It touched me in a way I was quite surprised by, as it was real and yet there was humour in the darkness. By the time I'd begun to read it Ross, the blogger, was in a new home and we began a conversation on Twitter, with Ross being really keen to firstly get an allotment and then come down to some Incredible Edible Bristol work parties.
At the first work party in the Bearpit last year Ross came and said hi, and told me he'd applied to be on Big Dreams Small Spaces with his newly taken on plot!! I may have said something along the lines of 'oh brilliant' but as with anything like that, it's such a tiny chance of being chosen I didn't expect to hear it mentioned again......
So imagine my surprise when I got a message to say that Ross had been selected! And then my added surprise when he told me he'd put me down as being his mentor on the project, hoping that I didn't mind.
So I took a deep breath, rearranged some stuff and the project began, which you hopefully have seen on Friday evening.
I could go on here about what we did on the plot, what grew and what didn't. I could go on to talk about working with Monty, what it's like to work on TV gardens and how nervous I've been about this one coming out.
But none of that is important. What's important is that Ross, a funny, intelligent guy who's life went a bit wrong, is now back on track. Of course that has nothing to do with me, but what I hope is that the support I gave him in the garden helped to make his life a little calmer throughout what I know was a difficult year as everything settled and he came to terms with a really difficult period in his life. A time which I think may have changed him forever. I hope the few hours spent weeding, the quiet time spent on the allotment, the texts and conversations helped.
Working with Ross has made me realise Incredible Edible and working on the land, can create stability in lives where there is little or where change has destabilised. It's made me realise the power of our inclusive policies, not asking too much and just allowing folk to join in on their terms. And it's made me realise that in the same way as my life changed when I stepped into horticulture, others change too as they change their priorities and start becoming a part of something they believe in.
And even more importantly I've made what I hope will be a friendship for life.....
Recently I said to Ross, in a throw away comment, 'welcome to my life'. His response was, 'I only meant to pop in but I think I'm staying for good'.
Another example of how just a bit of kindness can change people's lives, inspiring change through communities from a real grassroots perspective.
Never underestimate the power of a garden.....