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Scotland: “I wrote this story as a tribute to my allotment.”

Yuri Gagarin – the first man in space.

‘Foodie Tips Courtesy of Yuri Gagarin’

By Sherry Morris
Scottish Book Trust
2017

Excerpt:

I didn’t know why I was reluctant to begin planting, to get growing. Or why I felt indifferent to what I had just put in. I decided I was restless; I’d been spending too much time at the allotment, I needed a break and went to a nearby park. There, I discovered a statue of Yuri Gagarin – the first man in space – marking his visit to the UK in 1961. I didn’t know much about the cosmonaut but I knew Russian cuisine: borscht, rye bread, boiled potatoes, stuffed cabbage rolls, beetroot salads, garlic cloves, and nearly every dish covered in sour cream or mayonnaise. Heavy food for a man whose mission was to fly through space amongst the stars. Funny he could consume all that heaviness and still fly.

Then something occurred to me – maybe it was possible to fly and flit about, yet remain connected. It didn’t have to be one or the other. I thought about how I’d moved around so much I didn’t know how to put down roots. And now I was scared to. But I was getting older and tired, worn down. I needed to settle, I needed to connect. Looking at that statue, a seed was planted. This plot could keep me in one place but I could still go off and come back. Looking after it, I could recharge, take nourishment from my surroundings, develop ties, establish roots. I didn’t need to fear I was giving something up. Instead, I’d be gaining something – my very own space. I smiled. Now I knew how to get started.

Read the complete article here.

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