness of my leeks (they are in there somewhere, honest).
I was somewhat relieved to learn that my pal had also had patchy results with his greenhouse tatties – and we agreed that those in the outside bed were looking magnificent, somewhat compensating for my fancy notions planting such things as fennel and Swiss chard.
The ingenuity of my pea support arrangements was admired.
My beetroot are growing a little patchily (could be pockets of acidity in the soil, apparently) but I was pleased to note that some of them are almost ready …
… and for those wondering, lonely Bertie Blueberry has found lurve with his new companion and it is proving fruitful.
Joking aside, I was actually very happy to receive my annual inspection visit, and not only because it got me out of the rest of the transport partnership meeting. My pal is getting on in years and it has been at the back of my mind that if and when we do finally come out on the other side of all this, not everyone will be with us. Fortunately, so far, the pandemic has largely passed our little corner of the world by and it seems everyone in Old Nearest Village has come through unscathed – including the Oldest Inhabitant, who had had her 100th birthday party in the village hall just days before the lockdown. That could have panned out badly, but it didn’t and she lives on to sweep the board as usual at the village show, always assuming the village show is held at all this year.
This week, for the first time in months, my conversations have largely been about making plans for the future rather cancelling them, and I’m not sure I’m mentally ready yet. But I suppose whether it’s this month, or next, or some time in the future, we must all eventually emerge, blinking, to face the wider world once more.
And at least I will know that my garden will pass muster.