Monday, 21 September 2009

Down to Earth

I had this published in our staff magazine at work last year and thought I'd share....

Down To Earth

I often wonder as a child of the 1970s, whether I was born in the wrong decade as I increasingly find myself envying various aspects of the 1940s and 1950s way of life. Whilst I wouldn’t go anywhere near wishing I was able to demonstrate my aptitude at obtaining all the attributes of the perfect woman of that era I do feel a sympathetic leaning towards the more self-sufficient way of life they embraced.

But I fear that woman’s quest for perpetual emancipation and continual celebration of the sacrifice of our suffragette sisters has left me feeling a bit of an odd one out in this day of materialistic pleasure and ‘ready to go’ society.

You see, I simply enjoy ‘the old ways’ and trying to fit them in symbiotically with modern life … well, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was nigh on impossible.

But…. I’ve found it isn’t. I’ve found I can perform the juggling act of a full time job, having children and a home to look after and whilst doing this the modern way, I can still fit in the ‘grandmotherly’ skills, both for my own enjoyment and also to the benefit of my family.

My latest quest in this search for finding the Earth Mother in me and the bid to temporarily escape from the fast track of consumerism is the renting of my allotment plot. If you’d have asked me five years ago if I would consider such an idea I’d have laughed behind my pre-packed, styrofoamed, ripe’n’ready, perfectly rounded EU peaches. No! no! no! Why go to all that bother? Digging, weeding, sweating and spending time with doddery old pensioners when I can get it all at Sainsbury’s on a Friday night! No mud, no creepy crawlies, no constant fight against disease and blight – just perfect vegetables and fruit, off the shelf, whenever ‘I, The Consumer’ demand it.

But now, ‘I, The Consumer’ feel uncomfortable with that way of thinking. With an ever increasing demand on the planet’s resources, the need to recycle, reuse and minimise waste, I find myself becoming more and more ‘green’, as the months go by. ‘I, The Consumer’ who didn’t relish the thought of plodding in the mud actually enjoy donning my wellies and digging up the weeds. ‘I, The Consumer’, who thought allotments were social clubs for pensioners, thoroughly enjoy chatting to 83 year old Tony on plot 52 and middle-aged Emma on plot 50, as well as the mother of the boy in my daughter’s class at school and the other two families with children the same age as my own.

And the pure joy and achievement at pulling up a lettuce, knowing I beat the slugs to it, watching the leeks thicken at the stem as they stand like soldiers on parade, smelling the waft of onions from the ground as I hoe between the rows and seeing the flowers on the potatoes before they wither and ready themselves for harvest…. well, give me that feeling over queuing at Sainsbury’s on a Friday night, anytime.

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