I have have had to stay at home today and wait for my car to be returned. It is late. In fact my car has been taken to Portreath by mistake, and so won't be here until later this afternoon. I don't like waiting in for things at the best of times. I get tetchy if I have to wait in for something like the washing machine repair man,or a delivery of some kind. I'm wondering why this is. It's miserable outside, and I'd probably have spent it at home anyway. I don't enjoy the feeling of being forced to stay put. I am not at ease with waiting time, which is very different from wasting time. I don't settle. I constantly check the clock. I pace. And I never make good use of the time either. I was going to bake for the boys. I haven't. I was going to sort out the under stairs cupboard and my wardrobe. I haven't. I have spent the time sat under a blanket reading this book. And checking the clock. Tick tock.
From where I am sitting today - hello - I face the big window that looks out onto my small front garden. It is a grey overcast day, which has leeched the colour from the landscape. Across the road from me, the two new houses loom large. I don't like looking up from my seat and seeing them. I am not yet used to this new view. Once there was a dinky cottage called Rosemary. It had a Laburnum tree to one side, and you could see Rosewall Hill it in the distance behind it. Now all I see are bare windows, grey roof tiles and bright white walls. They look like the kind of house in those films from the 80's, that had been built on ancient burial grounds in the mid west of America. You know the ones I mean? In other words, not particularly friendly.
I like looking out onto my little front garden, although it is rather overgrown and bed head at the moment. It's in stark contrast to the paved expanse of drive over the road. Enough for three cars apiece. It was this that convinced the new owners of one of the houses to choose it over our house. Or so the builder told us in the summer. I can hear the wind rustling through the leaves of the plants and shrubs. My garden has lilac, buddleia, acer, privet, agapanthus, a very ugly palm tree and a fushia bush. My greenhouse also lives here, as well as a very old, battered church pew that I bought at a car boot sale when I first moved to St Ives. The plants give me a privacy that is not afforded by the houses over the road. Even when the leaves drop, they provide a twiggy picket from the outside world.
Apart form the buddliea, all the plants were here when we moved. It was one of the things that attracted me to the house. An established front garden. I wasn't a gardener then. In fact I don't think I even knew the names of any of the plants. But I remember enjoying the sense of privacy they gave, and thinking that they softened the edges of our own, rather square, white house. We moved into our house in St Ives in late October 2001. It was a beautifully sunny day,and Sam kicked and stomped through the leaves as we walked from school to our new home. The air was crisp and I could smell wood smoke coming from next door. I was nearly eight months pregnant with Alfie, and I couldn't wait to turn the keys in the door, and start to unpack the boxes that had been in storage for several months. I'd had enough of living in a caravan with barely any room to swing a cat. It was only the following Spring when the lilac blossomed, and later when the fabulous flowers of the agapanthus shot up into the air, that I came to really appreciate the plants that lived out the front.
I'm not a lover of fushias, but I have a soft spot for the one in my front garden. It is cut back hard each Spring. And each Spring I gulp as I look at my handiwork, and worry that it might never recover. It does. It sends shots out from the sides of those pruned branches, and from them the most opulent flowers grow. They are quite gaudy really, being the classic magenta/hot pink combo. They flower all year round, and provide a hit of colour, even on the greyest of days.The pollinators can't get enough of my fushia bush. Big fat bumble bees busy themselves, flitting from one flower to the next. They get so excited that they quite often bang into the window too, and then career off into the air.
There are other visitors. Sometimes my eye is caught by the quick movements of a tiny wren hopping from branch to branch deep inside the bush. Perhaps looking for insects, or maybe enjoying the solitude and shade. It has also acted as cover for a very persistent blackbird, who used the bush as a base from which to steal my blueberries stationed either side of the the greenhouse door. There are often sparrows squabbling within it's depths. And once, a couple of years ago, a group of long tailed tits alighted on it, and stayed for a while. I remember it well. I stood at the window, with Olly in my arms, and watched them chattering away to each other. It was as if little blobs of cotton wool had landed in my front garden.
This week there has been a rather bossy robin appear. He shouts at me and Olly when we leave for school. He bobs his head up and down, letting us know that he means business. We call a hello to him, as we rush down the steps and onto the road (we are invariably late for school. I can't seem to get the timing right just yet). There are also rooks and crows that spend their time in my ugly palm tree. They pull the fibrous matting that covers the trunk for their nests, and poke their beaks into it as they look for insects. Sometimes there are blue tits scampering up and down in that nervous way they have. One year a pair of doves nested in the palm, and reared two babies. We watched them from the window throughout the summer holidays, until they fledged and flew. For a small place it is a haven for wildlife.
I have been waiting in, and I have enjoyed telling you the story of my front garden. What do you see when you look out of your window?
I am away this weekend. For fun and frolics with old Uni chums. I am wearing my wellies on the plane, because they just won't fit into my little carry on bag. I am not the best flyer. And I am rather nervous about leaving the security of my home. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone, but I worry (always worry) about the stuff I'm up to, and justifying my rather small existence. I'm not sure my front garden story is dinner party material. I do have a couple of really filthy jokes. And one that is not at all politically correct. And I am designated photographer. That I can do. Point and press. Point and press.
Have a lovely weekend.
Love and stuff,
I have met my new neighbours, and they all seem rather lovely. They have moved here from other parts of the UK, and are as thrilled to be living here as I was all those years ago when I first stepped over the threshold with a babe in my belly, and a boy holding my hand. I wish them all the best. Although I hope they put some plants out their front in the future.