Sunday, April 03, 2005

Aches and pains

From many TV programmes I have images of people in (usually hot and dry) developing countries breaking up poor ground to plant food crops. They work apparently more in hope than expectation. I can only admire their courage and effort.

I spent three hours in my vegetable garden yesterday, using a very similar tool to that on the TV, to break up the ground ready to plant my spuds when I get back at the end of next week. Now for some time I've been using my spade to turn over the ground for the first time in 3, 10 or 20 years, depending on which of the locals you talk to. I felt hardened to the work. BUT, change the tool, and you change all the movements and muscles used to make them. So, after three hours on the new pick-axe-type digging thingy, I am shattered today. Muscles I didn't know I had are introducing themeslves with every tap on the keyboard. And that was ground that has been rained on daily all week, is pretty rich in organic material, and has already been broken up with a spade. And it was about 16 in the shade, with a nice breeze.

How do people who have to do this for days and weeks to feed themselves and their families do it? I can think of just one word to say to them. Respect.

Friday, April 01, 2005

The weekend is precious

Here we are approaching the French weekend. This is somewhat different from the British weekend, since, especially families with children, Saturday bears a remarkable resemblance to weekdays.

Our bundle of joy will be going to school for the morning, and be back at lunchtime for her habitual pizza. She's invited a friend to play in the afternoon; and on Sunday we're going to eat with newly-met friends. So we won't have much time together this weekend. School on Monday, and I set off on the mad April tour before she gets back.

Knowing I'll be away for all but 36 hours in the next two weeks is only bearable because of the time I have already had, every day when I am mostly here. But I am so aware that that time is precious because of the time I spend away. The highs and lows, summer and winter, home and away, swings and roundabouts.