We got our allotment last winter (January, I think) and we’ve pretty much done a full year of it. The above photo is a before and after collage. It’s good to see that we made a lot of progress – there’s still loads to be done, but we got it into good shape and ate some decent food, all in a busy year of getting married.
This was personal therapy, too. I spend a lot of time behind a computer screen, and working on an allotment shook all that artificial stuff out of me. Things were real and tactile on the allotment. Senses were stimulated – not just sight and sound, but smelling, feeling. During this year, I started taking online arguments far less seriously than I used to. I won’t say I withdrew from digital communities much, but the allotment certainly helped put things into perspective. It allowed some proper thinking time – or sometimes just not thinking at all. That made writing far more liberating and enjoyable than it had been. I think I started using the internet differently as a result: without being so immersed in stuff, it just seemed like one huge culture of mock-outrage to generate hits and advertising revenue. Anyway, suffice to say, this has done my mind some good. Doing Real Stuff – in whatever form that may take – is probably the best writing advice I can give now. It keeps your head pretty much in the right place.