Hi. So this is the first time I have blogged since the UK government brought in measures to curb the spread of the corona virus a week or two ago. We are experiencing strange times, travelling through unchartered territory …………. Anglesey – where Ron and I live – is an island whose economy largely depends on tourism. Visitors from other parts of the UK flock here to walk the coastal path, to enjoy the beaches and the remoteness of its country-side. This month – March – is the month when sleepy caravan sites yawn slowly and blink as the spring sunshine emerges ……. when caravan owners arrive to check on their weekend homes, bringing with them colourful new awnings, garden furniture and pot plants ………. For us at Bryn Celyn Farm Shop, it is the month when long-time customers call in to pick up their first pork pies of the season. They sit, have a coffee, and chat about what has happened since they left to spend the winter on the mainland.
This spring- however – it is very, very different. Our farmshop and cafe opened for three or four weeks – but are closed. Sunday lunch bookings are cancelled. The gate to our smallholding is shut. We, in fact, had a double wammy. The week when we were thinking of closing because of the virus, the council wrote to us and told us to apply for retrospective planning permission to keep the café open – two devasting blows in one week ! Bars, pubs and restaurants have now been told to close. The need to “social distance” is closing down other small businesses – you can’t have your hair cut if the hairdresser has to stand two metres away from you………….. However, this weekend many, many visitors flocked to the island …….. either to relax, or to self-isolate in their second homes……. The reality of this was that the influx of people to Anglesey could endanger residents’ lives. Yesterday’s Facebook posts from angry Anglesey residents, together with the council’s statement asking holiday-makers to stay away from Anglesey – all of this was painful evidence of a potentially catastrophic situation for us all here.
Society seems to be destabilised. The heated exchanges on FB between Anglesey residents and second home owners reminded me of a past time when everyday life ceased following the humdrum pattern of “boulot, metro, dodo”. During the miners’ strike of the 1970s, life became bizarre, bordering on the dangerous . Policemen and miners fought in the streets; the electricity was turned off in the evenings; I revised for O levels by candle light; I remember waking up in the morning to find our garden fence had disappeared – someone was using it to light a fire to keep warm. Our community was fighting for survival.
The world is- again – becoming unrecognisable…. something like .….. Beyond Thunderdome…. Please excuse the 1980’s outfits……. but this film and its headline song fills me with a similar sense of unease.
Please stay safe………..
Today it is Monday 23rd March 2020 ….. trying to bring a bit of normality to life….. Ron and I are trying to keep busy. Ron is rotivating part of a field so that we can plant out the fruit and vegetables which are germinating in tiny tubs in the polytunnel. I am blogging……….
We may be staying with the confines of the Bryn Celyn property for some time……… so we’ve bought half a dozen chickens and they are settling nicely into the new henhouse. Amazingly, they have laid eggs this morning and we have had poached egg for lunch !!! You don’t have to have a smallholding to keep chickens. You can keep chickens in your garden…….. Follow the link to see the book that I used to learn how to look after our first chickens when we lived in Sedgefield, County Durham https://amzn.to/2Jb1NiU It taught me the basics of looking after chickens. It talks about what you need in terms of accommodation, food, keeping the hens healthy….. One of our neighbours in Sedgefield kept about three chickens so that their children could learn how to care for animals. They had a smaller patch of garden than we did !
When we first moved to Bryn Celyn, we kept about 70 chickens. That was the time we had the egg shop outside the house. You might remember it. We still have it but it’s a bit tatty now. Drop us a line if you were one of the passers-by who bought our eggs !!!!
I’ve also just had a quick read of a book that came with a polytunnel we bought a couple of years ago.
I’ve found it really useful. Haven’t got a copy but here is a link to a similar one you may be interested in https://amzn.to/2QEAH7T I’m going to plant some flower seeds this week……. Ron has already planted aubergines, garlic, potatoes, onions, all sorts of vegetables……… I’ll talk to you more next time. Again, you don’t need a huge garden to grow all sorts of goodies…… Ron is “vertical gardening! – I’ll tell you more about that next time, too.
I need to go now as Lulu, our large black/saddleback pig is asking for her afternoon tea ! I’ll blog again in a day or so. Margaret xxx