poet. writer. imposter.
Felt a slight sag in the reinforced floor of the greenhouse. I’ll need to access below stage to see how the pit props are holding up. In the meantime, I cleared some weeds, planted some herbs and tomatoes, but ennui set in and it’s difficult to achieve anything in this mood. I pushed on and planted some more vegetables. I pulled up a few late roots, so I can roast some woody parsnips later. I wish I knew how to keep bees. They’d be invaluable in summer. I could just open the doors and all that tedious hand-pollination would be done for me. Of course, that would lead me to having more free time and that’s difficult enough as it is. I need to keep busy or I’d go mad.
The greenhouse is my favourite part of the school. It wasn’t built as a greenhouse, of course. When we set this place up, They were very active. We had outside gardens for a while, but they were alway trashed at night. We almost gave up in despair and moved on but good sense prevailed. Although we almost starved that first winter, we hit upon a plan that was the making of the colony.
The main assembly hall had a huge south facing glass wall and was sunken from the rest of the ground floor. I remember that in summer when we had assemblies, it could get so hot in there, some of those with a weaker constitution would pass out through heat exhaustion.
You had to take steps down to the floor. It had a walkway leading between the gym and changing rooms, to the main teaching corridors. The plan was to fill the sunken part with earth after going into the cellar, shoring up the exit and fitting pit props throughout to hold the floor up. We had considered taking the whole floor out and filling the entire space up, but thought that might weaken the window frames. Losing the stability and protection of the almost bulletproof glass was thought to be too much of a risk. We raided gardens centres and builders yards for materials to make wood and concrete props. I’m guessing one of the wooden props is feeling the strain. I’m almost certain that I’ll have to fit a new one.
The great thing is that the window of the main hall is south facing. With a huge glass wall, six feet of earth and a controllable atmosphere, it was perfect. A combination of fresh veg with the dried, canned and frozen stuff we were able to salvage kept us healthy and full for a long time. The orchard to the north of the school withstood most of the onslaught we faced, so we were able to make preserves, can and bottle surplus fruit and veg for the long winter months. We were even able to make cider. In the second year, once we had stabilised the generators, we were able to freeze, too.
Sometimes in summer, chores done, I’ll just sit in the greenhouse. The faint rustling of leaves; breathing in the fresh grass smell; the rich aroma of tomato leaves and loam; so heady; so comforting. It’s at these times that the loneliness seems the least of my concerns.