My little sand-jumper - still bouncing at 11 (he’ll regret it later. Don’t we all)

This is why I sit and stare at the bathtub pond. Just this. 🐸

Yet this marginalisation of people whose name or face doesn’t “fit in” isn’t just a problem for those who actually experience it. Like any human endeavour, especially in the creative arts, gardening is enriched by meritocracy. The ability for people to bring their own diverse and unique experiences benefits everyone. Perhaps it’s time we started acting like it.

James Wong Weeding out horticulture’s race problem

A red poppy came to the garden, uninvited

I’m not much of a flower gardener and keep being told to restrict colours in borders for a more soothing effect.

A red poppy came to the garden, uninvited.

Soothing is not everything. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the fire. Welcome red poppy. You’re home. 🌱

It’s been a harrowing two weeks but I am home at last and there is this. I feel so much better already 🌱

There is peace here

Day 7 of the micro.blog art challenge. Dementia Days. It’s hard to watch. Harder still to stay connected. For all of us. Procreate and Apple Pencil. #mbmay 🎨 🖌

Day 6 of the micro.blog art challenge. Here in one of the most stressful seasons of my life, self-care is not a luxury- it’s survival. 20 minutes, a cup of tea and a beach. That’ll do me. Procreate and Apple Pencil. #mbmay 🎨 🖌

I wonder what he’s thinking? 🐶

Day 5 of the micro.blog art challenge and things are tricky here, so I’ve dug into the archives to post something to remind me of happy harvest days last summer. 🌱 But is it art? #mbmay 🎨 🖌

Day 4 of the micro.blog art challenge sprint (I think). Home grown beetroot -Procreate with Apple Pencil. I created the representation, Mother Nature made the art. #mbmay 🎨🖌

Day 3 of the micro.blog art challenge sprint. More Procreate and Apple Pencil fun: Me balancing on stones in Monte Palace, Madeira. Good times. 🖌🎨 #mbmay

My husband can’t be with me at the moment, so he sent this funny little kid with a big nose instead 🐶

🌱 My husband (who doesn’t normally get involved in my food growing) has been carefully pinning down my crown prince squash today, being my hands while I am away. This too is love. This too 💕

A memory of me and my (entirely out of scale) dog walking the prom. It doesn’t have to be good, it just has to matter 🎨🖌 #mbmay

This Welsh Terrier doesn’t do swimming. He believes it would be unbecoming for an old gent 🐶

I’m no artist but I’d like to take part in the challenge any way. I traced this from a photo I took of the corten steel 1st world war statue ‘Tommy’. Tracing a photo in procreate is another way of meditating for me. Also an excuse to use Apple Pencil 🖌 🎨 #mbmay F11CEF65-7197-4044-953F-4266D899FD2E.jpg

I posted a photo of a quiche. I accidentally deleted a photo of a quiche. I posted a photo of a quiche. Chard. Home Grown. Nice 😊

Grief, Loss and the Kindness of Micro.blog

We’d been waiting for my nephew to die for a week. Or if I’m honest, much longer than that. Addiction took him years ago and it’s been a long and harrowing road since.

On the 15th May, the doctors told us he had just days left. Even a young body can only recover so many times. I should say we’d been told this before. He had been told this before. And then recovery came, and soon after, relapse. And repeat. And so it has been for a long while now. But it did seem different this time.

Unable to visit and say goodbye, I sat in my home, bags packed, 300 miles away, waiting for that call. The call that would tell me he had passed. The call that signalled my need to travel north to take over day-to-day care of my mother from my sis. The call we’d waited for, even hoped for, but would be the most unwanted call we’d ever receive.

The waiting is the worse. There is nothing so tragic that can happen in life, than waiting for that tragedy to happen in life. Always there, a shadow in the mind. It’s an especially cruel kind of limbo.

And so I waited. I couldn’t face making a YouTube video. I couldn’t face writing. Even growing and cooking didn’t help. I did the minimum to keep my work alive, and waited. Flicking through Screencasts Online, I saw a tutorial for Micro.blog. I’d signed up for it years ago and followed a couple of people, but couldn’t quite work out what it was at the time. I logged on. I saw some people whose names I recognised: @macgenie@patrickrhone @bsag . Familiar voices, steady voices, heartful voices. They were still here. Maybe this was something.

The welcome message reminded me of the intentions of this place. Safe.

Very quickly, @miraz @hollyhoneychurch @baker @tw2113 @dejus @diplomaticdiva welcomed me in - thank you. You didn’t know I was in this very dark place but you welcomed me anyway. Those little acts of kindness were so precious to me. Warm, safe.

My nephew passed away on Friday. I began my journey north, leaving behind my partner, my home, my garden, my safe place. I’m here now caring for my mother. It’s where I need to be. Locked down in a new place. A tougher place. My mother’s stage of dementia means we can not tell her that she has lost her only grandson. She no longer has the capacity to process the loss. And so I live here with her, in this sad, surreal place of untruth and unsteadiness. My heart is breaking.

We make funeral plans quietly while she sleeps. We try to explain the unexplainable to friends and family in snatched phone calls. No they can’t send flowers, no they can’t attend the funeral. We try to work out what a funeral can look like in these Covid times. There is nothing normal about this. The time-tested ceremonies and practices that accompany death are not available to us now. We make calls, we cry, we put on a brave face, we do the best we can.

In the spaces in between, I log on to Micro.blog. I connect with new friends and post a photo of a quiche. We share the little moments of everyday life and the things that interest us. We connect. I find myself ‘more me’ and less curated here. I take a moment to respond to posts that resonate in some way - it feels so different to the tap tap tap of the like.

I discover Micro.blog is not Twitter. Micro.blog is Micro.blog. Here we don’t just see people who are mirror images of us - or that version of us the algorithm has decided we are. We see kind strangers and kindred spirits. Kind strangers and kindred spirits with their own complicated and beautiful lives. They share some of our interests but have unfamiliar interests too - and they might just walk us into something new one of these days. I like it here. There is hope here. Room to move. We can explore. We are amongst friends. And when needed, we can take refuge from the storm and find some comfort here. Safe, Together. Thank you.

When it’s all feeling a bit out of control, I go down to the beach, walk in the pebbles and look out to sea. It helps me remember that it is all a bit out of control, as it always has been. And it will be ok.

Sometimes it’s good to just sit by the bathtub pond 🌱

Hi everyone, this is my first post on microblog. I was hoping it might turn out more interesting than this. Must do better.