From the Rooftops by Jacob Ashton

From the Rooftops by Jacob Ashton

Irina turned away to look over to the vegetable patches. Each one had its own character, unique to its owner.

Sometimes it was easier to know a person from their allotment than from their appearance, she considered.

One patch close to her held a drunken stand of artichokes, rocket going to seed, and a greenhouse devoted to a thick culture of moss and mould. That belonged to a senior manager from the top floor, due to retire in under a year with a comfortable pension and three adult children who came home every Christmas. The farthest patch was a battalion of strictly regimented rows of carrots and beetroot, severe trellises up which beanstalks were ordered to climb, and rhubarb forcing pots where on a quiet day you could hear the plants creak as they grew. That one belonged to the woman from accounting, the small one who bore the bruises of a violent home, riddled with instability and uncertainty.

Jacob Ashton comes from a scientific background, having studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge. During his studies, he realised that the major issues concerning today’s world – namely, climate change and environmental degradation – are being tackled insufficiently not because of a lack of good science, but rather a lack of good communication. Since graduating he has aimed to address this through his career choices, first working in documentary distribution and now in marine sustainability communications, where he can put both his scientific training and his passion for creativity to good use. He spends his free time writing freelance, playing piano and exploring the outdoors by foot or cycle. Find him at

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