Letter to Monty 42

Dear Monty,

Bees in the fireplace, insoles and angry pilgrimage walking.

This all started innocently enough, this writing of letters to you. It was done with genuine intent, to communicate how much I love my small and insignificant back garden. I just wanted to talk about it with someone who would understand the great therapeutic value of actively making and sculpting a garden, slowly over time. What has made me slightly uneasy however, is the statement by Alain de Botton, who said that anyone who wants strangers to be friends has an illness !

The insignificant coal-tip cloister garden

I have known for some time that I am a bit mad, and perhaps I am not alone, we like to be liked on Facebook or followed on Twitter. So on reflection then, perhaps I am seeking a kind of approval from you Monty, an absolution, a nod?

I am still battling against my own insignificance. I was at once both shocked and encouraged therefore by your statement at the Hay Festival, where you discussed the paths at Longmeadow, some of which you described as - ' leading nowhere - a bit like my life.'

If someone who has success in life can feel this way, then it means that no matter what we do to cover our insignificance, it is always there in the background.

Gardening restores me, so does walking. I have just come back from a restorative walk with new insoles (the old ones worn out by three peaks and walking with Charles Hawes)


I do have a say in the world while I am in it, I speak with garden, pen and paint. I was encouraged too by learning that the great JWM Turner was a bad poet, he used to write on the back of his paintings... it was an essential part of who he was, and the creative process of painting.

The Coal Tip

So my delusion continues, and I have been wondering whether to open my garden and my studio next year under the NGS, trouble is, is it good enough ? Or will I have to face the fact that it really is insignificant ! Let me know what you think.


p.s. There are honey bees coming down my chimney.

A man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.... I am unrighteous at the moment.


  1. Does Monty think? (Rhetorical Question no 1)

  2. Nice post. Gardening, painting and walking have to be among the best therapies. Love your photos. And, yes, we are strangers and probably slightly mad. You don't have to like me.

  3. I am glad to hear that you have been re-soled.

    Alain de Botton is not, as far as I am aware, a doctor of medicine, so you may consider his medical opinions accordingly.

    I watched Matthew Collings prog on Turner last night. I love both of them, but didn't understand much of what Matthew had to say and I wished he stand still.

    1. The thing is Charles he has to keep moving

  4. Ha Ha, Yes of course, as do we all. Perhaps his need is very great.


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