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11 February 2017
Seaweed

We are having utterly glorious blue, frozen weather, and if the boat was in the water, we'd be out there in the light breezes, cold no doubt but dazzled. But Each Mara is on the hard standing, so all we can do is paddle at the shore and gaze out at the turquoise, rippling ocean... and gather seaweed.

Although I have discovered that two of my joys in life are fundamentally incompatible - sailing and gardening - nonetheless at this time of year I can't help hoping that the veggie beds will be productive despite knowing that I will neglect them completely for most of the summer. And at this time of year, it's the season of ground preparation. On a day like today the soil is too hard to touch, but it's the perfect weather for collecting seaweed to dig in when the earth softens again.

So for the last couple of days I've been down at the shore filling sacks with bladderwrack torn off by winter storms and washed up at spring tides. It's a filthy stinky job and I love it. Dressed in all my oldest don't-care clothes, it's deeply satisfying, impossible to do wrong, physical, warming and soul-nourishing.

While I hunger to be back on the water, it's good to remember that the sea literally feeds me, via the weed and the soil. The celery, kale and garlic that'll be in tonight's stew will taste all the better for that tang of sea-salt in my hair.

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