grand plans and half measures

We have grand plans for our garden – permaculture, self-sufficiency, chickens, a forest garden…

But chances are, it won’t happen this year. First we’d have to…

untangle the brambles

fell the sycamore

create some terracing

double dig?

erect some dry stone walls and some less precarious steps

install a water butt and tap


No, we won’t have vegetables this year, or even perhaps next… we’re too busy growing children.

But it occurs to me that our grand plans are just that – plans, not reality – laudable, aspirational… but reductive, sweeping, skeletal, essentially unreal, unrealisable.

They bypass the detail, the actuality of real life, the things that crop up on the way. And between grand plan and real detail lies the half measure, the make do, the opportunistic bodge, the creative mishap, whatever can be shoehorned into an unallocated corner of time or space. Our lives, our spaces, are made up of half measures, the vibrant bricolage of life. We so often measure them against our grand plans and find them wanting… but what sense is there in measuring real against unreal?

We’ve never gone in for half measures, us, but I’m coming round to thinking of a half measure as a glass half full.

…so we’re planting our vegetables anyway. We’ve filed our plans, downsized to a few planter bags ‘suitable for patios’ and this year, and perhaps next, we will be harvesting from the concreted 4m square on top of the septic tank.


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