Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Cheeky monkeys

No-one likes evangelicals, except other evangelicals.

My life grounding was in a small minimialist Catholic church. Sermons and hymns were not quite Latin but certainly unintelligable. Seeing an evangelical mass at a young age was like a kick in the lower regions and a slap in the face with enough fish to feed 5000 (2 apparently). It was loud, in your face and a disturbingly, unconvincingly happy.

But evangelicals are not restricted to religious walks of life. No, if you thought you were safe, tucked away in your garden then you hadn't reckoned with the (ground) force of nature. One thing that has surprised me is just how this sedate pastime is actually bristling with emotion, conflict and opportunity. And where you find those, there's an evangelical lurking just behind the garden fence. I find myself pushing the virtues among friends, colleagues and well just anyone I happen to get into a conversation with.

Now, you can do one of two things. Resist, or eventually submit. For years many have resisted. For some, the grow-your-own movement has persuaded them to dabble. But not far over the horizon is a more potent movement that has been some years in gestation and whose time is about to come.

The other week I was wandering through the underpass of the Cumberland Basin flyover on my way for a morning on the water. It's an eerie display of concrete pillars supporting the escape route to the Quantocks, on a bed of concrete and tarmac. Thoughtfully placed in this landscape were what looked like builders gravel bags with, um, red flowers. Who? Why? When? How the @?*$?

Wonderfully, if gradually, people are starting to express themselves, their creativity and there desire to influence the spaces around them. Whether they have permission to or not. This desire is so powerful it forces action and thankfully it has led to a movement that to me at least appears like an inspirational one.

Otherwise known as guerilla gardeners, changes can appear overnight in the most unexpected, derelict or unloved of spaces. Bristol is now starting to see more planned vegetable growing in parks and open spaces as people embrace the breakdown of private space. It's a shame the name has military connotations. I'd much rather picture a bunch of primates with massive hands fumbling around trying to plant leeks.

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The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

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I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.