Our house is a bit of a monster really, not so pretty on the outside. She began life as a modest two bedroom dwelling, but bit by bit she slowly expanded, additions were stuck on here and there, and she finally grew into this unsymmetrical, kind of rambling creature which now lies before us. Her eighties pebble dash coat doesn't grant her much favour, a gift from the previous owner. His father before him owned the place, he grew up here as a boy, and when the place became to big for his father to manage, he took it over from him to raise his own family here. Seems a disagreement with the tax man persuaded him to sell up and move on to a smaller place, which is how we happened to come along and live here.
Guess the climber could use a little cutting back before it swallows up the conservatory. There is always a whole list of gardening chores begging for attention. It's hard to keep up. Being used to London life, we had never known such space before. Our last garden could have comfortably fitted twice over in to what is currently now our garage. It's coming up for almost six years since we took the place over, and much as I hate to admit it, the garden has come to sorely reflect it. The once pristine lawns, neatly clipped hedges and well tended flower beds have fallen a little to ruin. It's a big plot to maintain, by the time we get around to the lawns and hedges, the greenhouse and vegetable
plots are screaming for attention. The organic produce keeps us self sufficient in season, and the mature fruit trees yield enough cherries, peaches, apples, plumbs and pears to also keep a good few of our neighbours going too. This is our little peach tree getting ready to ripen. It lives in the greenhouse with the cherry tree, and a host of vegetables still yet too tender to brave the outdoors. We are lucky to have inherited such a well landscaped spot, but much as I love the garden, it's not the best feature to this place by far. If you turn at the bottom of our garden and open the gate there, there is a secret path that opens on to a very special hidden place. It's our very own little glen which leads through on down to the river.The bluebells are out just now, just ahead of the montbretia. Those green shoots above will soon burst out into a bright fiery orange carpet of colour, it's really quite a sight to see.
We have a lot of wildlife down by the river, ducks, herons, even a family of pheasants. Trout and salmon swim in abundance, the water is clear enough to watch them as they gather by the shade of the riverbank - the previous owner was a keen fisherman, and put in boulders to act as an upstream dam for the fish to spawn. It's very shallow on one side and very deep on the other. This is my thinking spot, the place where I come when I need to be somewhere quiet. Nowadays, the only things fished for down here is for that of a clear head or the odd fresh idea.
When the weather is too inclement for the beach, this is where I take Jake for his run. Come the summer, the children will swim here, hitching a tow to the river bank on Jakes back, they will sunbath in the glen and gorge themselves from the strawberry patch. It truly is a million miles away from the city life that we used to live. I can't say as how I miss it very much.