Saturday, 24 March 2007

Sat 24th March 07

I'd hoped for a lie in but my dad put paid to that as he rang at 8.20, as he'd heard 'Thought For The Day' on BBC Radio 4, which echoed a conversation that I'd had with him the previous evening. I'd wondered if our family's ancestors, who lived in Bristol, had been actively involved in the slave trade, as there is currently much discussion about whether we today should apologise for the actions of our forefathers. I reckon that we cannot apologise as we have no control over what they did in the past, but what we can do, and what I try to do, is to behave in such a way that recognises that injustices were done in the past and to ensure that we treat others with respect and equality. One of the reasons I'm a Green is that I recognise that bad things have happened and are happening, and I do not wish to be part of this. Racism still exists, here in York, as witnessed in a BNP leaflet put through our door recently. Greens oppose this bigotry and hatred, and try to extend love and respect to all.

Anyway, none of our ancestors were known to be directly involved, although one was an accountant and probably did the books for Bristol traders, so may have been indirectly involved. My Dad related the story of Noah, from Genesis in the Bible, who got drunk and became naked, and two of his sons covered him up. The other son, Ham, opposed this and let him be seen, and was therefore cursed by God, who said that his decendents would be enslaved. This story is what the Christians used to argue that slavery was just and right.

So I was now awake and soon was wondering what to do. Last night's Gardener's World on BBC2 reminded me that onion sets have to go in so I planned to go to the allotment and get the ground ready. Persuaded the boys to come too. However Gill wanted to take them to town as they have book tokens to spend and this morning would be better than this afternoon. So they got on the bus and I got on the bike and cycled round to get the last of my nominations, and ended up having a lovely coffee and chat with Debra and Adrian, who are good friends but we hardly ever spend any time with them, we're all so busy.

I got bread and came back in time for lunch, Gill and boys came back too and then we were able to go to the allotment. Gill feeling not too brilliant so she went to bed. I took a range of tools and some paper sacks for sticks and/or produce, and cycled to the veg shop for some items for tea plus sacks of compostables, and then back up to the allotment, which is up over a hill called Lamel Hill, and down a slope on Walmgate Stray. I persuaded the boys to do some weeding in an area which I had sown with 'green manure' last autumn, a mixture of grazing rye, vetch and field beans. The boys weeded out chickweed, already flowering and some seeding. I weeded the asparagus bed and restocked a compost heap. When the boys got bored they went for some explorations, and found great joy in pushing their bikes up Lamel Hill and cycling speedily down, time after time. I hoed the green manures off, one of the boys dug up some leeks and I dug up a generous load of Jerusalem artechokes, I've three varieties, some are huge, nearly a kilo each tuber.

The boys were getting a bit restless after 2 hours so came home with leeks, artechokes, broccoli, some sticks, and the onion sets that didn't get planted. I'll have to do them tomorrow or early next week. I did tea ... baked potatoes, broccoli, grated carrot, grated cheese. We all enjoyed it and watched some entertaining telly. I had been invited to a book launch at 7pm, my friend Rakesh Aggarwal's novel 'Reposessed'. He wrote a little book 'Thoughts, quotes and Poems on Happiness' and published it himself last year. Then at a writers event he spoke to 4oo or so publishers, and one asked him if he'd written anything else. He had, more than 10 years previously. They were interested and now it's been published by Sorelli. I'm really pleased for him, so went to the launch as did over 40 other people. It was a good event, mostly as I knew quite a few people (York is so small!) and Rakesh makes good food, as this is how he earns his living, catering at festivals. I meet up with him at the Big Green Gathering every year, with his vegetarian chips and curry van. I enjoyed the excerpts of the novel he read out, and I bought a copy for £5 and 4 Yorkys, as he's a YorkLETS member and accepts local currency. Lovely chats with several friends in common and some new folks, including a nice woman from Hull who's standing in the election for the first time, for the Greens. They haven't stood much there before, but the Greens are growing!

Speedy cycle home along the cycle path to a warm house and a wife who has lost her voice. Blogged and went on the Community Care website, looked at some other blogs for the first time properly, and enjoyed Peter Beresford's.

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