Good advice (149 days to go…)

by Max Akroyd

I’m still treading water in the warm shallows of family life. Tomorrow sees the dreaded return to school, for those with a French school to go to anyway. And then I need to immerse myself fully in some proper “man’s work” – like strimming – which will be much quieter than spending time with the kids!

I stumbled across an extract from Tom Hodgkinson’s “Idle Parent” this morning:

“I deliberately avoid reading any of the modern childcare gurus, since it is precisely the modern orthodoxy that I think is causing the problems.

I’m sure there’s lots of compelling intersections between gardening and childcare practices. I’ve noticed that every text that really illuminates this rural living task comes from non-modern sources too. Hessayon is alright for planting distances and Monty was a guru-class gardening writer before the TV producers got hold of him. But you need a William Cobbett or even a Flora Thompson to orientate yourself properly in this timeless landscape.

I’m beachcombing for other rural tomes too. Just started this:

Will report back in due course. I’m the world’s slowest reader so it won’t be for a while.

How to sharpen tools is another bit of useful information in this line. I’ve tried reading up on it and glazed over within minutes, in exactly the same way as I did in Maths lessons thirty years ago. But five minutes spent with someone who knows about this stuff this afternoon and I think I finally get it.