And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee'
Once planted I pruned them down. It felt like an act of vandalism, but is, I believe, the most effective way to help them root. After planting the willow we got to work clearing a mound of surplus earth from a vegetable patch ready for planting. When the excess soil had been removed, I took up a hoe, swinging it up and down to break up the damp clumps while earthworms struggled in the soil.
Saturday was icy and wet day. It rained down without a stopping, that cold rain laden with ice. The pond was close to saturation. Mud squelched up my wellies and squelched its way into my hair. The scarecrows at the far end slouched forward, sodden. A couple of hours in we stopped for hot drinks and chocolate beetroot cake. We stood huddling in the shed, packed together closely with our fingers wrapped around steaming coffee cups.
In spite of the weather and my apparent lack of gardening skills there was a therapeutic feel to working the soil and watching my area slowly transform. I arrived tired after a week at work, thoughts and worries swimming in my head like trigger fish caught in a bowl and I left calmer, ready for a weekend free of all that. I suspect our sanity may depend on places like this one, where we work close to nature growing what we need to eat, bringing life to empty spaces.
It's busiest at breakfast on the weekends, but everyone manages to squeeze in somehow – they have just expanded with bar style seating at the back. There’s also the Coastguard’s Ally bench outside on the porch for summer days.
Coffees are strong and robust, excellent with the French pastries, hot croissants, and cakes on the counter. For the more traditional, try a full English breakfast of fried eggs, fried bacon, sausages, bubble and squeak; and if you are more inclined to the alternative, there is a healthy breakfast of creamy poached eggs, chunky slices of wholemeal bread, mushrooms, beetroot, spinach leaves, fennel and tomato. If you want to pretend you’re healthy, but also fancy something fried like I did, that’s fine too.
‘You mean you want the healthy breakfast with a high calorie option’ my waitress asked.
‘Afraid so, just throw in some beetroot with the fry up and my conscience is clear.’ So she did. Spinach, fried bacon and beetroot. Like I said before, they do things differently.