First rain in several weeks gives me time to pause and think. I’ve been neglecting certain things to pursue others. Now maybe it is time to redress the balance.

Some of it is inevitable. I have a few business interests. They have needed my attention more than normal.

Some of it was choice, however. And this is where my theory of primeval land management comes in. Put more simply, when things get tough I, along with many many others, turn naturally to the soil. It must be a self-survival instinct. I’ve accelerated all my plans for a vegetable garden. The greenhouse was donated by a local pub that did not want it. It’s gone up but with old plastic sheeting to replace the glass that was missing. I used paving slabs ripped up by our builders (and yes, not yet put down again but that is builders for you) to create a rough and ready walkway. Redundant roof tiles have been propped up to create raised borders. The kitchen has been full of trays of seeds – anything that says on the packet “a warm and sunny windowsill” has gone in the kitchen, as if the sun only shines in that one room.

There have already been many mistakes – far too many tomato plants, all competing for space in a greenhouse that has the cabbages, the courgettes and the pumpkins in until the risk of frost is gone. I planted a tray of sweetcorn seeds, imagining again my youth when we would do pick-your-own and bring them home in great big sacks to feast forever after! Instead, I have three seedlings in various sizes, like Daddy Corn, Mummy Corn and Baby Corn, maybe I will be making corn porridge before the year is out.  I put some lettuce and onions out too early – I should have listened to their squeals of panic as they felt the cold earth on their delicate roots.

And one mistake I am proud of. All the instructions, the gardening books and common sense say thin out the weaker plants – I can’t and won’t do that. I want every plant, however pathetic, to have an equal chance. It makes no sense but I do it anyway.

It’s a little like killing off a character in a book. I can do it in a book but not in my garden. Which makes me wonder why. I know it’s not that the characters are not real – they are totally real to me and I should know.

I live with them for months on end!.That gives me a pretty good acquaintance.

It’s more that a book has to be natural, the story has to work, nature, fate, circumstance, co-incidence, all have to flow in a real and lifelike way for a story to be convincing.

With gardening I can defy the odds , I can stand against reason and all it means is we won’t eat later in the year.

Now, with the rain coming down, I have time to think. I will return to my writing and finish The Agent Within, the second book in The Semblance of Order Trilogy, alternative history set in 1960s and 1970s Britain but a very different Britain to the one we know and love. To read more about the first book, The Stuff of Heroes, click here: https://chrisoswaldbooks.com/stuff-of-heros/

The ebook for book 4 of the Dorset Chronicles is coming out very soon. Called One Shot in the Storm, it takes our Dorset families, good and bad, through 1690 with war in America and the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland. Lots of adventure, drama and tension as they struggle through.



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