Sunday 29 May 2011

The pace of space

In these digital days and download nights, it’s easy to get lost in the information overload and the need for speed.  Answers come as quickly as dexterous fingers can text but understanding takes a lot longer.

So after a roller coaster week of truculence, turbulent emotions and time wasting, all carried out at a lightening pace it was good to get home, though as one never not to wear problems like a tight fitting concrete overcoat with matching cement scarf, it took me along time to disrobe.

The calming effects of the garden were slow to work their usual magic on my neurosis due to the weather driven insanity that still seems to be prevailing there.

Instead of viewing this early flowering of some of the flora as blessing I was struggling not to see it as summer rushing towards me like a runaway train dragging autumn and winter in its wake.

The lupins, as already documented have been way to lively, sticking there heads up like flaming torches and living their short flowering lives as if on fast forward, meaning I’ve already been deadheading them like some crazed executioner.

The poppies have emerged from their alien heads at least two weeks early in giant explosions of orange paper, while I still wait dutifully for the chance to clear away the remains of the daffodils.

I have some frankly quite alarming garden potency issues; the foxgloves are standing tall, while in contrast I have an embarrassing case of flower flop in the wild border. This inferiority complex isn’t being helped by the Chelsea Flower show being on the telly everynight with all it’s beauty and smug professionals kicking topsoil in my face.

In such times of wobbles and woes I find a walk across the fields helps to calm the nerves and bolster the resolve, so with my mind jangling with nervous pointy issues I set out with the best intentions to power walk my worries away. This mental mercy dash was cut short by accidentally running into the Railway Tavern at high speed.

So with the assistance of a pint or two my feelings were realised and released letting my mind drift in a childhood direction, I thought how this very pub that I sat in, is a place that has always featured in both the village and my family’s life.

Obviously too young to know or appreciate the drinking delights and so understand the reverence that the Tavern had for adults, it still held a fondness in our hearts as kids.

In the days after the shop closed it served as a place to get childhood essentials, crisps, sweets and pop, with the best thing about it being, you didn’t need to involve the adults at all because in those days you were paid to recycle.

We would search the village for clear gold, empty pop bottles that could be returned to the pub during the day to get money back. We would deliver armfuls of these empties, receiving payment like a reward even though our intentions were never really altruistic at all.

So feeling suitably pleased with ourselves and with pockets full of sweet and salty delights, we would tight rope walk the old wooden fence that ringed the meadow back into the village to one of our many hideaways to feast.

Mum and dad carried on using the Tavern even after we moved, which was good for me, as I would get to go with them back to Aby see my friends and spend the evening at my sisters.  My sisters were married and still lived there with their own young families; I am actually closer to my nieces and nephews ages than my siblings, but more of that later. 

I think my mum and dad were best described as emotionally practical, probably a result of their life’s experience and possibly in no small part to their working class Yorkshire heritage, which made what happened on the journey home all the more special for me.

Mum would lay my head on her knee, where I would pretend to be asleep. She would take one of these rare mellow moments of mine to stroke my hair as the taxi navigated the twists and turns of the Greenfield Road back to Alford. 

This journey was always too short, the car letting me know our progress by the way it swung around the many corners, an experience so strong I can still navigate this road with my eyes closed after all these years, (obviously, not when I'm driving)

 Anyway, awash with drink and eyes opened by the sights and sounds of my walk and mind mellowed by memories, I felt a little more inclined to slow things down, go with the flow and just let the garden grow



  1. Your garden sounds lovely and if the pics are any indication, I know it is. I'm in the process of planting a "moonlight" garden at our cottage in Maine. It will be very small, as our lots are tiny 40 ft. x 100 ft. The process of selecting plants has been very exciting as I'm sure you know.

    I love you walk down memory lane, it must have been a lovely place to grow up in. I remember the soda bottles (we called them tonic in New England) very well, your recollection brought a smile to my face :-)

    Have a lovely day!


  2. I'm really glad you like the blog I'm finding it very therapeutic. I'm loving the sound of your 'moonlight' garden and can't wait to hear what plants you choose

  3. so lovely....beautiful photographs...

    happy to stop by today, my friend

    kary and teddy

  4. @My Farmhouse Kitchen, what a lovely comment I'm most happy you stopped by to

  5. Great writing, it really carries me along with it and the poetic lines are really moving - a bit Laurie Lee ish. Good memories too of collecting those bottles - never enough left lying around I found! Isn't work a b*****, I find it difficult to shed that concrete overcoat too. it usually takes me most of the weekend to unwind (and I don't work Fridays) just in time to go back to work again - ha!