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Baby steps (or rolls) to normality: Hannah's blog

26th April, 2021

Spring has sprung. At least, it had, and then the snow came back. I love this country. With spring has come the first relaxation of lockdown rules and the very suggestion that I could have people around to my garden left me determined to make the little strip of gravel at the front of my house as welcoming as possible.

Put it this way, there is now no longer gravel on that strip (thanks to the Support Bubble, who have helped heft around a LOT of rubble). I’ve got into watching ‘Gardener’s World’ and have been so delighted to see disability represented over and over. It turns out, gardening can be for me too. Yes, it helps if I’m not down on my hands and knees too much (though my kneeler pad is a godsend), so I have placed pots along my front wall, and I can wheel along and reach in and out, plant, weed, water and just get my hands dirty (that is the bit I seem to be best at).

Hannah Barham-Brown gardening on her TGA WHILL Model C

I don’t really know much about gardening. Being an academic type, I bought many books, have read bits of a couple of them, watched a bit of TV, and then realised that whatever happens – some things will grow, some things probably won’t. It can’t always be predicted. There are multiple ‘right’ ways to do things, very few things that will end in total disaster (the world will not end if the tulips don’t flower), and it turns out that whatever the outcome, the process of having a go is quite fun in itself.

Hannah Barham-Brown gardening on her TGA WHILL Model C

That’s possibly why I discovered gardening during lockdown, having never had any interest before. Working in the NHS during a pandemic, seeing awful things, being constantly exhausted and on the verge of tears, *having* to go to the garden to weed, or stake, or plant, *having* to leave my sofa, being able to create something beautiful without needing to overthink it, and all safe in the knowledge that if I mess up, the world won’t end. No one will die.

We’re all muddling through, in this new world. We’re reinventing, creating, and learning. Gardening is a pretty good starting point for that.