Happy New Year

Nearly 2009 already! What happened? It’s only been 2 minutes since it was 2008. It’s a well known fact that the years pass faster as you get older, but at this rate I’m going to wake up and find I’m 83!

2008 has been the most amazing year for us. Back in March the book was finally published and much to my surprise climbed its way into the top 30 on Amazon for a bit. It’s dropped back a bit now, but still doing well.

Having discovered people seem to like what I write, I was persuaded to write another book more specific to allotment holders and that’s nearly finished (just the final proof read to go) and will be out in March 2009.

As if that wasn’t enough, I’ve a third book nearly finished but not growing or gardening this time. It’s more a general book about lifestyle, attitudes and being frugal. So far it’s had 4 titles! I think we’re settled on Low Cost Living but the publisher’s marketing people may well find something else to call it yet.

2009 promises to be as busy for us as 2008 was, Val’s recipes section on the site has been a real hit and we’ve had a few emails asking if she was intending to do a book as well. So, we’re co-authoring a recipe book. Hopefully that will be out in July.

One thing I’m really proud of in 2008 is my part in helping bring two problems to the foreground. Because this web site tends to come up high on the search engines like Google, the press tend to pick up on things here, so my little sparks helped to get a couple of fires going.

The first was the aminopyralid toxic manure problem. This was an absolute nightmare for gardeners and thanks to the press coverage and petitions to the government, the product was eventually withdrawn. Due to the persistence of this chemical, the problem will be with us until 2013 but at least it’s not going to get worse now.

The other area I think I’ve helped on has been bringing the shortage of allotments to the front. I’m afraid you don’t get anything done if you don’t cause a fuss and that’s another area where I was contacted on by the press frequently.

The credit crunch has turned into the recession and the way things look we could have a depression to compare with the 1929 crash. Now this is awful for a lot of people but I think it could actually have some upsides.

For a start, as the property market falls and the value of land falls the developers aren’t trying to get their hands on allotments. In fact, I think we might even see an increase in numbers for the first time since 1939.

The economic pressure will result in more people growing their own, which will cut down on food miles and I think improve health. Once you’ve eaten decent quality and tasty fruit & vegetables, those ‘ready meals’ become less attractive.

I also think it’s going to stop the obscene consumerism that’s become endemic in our society. A study showed that we throw away a third of the food we buy. I know it’s hard to believe but I checked it out and as far as I can tell it’s accurate.

Do we really need the latest phone and 5,000 texts a month? For goodness sake, email is easier and free! How about 42″ plasma TVs? Why on earth do people fill half the room with a television that would grace a small cinema? Don’t even get me started on Xbox and Wii (prize for the stupidest name ever)

Then we’ve got those 4x4s. Now before anybody posts a comment that they really need a humungous 4×4 mini tank to get Jemima to school on the one day in the year we may have snow in Chelsea, I don’t believe you! I’ve been driven on an ice road across a mountain pass in a blizzard in Norway. The car was a small Skoda.

I really do hope the financial problems result in a more sensible approach to our spending and thereby help the planet. I’m not one of the ‘knit your own muesli’ brigade, but things have gotten out of control

Plans for 2009

Apart from writing, there’s a lot more I want to do with this web site. My challenge is to make the time! I’m sub-contracting some of my other web work, so hopefully that will give me the time to do what I want on here and to have more time for actually growing.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s that we never know what lies ahead. I’m looking forward to some surprises for 2009 and hoping they’ll be pleasant surprises.

Happy New Year!


Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
One comment on “Happy New Year
  1. Ian Hawkins says:

    great news about your books, from an expat form Northampton now living in Michigan with an ever increasing veggie garden, i read your diary and use you as referance.
    have a happy new year and keep those rants comming

    thank again
    Ian Hawkins

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