It's almost half past eight, not precisely early, but it is Saturday. Bank Holiday this weekend, which means a mass of people at all the big outlets getting their Bank Holiday shopping offers. Me, I am going to mosey on over to the allotment and try out this new tool I've got.
It's called an azada, and is like a mattock - a long handle and the knife/blade is a wide piece of sharp steel shaped a bit like a spade but is set at a little more than 90º backwards. So it is L shaped. Instead of using body weight and my foot to push it into the soil, I lift it about shoulder height and swing it down, allowing the weight of the head do the work for me. I have been assured this is much easier on the back than using the spade, so I hope so, because today is the moment of truth. I got it a couple of days ago, but as it has been bucketing down which normally turns this soil into a thick quagmire I desisted. But last night was clear, and this morning is supposed to be clear, so a little later I'm off to see what miracles can be achieved with this.
The last time I was at the 'lottie, my friend was with me, digging out my potato patch, bless him. We planted 4 kg of Charlotte and Bambino as late second crop. These have been touted as Christmas spuds, so I'm hoping.
I've had the 'lottie for about 2 years. The first year I planted strawberries & raspberries, and rhubarb, and a few potatoes then let it all go to seed. I had a weed infested patch. And at the time all my energy was being invested into something else so neglect was the result.
Then in September last year I gave up half of the half, so I now have a quarter plot. And I had big plans. Friend had come down (he's very handy with tools) and fitted me up 4 raised beds, and I popped in some beans & moved my raspberries and strawberries. Sadly they didn't take to well to the transplantation so I'm going to have to get some more this winter. This year, darn it, I had an operation right at the start of the planting season and was unable to do anything for months. Depression, back strain and the feelings of being overwhelmed also led to the 'lottie being neglected this year, but this month, we have had progress. :) Potatoes at least. And cleared beds, with some new soil in them - I have a few bags of compost & manure to dig into them, and some weed suppressing fabric over the top until I am ready to plant.
I have been here before - all enthusiasm and shiny happy plans, and it all descended into a big fat damp squib. :( But armed with my new motto - Do or Not Do, there is no Try - I have new hope, plus a funky new azada to try out. :)
I am hoping the swing action I will be using will translate itself to understanding my muscles better too. I have been on a short course to learn how to play golf this summer, that has been fun, but with the drawback of severe back pain. I am sure this is all entirely because my stomach muscles were cut during my op, and the extra weight gain since has all settled in my tummy, creating an even bigger strain on my back. So losing weight, and especially losing it on my middle is the biggie! Gardening is going to help massively, as is swimming and walking, and doing sit ups and crunches. And I'm hoping those endorphins from the exercise and all the extra fresh air & different places I will be going to as a result will stave off my depression this time.
Time for lacing on my trainers and hopping off for a twenty minute walk. I have decided to just do 20 mins 3x a week to start, and to go for swimming 3x a week as well. Small steps, small goals, incremental adjustments, get my head and body used to it and then increase it gradually. I think my idea of exercise every day was a bit too much - I seem to have this hotwire gut reaction to any kind of imposition, even if it is me who is doing it! Daft huh. Go figure.
The important thing is to keep moving, keep hydrated and be mindful of what I'm putting in my mouth. That will do for now.