Food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food

Another gushy garden story

January 4, 2006

Why is this eighty-seven year old man smiling? One possible reason is that he has a garden… and neighbours. If I am any sort of judge of things that make one happy, I can report that the addition of a garden and all the things it brings with it, fresh veg and fruit, new friends, a sense of community, has increased my happiness considerably. Yesterday for example, I returned to the allotments to find that my generous neighbour, AlGouche, had pressed the eighty-seven year old Louis into service, installing a petit serre (little green house) for me in back of my cabane! AlGouche (see below) is concerned that, once back in Amsterdam, I’ll worry endlessly about spring planting, but with the serre up, in March I can just get down to business. My heart melted when I saw the two gentlemen happily digging and pounding away, just so that I wouldn’t worry! They even turned the soil, Louis taking very special care to remove all of the topinambour and bits of glass, and they all joked that I shouldn’t gush too much and keep them from their work.

By the way, the first I’d ever heard of Louis was not in the context of the garden, but in a dancing story. Having just returned from a village party last spring, Ktje rang me up in Amsterdam to report the party gossip and to tell of an amazing old man who was passionately dancing salsa all by himself for more than two hours straight. This old man was Louis, the kind of eighty-seven year old that I aspire to be, although it may take me awhile to develop an affinity for salsa.

image: AlGouche initiates the works for the retaining wall/serre with garden neighbour Louis

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image: AlGouche, Louis and Jean-Louis at work on the serre.

debra at 9:05 | | post to

1 Comment »

  1. I like the way you describe the man’s smile. I have a dream of having a garden where I can grow something, with my own hands. I think that’s something real and that happiness would also be real.

    Comment by Isil — January 24, 2006 @ 23:47

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