A neighbour popped round today with her mother-in-law who is also a gardener, but in Catalonia, Spain, where she has lived for the last ten years. I was very pleased that she was impressed with my meagre efforts but then she told me of her little plot. The poor dear has to manage with two acres from which she is more than self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables. She has a small almond grove and olive grove from which she produces all her own cooking oil! The hens provide all the eggs she needs and some meat which, along with the almonds, satisfies much of her protein requirement. At seventy-two years old she manages all this on her own which I found quite inspiring. I was also just a little envious.
Interestingly she also said that the Catalan people, even in the towns, have a very strong affinity with the land and with food. They tend to eat seasonally and mostly what can be grown locally...how different from the U.K. On that point she mentioned that she'd recently met a chap who was a fresh produce buyer for one of the major supermarkets. Our recent good weather has taken many by surprise so to keep the shelves stocked they were sourcing salad crops from Egypt. Now, the food value of a lettuce is negligible so can anyone explain the sense in shipping them thousands of miles?
Like me, she believes that in the very near future many people are going to get a nasty shock when they realize how much they are going to have to pay for their food. If you don't grow at least some of your own now might be a good time to start.
Well, that's the preachy bit over so now for something completely different. Earlier this year I was doubtful of ever seeing a butterfly in 2013 but now they are everywhere. Our buddleia was alive with them this afternoon. Peacocks, painted ladies, red admirals, tortoiseshells and the not so welcome whites. Butterflies in abundance after all the prophecies of doom. We think we know what's going on in the natural world but we really haven't a clue. Nature is in charge, not us.
Sorry, no pictures this time but I'm sure you all know what a butterfly looks like.