The Patch

A Permaculture Adventure

Permie in the Patch, 2016

When I was a kid, growing up in the 1970s on the outskirts of London, there was a TV sit-com that I adored. A quirky, optimistic show with wit and warmth, in the best tradition of British comedy. It was called The Good Life, with Felicity Kendal and Richard Briers.

It was the story of an irrepressibly resourceful couple in a snooty middle-class suburb of London, who absconded from the rat race in pursuit of self-sufficiency. How I loved that show, and the curiously romantic idea of ploughing up one’s lawn to grow potatoes and keep a brace of pigs …

Australia-bound for the Good Life

When my wife and I moved to Australia in 2002, we finally had the space to pursue our own Good Life (sans porcine companions). We were keen to grow a significant proportion of our own fruit and veg.

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Useful (?) Things I Learned as a Kid

Ancient male wisdom from 1970s England

Chemistry

It’s more difficult than you’d suppose to mix potassium nitrate and sugar in the right proportions for an explosion. Twisted toilet paper is not a good fuse system.

Social studies

Bullies don’t back off when you stand up to them. They thump the crap out of you. They choose smaller and weaker victims for a reason, and when you’re a kid, there’s always a bigger kid.

If a smaller boy is a bully, he’s probably a psychopath. (Lookin’ at you, Dave. Scary little guy. That high-pitched giggle when a fight kicked off …)

Physics

Laws of physics, dude. You ain’t gonna beat Jeff. He’s six feet tall and has fists like half-bricks. He likes using them on kids two years younger and half his size. The best defence is pretending to be a harmless, babbling fool. Easy when you’re scared shitless.

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