Monday, January 29, 2018

Blog ... what blog ?

Permaculture Magazine have just published a video (above) of Maddy Harland interviewing Perrine Hervé-Gruyer of Bec Hellouin farm in Normandy, France. They have used photos and videos that I took during my visit last year and, when crediting me, kindly included the website address of this blog. If you’ve come here as a result, you might well ask, “what blog?” as I haven’t added written anything since early 2015. For you, and anybody else who stumbles upon this abandoned tome with its dusty archives, here’s why I stopped.

Some time ago (April 2006) we moved into our current house and started our permaculture project. I used to begin each day with a list of tasks I thought I could fulfil but the list was invariably overambitious, so the sun went down many times with me feeling not only physically tired but also down at heart as I hadn’t achieved what I set out to do. Gabrielle cleverly suggested that I start a blog, something I’d only just heard about. The idea was to unwind at the end of a day by typing up what we’d been up to. My online diary quickly became a chronological record of all our activities and helped me realise that, despite still not completing the unrealistic lists of tasks planned for each day, we were nevertheless achieving lots and progressing our projects.

To begin with, I hadn’t thought too much about for whom, what or why I was writing, other than as a trick to help manage my mental health, but I quickly got to enjoy the social aspect of interacting with people leaving comments. I got a bit distracted by repeatedly Googling “permaculture blog” to glory in rising up to be number one for a while. That had nothing to do with any amazing qualities of my epistles but rather indicated the paucity of regular permaculture blogging at that time. It did give me a false sense of importance though.

One side effect was that I very much enjoyed developing my writing and thanks to the encouragement of friend Mark Sampson (writer, journalist, occasional DJ and builder of a straw bale house in the Lot region of France) I started writing magazine articles. At first, I wrote for English magazines but eventually began writing for a couple of French magazines, an organic gardening revue, Les 4 Saisons du Jardin Bio, and one on ecological building, La Maison Écologique. Writing magazine articles absorbs lots of my time and the so the blog got gently abandoned, I’m afraid. A couple of times I’ve thought that I should make the effort to start it up again but common sense always intervenes.

Meeting Charles and Perrine and spending time on their farm was a high point of 2017 for me. It fundamentally affected my perceptions of permaculture and, as a result, has changed some of our practice and plans for the future. You can read all about it in my article “Miraculous Abundance” in the 25th anniversary issue of Permaculture Magazine (Nº 94 Winter 2017) available as a back issue (as the new magazine has just arrived in our letterbox) and online. Right, I’m off now, last one out of this blog, please turn the lights off !