Up and at it the early for the golden sunrise with my Kellogg’s breakfast, followed by tea with lemon drops, which is pure summertime gold for this crushed heart of mine.
A great start today around this old stump of the world. I’m off to see Shirley and that moneymaker of hers. We try her yellow brandy wine, settling to watch black beauty. Meanwhile, at the ranch, ‘himself’ is preparing dinner, tomato soup. An avid gardener, he grows his own, so it should be flavoursome, delightful usually, but I may have overdone it already, just a little for me and a Black Russian nightcap before bed.
If you’re a gardener and know your tomatoes from your to-may-toes, you may recognise some of the varieties on these word vines. However, I’m amazed at the range of colour, size, flavour and textures on offer. I can understand how growing them became popular during lockdown when so many of us retreated to our gardens, balconies and window boxes.
The competition was fierce, with social media posts of greenhouses and vegetable plots that looked like graves for giants. But they seeded hope, the crop we desperately needed to harvest. I was reminded of the old ‘dig for victory’ posters of World War II. It certainly felt like a war; just one with an unseen enemy. If only it could have been eradicated with a bit of pesticide. We must learn to work with nature, not against it.
I couldn’t help but feel that nature was teasing us outside with fantastic weather during the first lockdown. Then, when a combination of working from home and social distancing shushed our world, stilling the motorways, the skies became a stage for birdsong without manufactured effects of vapour trails. The traffic tinnitus was healed with the hum of insect life. Sure it was so quiet you could almost hear the greenfly fart!
Yes, we grew, but have we grown? Of course, like any plant, we put down roots and drew in the benefits, some surviving like a weed in a paving crack. But what now? What of those greenhouses that were bought when we couldn’t create vapour trails? Are the vegetable plots covered in weeds or making way for the hot tub? And the vegetables, are we back to plastic-wrapped and complaining about the lack of availability on our supermarket shelves when we know we can do better?
We are a heritage variety as humans, but we can get blight too. Like plants and animals, we constantly adapt to our surroundings for self-preservation, but plants cannot get up and walk away. Instead, they respond in situ by turning their face to the sun, rerouting towards the water, reaching tendrils for support and curling up in adverse conditions.
If the pandemic taught us anything, we learned that we could not get up and walk away from it. We were grounded in more ways than one.
Golden Sunrise, Kellogg’s Breakfast, Lemon Drops, Summertime Gold, Crushed Heart, Old stump of the world, Shirley, Moneymaker, Yellow Brandy Wine, Black Beauty, Gardener’s Delight, Black Russian – all varieties of tomato.