43. The Good Old Days?



I once had a garden in Oxfordshire, England. Sincere apologies if I’m sounding like Meryl Streep in Out of Africa … ‘I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills’. Somehow it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, and I certainly don’t see Robert Redford kicking around here ….

However, in my garden, I discovered that digging up potatoes is like finding buried treasure, rather exciting. Picking beans (before the dog has sniffed them out) is total satisfaction, and the monotony of shelling peas is absolute therapy (mindfulness I think it’s now called).

Now, it strikes me that these are some of the normal everyday tasks that our grandparents used to do … did they suffer from anxiety and depression? Did they have the same levels of diabetes and obesity that our generation suffers? Did they hand their child in the supermarket a packet of crisps and their phone to play on, in order to stop the tantrum? I don’t think so somehow …

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they had it easy in any way, shape or form particularly with the advances in medicine as an example, but surely there’s some form of halfway house to be had?

They did the washing without the help of a washing machine, they cooked without blenders and microwaves, they cleaned without hoovers and spray polish, they wrote, read and enjoyed handwritten letters. Everything took time, and effort and patience was the norm and absolutely necessary.

No online food deliveries or factory-made meals with ingredients defined by letters and numbers and more often than not, ending in ‘phosphate’. What exactly is disodium diphosphate anyway? Some sort of raising agent … what’s wrong with an egg from a happy chicken. I’m on a roll now, warming to my theme .. does anyone actually know what partially inverted refiners syrup is? Apparently it’s in my ginger nuts. And no, I don’t really want to know, I’m just having a rant on my soapbox.

Perhaps I’m simply feeling a little nostalgic for an era of which I only know snippets of, from what has been passed down through the generations. Perhaps I crave some simplicity in my life to help me. Perhaps I crave some digging up of potatoes, weeding the beds, working up a sweat and doing these things that we now call mindfulness, but in those days was just called life. Perhaps I simply crave my garden … not at the foot of the Ngong Hills, just my little simple garden in England.

Katie 🌼

21 thoughts on “43. The Good Old Days?”

  1. I avoid all that chemical stuff too, and feel it’s bad to consume. We lived the last 4-5 years near the NJ Turnpike, source of vast pollution, and it was very bad for our health. The sunsets were stellar, since the chemicals made them look like prisms and rainbows all the time, instead of just regular sun goes down and looks different every time. I had hoped to grow organic vegetables here near Woodstock NY since we moved here last year, but the chipmunks and deer etc. eat every scrap of seed and plant, so I am happy to just buy it from the farmer’s market or local co-op. We intentionally do not have a microwave in this house, since the food we used to have in it was crap, even the ‘natural’ stuff. Oh well. Gardens are great, and even houseplants indoors, and I love the chipmunks and deer and squirrels and birds and love to watch them in our yard. Nature is still bigger than I am, as it should be!

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    1. I think you’re absolutely on the same wavelength as me. It simply cannot be good for us. We don’t have chipmunks but we do have rabbits which can cause a bit of an issue. My dog used to pull the French beans off the lovely wigwams that I made for them to grow up. It was such a funny thing to watch that In truth I never reprimanded her for! She was a sweet, darling dog. I love that you can watch the animals in your yard, it must be wonderful ☀️

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      1. It is great. WE spent buckets of money though buying peanuts and organic grains for the birds and animals, since we can buy them in bulk at the local coop, so we may buy a few pounds of millet or something and see how they like it. They come from all over to eat the food, even local deer who eat the peantus shells and all. I saw a squirrel yesterday and today which seems to have survived some terrible injury to the neck and shoulder but is running around well and eating and all. I am glad it seems to be healing. They are all so unique.

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      2. Oh that’s so lovely. We’re up in Glasgow in Scotland so the only wildlife we see much of are seagulls and the occasional squirrel. Having said that, we came face to face with a fox the other night. I don’t know who was more surprised … the fox or us!

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  2. Things were simpler in the “good old days”, people were happy just existing, ordinary day to day stuff.
    Interestingly, one of my therapeutic activities is gardening… it’s on my list of things that improve my mood.

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  3. Oh I too yearn for the simple life, and I have at some points tried to embrace it – I live on an acreage with geriatric no-longer-laying chickens and a very large vegetable garden, it’s got raised beds and all! Unfortunately if you look out to it now you will see an overflowing mass of weeds and neglect with a smattering of self seeded tomatoes and a scraggly pumpkin vine thats given up and fast heading for the hills. If you look a little closer there are also some yellow squash that have grown to the size of a dinner plate because, as it turns out, nobody in my family actually likes yellow squash… Although despite my gardening attempts being described as palliative care at best, I really do think I would have been well suited to the ‘olden days’, providing of course that I was a rich lady of a fine manor with countless staff to do all of the hard work for me… I guess for now I will just fill up my grocery cart with all manner of things ending in ‘phosphate’ and settle for feeling suitably guilty about it all. xoxo Kate

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