Last night I made 25 jars of blackcurrant jam from an uplifting visit to Maynards Pick your Own farm. This is one of those places that’s remained affordable and blessedly innocent of PR, so it is just a shed and 50 acres of fruitfulness. After a morning of more gorging than picking – the traditional PYO experience - we came home loaded with strawberries (eaten with friends for lunch) raspberries (mixed with sugar and made into fridge jam) redcurrants (for winter jellies) and blackcurrants (the best jam ever). Stacking those jars into the store cupboard soothes me. As does making yoghurt (and the wonderful yoghurt cheese libneh from the failed batches), harvesting onions and leaving them to dry in the open. Working in Robin’s field, finding bus and train routes to the places I want to go to; learning to maintain my bicycle and becoming fitter. Making do and mending; freecycling things I need and don’t need. Learning how to resolve conflict and get on with others. Helping support my community through the transition with positive action.
And I need soothing, because I am tapped in to the zeitgeist – and it is mainly painful and sometimes exhilarating to witness the showdown that’s currently playing out. There’s some incredible movement towards grassroots solutions and people taking personal responsibility. And there’s also tidal waves of denial, particularly among our leaders – who still think it’s OK to build new coal stations while preaching carbon reduction - but even among my friends and family - some of whom vastly over-consume. Perhaps, as George Monbiot wrote yesterday, a swathe of the professional classes, who have the most freedom to lose, just don’t want to know.
Where do you go when it hurts so much? Cynicism was never an option; alcohol no longer works. Denial – the blue pill - is perhaps the most addictive and damaging drug of all. For me the best refuge is with what I love and what I can do – making blackcurrant jam with my family.