‘Bruce the Gardener’

Blog post, July 1 2012

 I have just spent three months in north east Scotland engaged in a gardening project, creating a vegetable garden on a friend’s land in rural Aberdeenshire. The weather wasn’t so good – possibly not so wet as in England (during this legendary drowned summer) – but colder. Nevertheless I got the job done, and I was very pleased with it. I’ve come back feeling fit, and all the better for a good break from sitting in my office in front of a computer screen.

On very wet days I spent my time sitting by the wood burner, reading. Amongst one or two other things, I re-read the book I had written back in 1985 about the ‘Rainbow Village’ occupation of Molesworth cruise missile base. I decided it was worth reviving, perhaps re-printing in proper paperback format now that short-run printing is available at a reasonable price; but also I noticed a couple of things that were interesting in a different way.

Before arriving at Molesworth I had been working as a gardener, and the first thing I took on when I got there was digging over the ‘peace garden’ which was planned for a derelict patch of ground near the entrance, next to the Molesworth ‘peace chapel’ (which was never finished, but that’s another story). After spending several days digging, I’d earned the name of ‘Bruce the Gardener’.

The tag didn’t last, because I spent most of my time engaged with political work, writing and printing newsletters, going to meetings, and living in the part of the village that became know as ‘Admin Alley’. One day I recorded that I was feeling fed up with all this, that really I would much rather be somewhere where I could spend my time gardening and writing stories.

It struck me, re-reading this in Scotland in 2012, that after 32 years it really was time I did something about it. I stayed only three months, and I didn’t get round to writing any stories – maybe I’ll go back to do that some other time – but I did do plenty of gardening, and I feel like I have been reclaiming that part of myself,  ‘Bruce the Gardener’. So here’s a picture of the garden: