‘I like to have space to spread my mind out in’ - Virginia Woolf
Living in lockdown brings out the best and the worst in us: a time for more self-reflection, a time to find out what we like about ourselves and what we don’t! How we actually get along with our nearest and dearest up close and personal. You thought you were an easy person to get along with but perhaps you're not? Never before have we had so much time to evaluate ourselves. What really matters most!
One of the things that I’ve discovered is that I’m generally happy with quite little!
Our family has loved many camping trips, and on one memorable occasion, we survived, all seven of us, in a tent in Devon for two weeks in non-stop rain! But camping always makes me realise how little we actually need. It seems so excessive to come home to all the things I hadn’t really missed. Sometimes having all those extra things just complicates things. I must be a simple person because I even appreciate having fewer choices on the menu when you eat plant-based!
So perhaps it’s in my nature to find something deeply satisfying about lockdown bringing out the ‘use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without’ mentality in all of us. Making the most of what we have as we can’t run to the shops as we would normally do. Finding imaginative ways of using up the leftovers and clearing out the fridge. I think it’s brought out the creative, problem-solving side that we rarely use in modern society. But if we’ve managed to make something or figure out how to use it in a different way it can be really rewarding.
Emily and I have become the self-appointed gardeners in our house. Neither of us has any experience but plenty of enthusiasm. So we’re quite literally making it up as we go along. Had we taken on this project under normal circumstances we’d have been popping to the shops frequently. But as that’s not possible when we need things, we have to figure it out with what we have, the problem-solving side that we rarely use in modern society. But if we’ve managed to make something or figure out how to use it in a different way it can be really rewarding.
It’s amazing what you can achieve with half a trowel, a few packets of seeds that we grabbed on the last day before lockdown and a couple of bags of compost. Oh, how I wish I could tell my past self to grab a few more!! Luckily for the first time this year, we made use of our compost bins and as if by magic all our horrible food waste turned into black gold!!
Had we had access to the shops we, undoubtedly would have bought wood to make raised beds but had to make do with some old fencing posts that had been hanging about the garden for years. The plants don’t seem to mind growing in such rough accommodation! I’m sure we’d have purchased bamboo sticks for the peas to climb up but made a little teepee for them that we are very proud of from old sticks that we found after trimming the trees last year. And we’ve been very ‘Blue Peter’ using every yogurt pot, toilet roll holder and butter carton. Surely everything has another use?
Perhaps one of the things I’m learning from this experience is that I’m usually quite content with relatively little and as humans when we are given the chance, we can be quite good at solving things!