On an early evening walk yesterday, we strolled past a farm with an unused plot of land. It’s just down the road from us, so most days I pass it, slowing down to stare at this half acre of potential. You see, it offers me a daydream. What if I could turn this plot of land into a cultivated, veg and fruit producing area? With a little shed fronting as a farm shop, I could take my growing ambitions to a whole new level!
I know some might think it a little unrealistic, but why not? It’s no less far-fetched than my other dreams of wanting to publish a book, build a show garden, front a gardening show, and be the golden child of the RHS; reeling off horticultural advice to keen gardeners who are hanging onto my every word as I strut about the stage at prestigious garden shows. (Despite hanging up my acting coat many years ago, I still pine for a little limelight – such a drama queen!)
So, why not add this to my wish list? It’s one fantasy I feel I could achieve. I’m a gardener, I know about the seasons, soil, sowing, growing and harvesting. I had an allotment, I now have a kitchen garden and I look after several large estates with their own kitchen gardens. This seems the obvious next step, but where do you start? Soph thinks I should knock on the farmer’s front door and have a conversation… but what if he agrees? Excitement, fear, success, failure all kick-in at once, turning the stomach and spinning my head. Can I do this? Should I do this? I know there’s enough passing trade, and like all businesses, I’d start small and slowly build. The shop would sell seasonal food, so there may be times there’s very little to sell, especially in the early days. However, there are enough people out here I could maybe convince to sell their own produce in the shop; eggs, honey, fruit, perhaps homemade jams. Food and community spirit under one rickety old roof!
If I make it to old age, and I have to be pushed around in a rusty wheelbarrow, I don’t want to look back with regret. If dreams fail, at least I tried. But I know life isn’t a sitcom, where after half an hour of challenges, the episode is wrapped up with a happy ending. This isn’t The Good Life… hang on, yes it is! We came out here for just that. To try and achieve something that seemed impossible four years ago, while we lived in London. I’m suddenly overcome with optimism, drive, even heroism. Look at me go! Me, Captain Harvest, Hero of the Dinner Plate: providing veg and nourishment to the good people of Suffolk.
Suddenly, the Kryptonite kicks in, and negativity drains me of my powers. So, I quickly take refuge in my Fortress of Solitude, the kitchen garden, to regain my strength. Here, I’m a large fish in a small pond. It’s familiar, comfortable, I can reign unchallenged. And as I carry out a little pruning, tidying and harvesting, the voice at the back of mind starts again… “If you build it, they will come”.