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After digging for about an hour, whilst the rain increased and the light decreased, I found what I think must have been concrete steps leading from the higher to lower level of my allotment. Since these were probably a permanent structure the nettle roots, some of the most impervious I've come across, had woven themselves through a wire basket that had been buried there causing it to become at one with them, passively losing its original meaning. The same morning I was reading an essay about language and meaning, I felt rather like the wire basket when I read about semiotics, the concepts seeming to tangle up my thoughts rather than liberating them. So, frustrated and slightly cabin-crazy from being in the house most of the day I decided to dig through the remaining daylight hours to discover whether, by reading philosophy alongside my allotment processes, one may begin to throw light on the other and vice versa (27th Nov 2007).

Yesterday was perfect digging weather, sunny but not hot. The ground had been frosted but had thawed so that weeds and roots almost seemed to help themselves in being lifted out of the earth. I had to pack up earlier than I'd expected and I still had at least an hour's digging left in me. Today, I had to spend the morning cooking at home for a dozen guests due to arrive this evening but I escaped as soon as was feasible on the one o'clock bus. I expected the same conditions as yesterday as there seemed to be similar warmth from the sun but arrived to find the ground still hard. It's not impossible to dig but there is about an inch of frozen earth meaning that each fork full had to be broken open and each root eased out. This put me in mind of how sometimes the most rewarding conversations require a mutual process of coaxing, and releasing, of memory (17th Feb 2008).

I've been thinking whilst digging that the trouble with an overview is that it magnifies the enormity of an already enormous task causing a feeling of exhaustion at the thought of all there is to be done. I spent much of last week planning where I want vegetable beds to be and which will need to be dug first for the earliest crops. At first it helped me realise just how much I have already achieved but now I am feeling swamped by how much there is to do and I have found myself starting bits of digging in several places which just seems to turn up the pressure. I guess it is no coincidence that I have, alongside this allotment activity, been working on a timetable for the completion of my PhD. Another realisation I had whilst digging and pondering all this is that whilst a certain amount of planning is necessary it is contradictory, if not detrimental, to my methodology of becoming which is characterised by reflexively responding to events. So, having written the timetable for my research and drawn up the plans for my beds on the allotment I now need to relax into the process again and focus on the process at hand whether this be digging the next few feet of ground or reading, mulling over and writing about the next few pages of philosophy (18th March 2008).

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