In Lambeth, London yesterday, I had an hour to spare so I visited The Garden Museum, next to Lambeth Palace where there is a Diamond Jubilee Exhibition which tells the story of The Book of Common Prayer. It is also showing private books of devotions by both Elizabeth 1 and Elizabeth II.
The (Tradescant) Garden Museum is situated in a disused church. If offers a little cafe, and a delightful inner knot garden, laid out by the former Countess of Salisbury - who laid out the 16th century garden at Hatfield House. I particularly enjoyed the gift shop which offered a "dead-heading" gadget as well as a video of the history of Lambeth, in what used to be the bapstistry.
In the bookshop, I discovered the New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency which tells us alienated modern souls how to grow veg, make compost and keep pigs and chickens - all in clear "DK" images.
What is it that draws us more and more to "self-sufficiency" I wondered?
Is it "time famine", a superficial culture, lack of an outdoor life with sun, the pressure of a recession and euro crisis, ecological warnings - or our ever-dwindling pensions?
Personally, I guess it is all of them - but mostly the last. It is a dream of somehow exchanging the ever-lengthening term of "unhealthy" work for a remote place earlier than at 70, ideally with a ready income e.g. from a gite and self-sufficient in organic food.
One word of warning : in Europe just having a property attracts more and more tax.
Happily, this book teaches one, in minute detail, how to kill "the worm" (pests).
One must always bear in mind, however, the "curse of Genesis" - about working the land by the "sweat of one's brow"....