Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Holding on to normal - days of COVID-19

24th March 2020, North Yorkshire, UK

I write this on the day after the announcement from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom about the lockdown measures being imposed on all citizens in order to try and control the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19.

Having an allotment, and having had a lot of career experience of preparing disaster recovery/business continuity plans, I've got perhaps a little bit of a head start on some when it comes to being able to deal with the situation we all now find ourselves in. Whilst scorn was poured out by some on those people that were stocking up over the past year or so in preparation for the "expected" dislocation of a no-deal Brexit, those that did and who kept topping up the "Brexit box", now find themselves not having to worry too much about the provision of many staple foodstuffs. 

Having the allotment means that we have also have plenty of jam in the cupboard and chutney too, and for any lighter moments or the need to forget, several bottles of parsnip wine! 

There was some good news today about being able to go to allotments under the new movement restrictions when Michael Gove was specifically asked about whether going to an allotment counted as exercise. 

https://t.co/6q8CmqzpjO?amp=1

In terms of hygiene, our allotment site does not have an association and so there's no a communal area to worry about and locked gates are to each individual allotment so the problem that some allotments have with potential virus being left on a communal gate or on items in a communal area does not exist to the same extent as in at other sites. At any one time you are well above the 2m metres away from other allotment holders unless there was a chance meeting on the path to the site. 

Personally I would have regarded it also as going to get food! (though with only six or so leeks and a bit of rhubarb it would have been quite a small harvest right now!) . The virus has struck at the time in the year that the UK traditionally was in the "hungry gap", the time in the year that the winter stores are exhausted and the summer crops are still far from ready. Of course, with global food chains, the UK could in theory import food to service the needs of the population, but this is a global pandemic and two main sources of imported food - Italy and Spain - are further down the coronavirus timeline than we are right now and there are concerns as shown in the link below.

The Government have been behind the curve so far, and it is almost the case that knowing what will happen next can be based on what they say they are *not* going to do. The panic buying by some has created a unnecessary hole in the supply chain from farm to fork, but even so had that not taken place there are still downstream pressures
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/coronavirus-rationing-food-fruit-vegetables-france-spain-supermarkets-a9418446.html


I am no longer working as the shop I work in is shut for the foreseeable. So, although this is really not the circumstances in which I would wish it, I have quite a bit of time for Spring planting and sowing.

Jobs we are undertaking right now include:

Planting potatoes (red Duke of York, Cara)
Planting summer onion sets (Turbo)
Sowing Cabbages (Golden Acre)
Sowing Broccoli (Komodo)
Sowing Calabrese (Spridon)
Sowing peas (Feltham First, Onward)
Sowing Gherkins (Venlo)
Sowing peppers (long ones and bell peppers saved from previous years fruits)
Planting out broad beans 
Sowing Antirrhinum (Rembrandt), Aquilega, Sweet peas (various ones)

Over the allotment today were a family of buzzards - four circling and calling out, the local blackbirds and sparrows were going about their business and the dunnocks chasing each other about as usual!

Nature will carry on without us. The buds and blossom on the trees will bloom, flowers will open their petals, the leaves will appear on the trees, birds will nest and produce young.

All of can still enjoy that nature, as long as we obey the rules. The rules are there to keep us safe. No excuses. No second chances. Stay at home, apart from the exceptions outlined. Those who have to put themselves in harm's way to keep us safe from this virus deserve all our thanks and gratitude.

Michelle









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