The Payoff

Here’s how it is. You get up early when all your mates are in bed. You can’t go to the pub because you need to prune your hedges. You spend your winters out in the cold and your rainy days out in the rain. You dig and you plant and you weed and you water. You rake and you hoe and you deadhead and harvest. You battle with slugs and aphids and birds. You haul on your wellies and gillets and gloves. You spend the day in the rain again. You work and you toil and you baby your soil. You bruise and you bleed and you sting and you ache.

You leave work early to tend to the plot. You haven’t had clean fingernails in a month. You’ve ruined all your clothes and your shoes and your hair. You sweat and you freeze and you itch and you sneeze. You sow and you pick and you weed and you sow and you pick and you weed and you sow. You water, you water, you water again.

You can’t sit at home without feeling guilty, you can’t buy fruit in a shop anymore. You can’t  go away for more than a week. You can’t have a hangover because there’s work to be done. You can’t plan a picnic if the weather is good. You can’t wear skirts because your legs are all bruised. You paint your nails and they’re ruined in an hour. You’ll never have an even tan.

You annoy all your mates with talk about plants. You can’t go anywhere without buying seeds. You notice flowers in everyone’s gardens. You take photos of spiders and worms. You learn basic latin against your own will.

You panic when it’s windy in case the plants suffer. You panic when it’s sunny in case there’s a drought. You panic at the sight of frost. You panic when it rains too hard. You meltdown when there’s snow in March, you rain-dance when there’s drizzle in May.

You become “that girl who grows her own food, let’s ask her lots of questions about pruning roses”. You have to pretend you know what you’re doing. You spend more time with plants than with people.

You dig and you weed and you thin out and you sow and you water and you rake and you prune and you grow……..and you’re exhausted all the time.

Then something happens in the midst of it all.

You bring home a batch of fresh food from the garden, you cook some stewed rhubarb with fresh chocolate mint. You have a cup of lemon balm tea. You know you’re the luckiest woman in the world!


0 thoughts on “The Payoff”

  1. I had to look up what gillets were and had a good laugh at “You become “that girl who grows her own food, let’s ask her lots of questions about pruning roses”. ” because I get that a lot for houseplants instead of roses, but yeah.

  2. Hey, Fiona! I found your blog a few months ago, and I’ve been reading it regularly. I just wanted to let you know that you’ve been a not-so-minor inspiration for my baby steps towards growing my own food. I’ve eked out a little patch in my back garden in Kildare (far smaller than your allotment!), and I’m now growing salad and squash and beans and chard and kale and all sorts. Your blog has been a huge help through it all. Your writing is always so enjoyable and compelling — so, mega thanks, and good vibes for this growing season!

    1. Thanks so much Kat. I’m so happy the blog is helping, that’s the highest compliment I could get 🙂 I’m delighted you’re growing some veggies, it’s such a positive thing to do! Let me know how you’re getting on 🙂

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