There are times I go to the city centre fruit & veg market thinking I’ll get a really good deal on something; like the two very superior bunches of celery I got for £1 this past Saturday. Big, crisp, not at all bitter. One went straight into the soup pot, along with some sautéed onion, some grilled courgette, and a lacing of cumin. The first soup for colder weather, and very satisfying in its way.
But there are times I go to the market and come away with something only to discover it really belongs in the compost; like the bag of peaches I bought this past Saturday.
Why, when I’m looking at soft produce, do I let myself think that it’s going to be any good? Sure, they mostly look pretty good on the outside, are neither too firm nor too soft. But when I get home and slice them open, I find them dry, mealy and verging on rotten. If they weren’t also flavourless, I’d find some use for them. But as they are, they’ll become filler for something like apple compote. Or compost.
I’ve had this experience with avocadoes, mangoes, papayas, oranges, cucumbers, and even apples and pears. With avocadoes, I’ve learnt that one takes one’s chances, so it’s best to only spend money that I’m willing to waste. But maybe that should be the bye word for the market. It’s not a place to get fresh vegetables at good prices. It’s where the nearly rotten stuff gets flogged to those of us who don’t care or aren’t wary enough.
Some times I burn my food, and some times I explode it. In this instance, I forgot to put the upper screen in place. So when the water percolated through the coffee, everything went up the spout with enough force to flip the lid back, and spray coffee grounds across the back of the stove.
A fine mess that was. Fortunately I was awake enough to know what to do, instead of being flummoxed by it.
Here’s a question I’ve been pondering for years, even decades.
How might one combine interests in the following?
- Creative repurposing of material and social resources; making things, building, doing stuff with tools.
- Creative/productive use of leftover, neglected urban spaces, a.k.a. generativities.
- Landscape, agricultural, and local heritages.
- Food, particularly artisan food.
- Community activism, cohesion & participation.
- Regeneration schemes and issues.
- Social sector research.
- Web communications technology, i.e. social media, and graphical representations, e.g. maps.
- Free neighbourhood social events.
- A living wage, support in kind, or other means of sustenance.
Is there any one activity that combines all of these? If there is, I haven’t found it yet, especially anything including that last listed item. But the lack of outright success hasn’t stopped me from searching. Why let a thing like a poor material quality of life stop me from doing what I want to do? Particularly when peace of mind is usually more important than material comfort.
Someday, maybe when the recession’s over, there’ll be a job, some paid work, a means of material self support, and this won’t be an issue any longer. In the meantime, I make bits of progress, managing to get by on scraps, luck, stupidity and stubbornness.
With a bit more luck, something will show up as a result of the thinking and writing; something that helps identify and clarify possibilities, links and resources; sets out a rough guide; serves as a distillation and point of reference. In turn, it becomes worthwhile to produce a series of posts relating to the above, in the Bag category, and using the Careering tag plus relevant others.
The first set of posts should probably be about each of the items above, in turn. Perhaps the series of posts helps to seed other sorts of writing, or at least provides an outline and a bit of history/context.
On with it, then.