The Rules According To Elf

1)      Don’t be a dick

2)      Life’s too short for Bad Wine

3)      Friends are not those whom you find yourself having to explain or apologise for to other groups of people; whose likely presence at an event and their inevitable disruption of it worries you; who believe that the expression of their opinion is more important than having respect for the person into whose house they were invited.

4)      It will all be fine by Wednesday.


One weekend in Scotland.

We went north until the land ran out.  White beach, blue sky, and turquoise sea.  Wild daisies, bog myrtle and buttercups.  Salted hair and sun-warmed water.

where i've laid my feet

Danced until the darkness disappeared, embers fading, crawled to sleep in view of the bay.

fire at dawn

Smiles and kisses, happiness.

heading north

No one’s ever lost forever

Amanda PalmerOn Wednesday night I stood a few rows from the pit barrier, clammy-content with sweat, and in a slight cider haze, watching Amanda Palmer make her way through the seven-minute ukulele-backed Bigger on the Inside.  It’s a song about a lot of things – depression, the relationship between mediatised subjectivity and authenticity, online hate, love, and the clarity and strength of connection which comes through sharing your art, your heart, your life.

It was an incredible show.  I worked in venues for about a decade, and I’ve seen few artists who can command that kind of energy, that kind of connection.  Affecting, life-affirming stuff.

Bigger on the Inside references her (step)brother, who died when she was 21

I’ve been drunk and skipping dinner
Eating skin from off my fingers
And I tried to call my brother
But he no longer exists

I keep forgetting to remember
That he would have been much prouder
If he saw me shake these insults off
Instead of getting bitter

My heart broke a little, for many reasons but especially because I work for a charity supporting people affected by the disease which killed him.  It normally affects people much, much older than he must have been.  And it’s awful, it’s so very cruel.

I listened to Lost a lot last year, in the period between my aunt’s death from heart failure and her funeral.

No one’s ever lost forever
When they die they go away
But they will visit you occasionally
Do not be afraid

No one’s ever lost forever
They are caught inside your heart
If you garden them and water them
They make you what you are

I’ve learned many things in my current job.  Perhaps the most important of which is that life is too short for regret, for bad friends, for life’s bad wine, for not doing what you love.

Those you’ve lost would, perhaps, agree with you.

Bigger on the Inside on YouTube:

Lost  on Bandcamp:

Review & pictures of the show:

That’s a turnip for the books…

Sorry. Had to be done.

I thought that the squirrels (*shakes fist at sky*) and us being away for a weekend had done for my veg ledge.  I thought that I was going to need to start from scratch, but apparently not!

Sat on the balcony at midnight, drinking a bottle of fizzy wine to welcome in my birthday, and realised that I’ve got a nice wee mini-crop of turnips. HELLSYES.


First steps… Sowing the Veg Ledge…

seed packets

I had great plans for this bank holiday weekend, but our household has been laid low by illness.  Rubbish as this is, it does give me the opportunity to get caught up with blog postings…

The next step in our Veg Ledge project was to get our first set of crops sown.  I chose turnip & carrot, B chose radish & lettuce.


watering can

We’re a bit short on the watering can front, so taking a tip from the Concrete Garden’s Paula, I grabbed an old 2litre plastic bottle, and the awl from my sewing kit, poking some holes in the cap.  I can’t believe how well it works, to be honest.

IMG_9023IMG_9024We filled the bags nearly to the top with compost (reserving a few handfuls) and settled it with a couple of light bangs on the ground, then fair soaked it with water, and left to drain.  Meanwhile, taking another piece of advice from Paula, we used strips of card cut from a tetra-pack (with the slightly waxed coating) to make markers for each crop.

Once drained, we scatter-sewed about half the seeds in each packet in their section, then topped off with about a centimetre of compost.  And found a nice wee spot for them on the balcony…

IMG_9026 bags in place

Green Fingers, Concrete Garden

Concrete Garden signGlasgow may be the dear green place, but when it comes to community growing facilities, we’re a bit limited.  Allotments have a huge waiting list, gardens are rare, and green spaces like the North Kelvin Meadow (as well as that adjacent to Otago Lane) are under constant threat from developers – because what we need round here is more shoebox apartments, clearly…

This makes spaces like the Concrete Garden up in Possil a rare and prized thing.  It’s a “Community run urban garden and food growing project providing growing space for the people of Possilpark and the wider North Glasgow area.”  It’s just up the road from my work, and I know a few of the people involved with the Concrete Garden and Depot Arts, which is just next door.  

I’m a fan.  They’ve transformed a big patch of concrete hard standing hidden behind a steel fence into an amazing space housing a pizza oven, numerous raised beds, a chicken coop, greenhouse and workshop area.  Total find, lovely atmosphere.

I’ve planted various bits and bobs on the balcony at Casa d’Elf over the years, and had great fun with it, but more recently it’s stalled, and I just haven’t quite managed to get going again.  Which is a shame, because eating potatoes that went from dirt to pot in 30 seconds, and cutting salad straight from the growbag onto a burger is a pretty damn tasty experience.

Veg Ledge

That being the case, I was very interested indeed in the Veg Ledge project, currently being run by the Concrete Garden.  We trooped up to the garden last Saturday for a workshop with Paula, who showed us how to prepare, sow, thin and harvest various crops in a wee growbag that’s the perfect size for window ledges.  All the growing instructions, seeds (and compost!) were provided for us to take away.  There’s enough there to sow and harvest a few different crops over the season – and the Concrete Garden will be keeping in touch during that time to see how we’re getting on, and offer support as we (re)learn how to grow our own food.

Contents of the Veg Ledge pack

Even the smallest of spaces – a windowsill, a doorstep – can be used to grow veg, herbs, flowers.  I’m looking forward to reclaiming my own wee bit of productive green space…