Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Metrosexual healing

Here in the South-West of England, the world takes on a slightly hippy hue. Alternative therapies, lifestyles and attitudes are in abundance yet still sit alongside more old school rural and urban traditions. 

Now, I could get all hippy on you too and talk about the wonders of mother nature, folk music and ukeleles, but I've watched too many adverts to jump on that bandwagon (next time the ads are on, count how many ukeleles you here and before you know it you'll be baking cup cakes in a 1950's dress).

Instead, a healthy dose of reality:

The dreaded alarm clock, always an hour too early for my liking. Then the moral breakfast dilema. Porridge again? But what if the coffee shop has a croissant in? Walk in or bus? It's raining,  I'm late but a walk is good for me and I'd look a tool on the bus with trainers and a suit. And any self respecting metrosexual cares for their appearance.

Into the office, past the glares from those who start at 8am as the clock ticks towards 10. Office pressures have only just begun. Barely a chance to sit down and it's go go go. Lunch barely a break, decisions to be made, staff to manage, documents to read and write, arguments to have, office politics to handle.

6pm. On a Monday and Wednesday it's training nights at the rowing club. Tuesdays in, Thursday my night out. Friday is New Girl, every metrosexual's favourite programme. It's good to have hobbies, they say. Except those nights where the office demands a slightly later night (maybe I should get in for 8am). 

Weekend is recovery. Or in the case of last weekend, a friend's stag weekend. And the weekend before a rowing race. And the weekend before...

Therapy comes in different forms. 

A city life can lead you down many paths unwittingly sometimes. But in the end it all catches up with you.  Today I was off with a nasty cold and exhausted from it. The problem with being off sick is that you don't ever leave the office behind. The emails and problems pile up whether you're there or not. It drains you.

No amount of Inspector Morse re-runs could save me from office woes, so by the time my energy and health returned around 5ish my thoughts turned to the recently neglected garden. To my proper delight, it was sunny, mild and fresh and the sun looked like it was hanging around. Ignoring the continuing carnage out there I decided just to plant something. Anything. 

In just 45 minutes I found my remedy to modern life. The same remedy that binds the foodies of Clifton, the hippies of St Werbergh's and vegans of Stokes Croft, the farmers of Exmoor and practitioners in the tents of the Buddhafield festival.

Winter is nearing its end. If you're still feeling the blues, suffering with an evil cold/manflu, or just have a raging hangover, get your hand in the compost and put a few seeds in. It'll lift you, I promise.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Chicken coup

It's quite a regular occurance for me to come back from a night out having agreed to commit to something that in the cold light of day comes with all manner of complications. 

Because of this impulse I have, among many other things, been a rowing team captain, learnt the drums, promised to be a guitar teacher, travelled round Sri Lanka and been a step-dad to two (wonderful) girls. Ok the last one is an exaggeration, with a lot more than a night out involved before stepping up for parent duties, but the pattern is the same, I love the thought, believe I can manage it, I'm blinded by desire, it's always a lot harder than I expect, it never works out as I'd hope, but at the end I wouldn't change the experience for all the tea in, well, China,  the Indian sub-continent and Tesco combined.

Last night I agreed to keep chickens...

I have no idea what this will entail. I've been harbouring this desire for some time now but with a deep fear that I just cannot handle the feathers. 

In one of those 'it's a small world' moments, my neighbour in the top flat is in the rowing club and happened to sit opposite me for a Valentine's night meal for all the single rowers (if you've ever dated a rower, you'll soon know that there is only one true love - indeed one girl dumped her boyfriend yesterday on the basis that he complained she rowed too much. This may sound harsh, but it's not).

Anyway, what I wanted to explain was that my neighbour seriously wants to keep chickens and has the coop already. She has the desire, I have the space, so I blurted out, let's keep chickens!

So, come March I'll be having chickens, fresh eggs, and no doubt kittens too as I chase them round the garden in some mad dash to get them to return to their hut and lay me some eggs!

I know some readers are experts in this field so could you tell me, what are the golden rules?

The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

My photo
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.