Glastonbury and the Soil

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

"Maybe this year", I said to myself.  "Maybe this is the year I go – before it's too late in every sense."  Well, the nearest I got was the 1436 from Paddington to Castle Cary last Thursday.  It was a Festival Special crammed with rucksacks, bed rolls, guitars, and slim, well-to-do young(ish) people in a positive mood.

I found a seat in the quiet coach which remained so apart from some gentle strumming and vocal murmuration.  It was very good to share the train with such a happy band – even if they were utterly unrepresentative of the youth of the land: there was no austerity on show here.  The hardest part of the journey was getting off (before Castle Cary).  This was not because of some sudden urge to stay to the end; I had, after all, no festival ticket, and I was hardly dressed for the weekend.  Rather it was negotiating the half-abandoned luggage and bodies on the floor in order to get to the door.

I'd been in London for an even more positive occasion: the 70th birthday bash of the Soil Association.  This was a splendid event in every sense celebrating the first 70 years of the revolutionary movement to restore the integrity of the earth.  There were some positive young people here too, and the lunch was fantastic.  I may say more about the party at some later point, but for now, here's how Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall provided words of future encouragement:

Sylvia Plath's MUSHROOMS

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot's in the door.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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