It was the 9th December 2010; last week there had been widespread frost and snow. Reading had only experienced a light icy covering of snow, but frosty temperatures had been persistent all week. Ella Montt walked into the garden at MERL. She had arranged to meet Captain Swing there; he was waiting for her by the Allotment Plot. Ella walked over to Swing and began to discuss events that were unfolding in London that day. It was a day of protest by students, under 18′s and sympathizers, because the government was debating then voting on raising University tuition fees. Ella, who is also a student felt most concerned about the outcomes of the day. Her anger spilled over as she talked to Swing, who was most sympathetic. William Morris who had been sleeping in a pile of leaves under the Mulberry Tree awoke from his slumber at the sounds of conversation. He rolled over, rubbed his eyes, blinked and got up, shaking the damp leaves from his old coat, he asked if there was any news from nowhere, muttering something about a dung market.
Ella examined her vegetables growing on the Plot; the new seedling growth had slowed considerably, because of the freezing temperatures. She lifted the horticultural fleece and peered at the Brussel Sprouts discovering that the foliage was looking more encouraging than before, yet there were still no sprouts. Ella was pleased because the leafy tops of Sprouts can be eaten; they are tender and sweet. She took a small garden fork from her backpack and then dug a handful of Leeks with it. After cleaning some of the mud and roots from the leeks into the compost area, she packed the items back into her transportation device.
William Morris and Swing had been talking together. They now turned to Ella and suggested to her that they travel to London to join in the student’s protest. Ella who had been on a local march the previous day was keen for more action. William Morris took from his coat a roll of beautifully designed and well-crafted wallpaper; he unrolled it. Ella remarked that Kant would probably like the wallpaper for his study. The three discussed for a few moments whether to go directly to the National Gallery to join the Slade Teach-in or if to teleport straight to Parliament Square. Choosing the latter they stepped onto the wallpaper and whoosh suddenly they were there!
Morris, who is a seasoned time traveller, was the first to get his bearings. They had arrived in the middle of a big crowd of young people who were surrounded by police in riot gear. Ella remarked, “Oh no, we are kettled!” Morris said, “kettled? What on earth do you mean? In my day a kettle was something that one filled with water and placed on the stove to heat up, eventually depending on the heat of the stove, it reaches boiling point, bubbles over and you can make tea”. Ella replied that was right, and said, “but in current terminology kettling is a restriction of protesters through police activity that normally leads to violence, because the people who are kettled are trapped often for hours, and prevented from leaving. It is never a good thing!” Swing’s face was reddening, as his agitation grew, he had just seen a policemen hit a student. Swing, who was barely audible under the sounds of students booing, said, “riot! I predict a riot!” Morris, who was much calmer, said, “it becomes a dung market, you know, the Houses of Parliament, it has good access to the river, they have to stop the games they are playing there, and the whole people becomes our parliament. Let us go to National Gallery and join the Teach-in with the art students, I hear they are writing a manifesto.” Agreed the three stepped on to the length of patterned wallpaper and then arrived in Room 43. Neither the Teach-in, nor the protests were over yet.
Ella Montt’s harvest for 09/12/2010: Leek Almera = 5oz = 140g.