After a day spent hammering away at the keyboard yesterday – ebay parcels and banknotes to be written up for sale – I decided to devote most of my evening to my beloved, as she has had another harrowing day at work. After much moaning and eating fish and chips we both fell asleep around 10.30 in front of the TV and didn’t wake up until midnight. And That is why there is another untidy gap in my history of blog posts.
Julia has been under considerable stress at work over recent months because, as with all successful garden projects, everybody wants a piece of it. It’s a lovely, relaxing place to spend a day according to her manager, who spent a lazy, sunny day there in late summer, eating fruit and chilling out.
It’s not quite so lovely in November, with no heat or light or running water and a group that needs supervising, chemical toilets that need scrubbing and all the routine tasks to attend to (so that people can come down in summer and steal all your crops).
People always want to ‘work’ on garden projects when they are running well, but they never want to do the actual work, and they often disrupt things due to ignorance and stupidity. Here are three examples of what she is up against. I will offer them here as slightly humorous stories, rather than serious complaints, as the full list of problems is long and boring and makes me think murderous thoughts. These are just three edited highlights.
One, Julia went down one day after her regular Wednesday day off to find a large hole in the garden. The Wednesday staff had decided the garden needed a new pond as the three it already has are clearly not enough. Julia shrugged it off as she is becoming immune to the random stupidity. When she went to the compost bins she found that the bin she had just spent two days emptying (ready to move compost) had been filled with rubble by the pond diggers. It took two days to clear it. (They have, by the way, dug the hole the wrong size for the liner and the garden is let with a hole and a discarded liner, because they have now lost interest.)
Two, she went to the main base on the edge of town and found a display of succulents on show. Apparently they were too good to leave in the polytunnel and everyone should be able to enjoy them. One of the visiting staff had decided this and without discussion, had removed them. When Julia complained and pointed out that they were part of an ongoing project she was told they were Mencap property and they would do what they liked. However, they aren’t Mencap property, they are our property. We sourced them and loaned them to the garden because, until recently, there was never any money for the garden. They are part of a project where the group propagates them and sells the extras at Open Days to raise money for the garden.
She was then told that she should not take her own things to the garden and that she should remove them. So, no succulent project, no enrichment experience for the clients, no fund-raising and only about half the succulents we used to have as quite a lot have disappeared. Most managers would have apologised and thanked Julia for the resources she provides.
Finally, she inspected the wormery yesterday. She found that somebody has filled it with sand. We are mystified why anybody would do this, as worms don’t live in sand and don’t eat sand.
Why, why, why, why, why?
There is a meeting on Monday to discuss the garden. I don’t think it will help. I think homicide would help, as some of the staff will clearly be more use as soil improver than they are as human beings.