Dark day in the coal tip garden

Dear Monty,

A dark day.

The weather reflects the sombre mood in the valley.

I am looking forward to the evening debate in London in February being organised by Lucy Masters via thinkingardens.co.uk. I will sit quietly in awe of those who know more than me.

I constantly struggle (as you now well know) with my self worth. There has always been something holding me back it seems, but these are just vapid thoughts. I know that I am linked to something greater outside of all these anxieties about being able to keep up with the latest thing. What I mean is there is more to life than that, and we get little glimpses of it every now and then, and I think gardens and art can lift us out of the awfulness of the thought of life being empty. This is the true value of making things, whether it be a painting, knitting a jumper, cooking a meal for friends, writing or making a garden. I worry a bit when it all becomes too pretentious. Gardening and creativity connect us to something outside of ourselves, so lets not make it divisive.

I came back down from walking the dog on the coal tip, to find one of our local characters falling backwards drunk, disappearing behind the front wall of my next door neighbours house. He fortunately landed softly on grass, snored loudly while I tethered the dog to go and see if he was ok, then suddenly sprang to his feet and walked off with his dogs in tow.
It reminded me of Lazarus Chicken, the new name for one of my Maran hens who seemingly became very ill with a virus and could hardly walk or feed staggering around with her head touching the ground. Being unable to dispatch her, I had to ask Edward my son-in-law and farmer to do the deed. He pulled her neck and placed her in a bag for me to sort out the following morning. On my arrival at the chicken shed the next morning, there was the bag empty ! The chicken was sitting in the corner of the shed. Since then with hand feeding water and mash, she has made a full recovery.

Life can be surprising and delightful, I want to be connected to the delight more than the sorrow, but the truth is both are always with us.



  1. I think you describe the constant struggle that all of us live with - the optimist and the pessimist. I know there are lots of problems in life, but I have always chosen to live with a smile - even if others think I might be crazy being cheerful all the time. JC

  2. That is very very weird. Or Edward needs practice?

    1. Despite his farmerly ways and large farmers hands, I think he is just as sensitive about killing animals as the rest of us, he just grimly gets on with it, but this time something went a bit wrong !

  3. What a nice thought that you are coming up to London for the Thinkingardens supper. I hope that you might feel moved to contribute. Its intended to be lively, not a Quaker meeting. When you say "lets not make it divisive" what's the "it"? Debate? Argument? Its difficult not to get frustrated and angry even when so much that we see and hear in the media about gardens is so mundane. But I do think that even anger need not be divisive if expressed cleanly and without malice. As a farmer it is surprising that Edward failed to kill the chicken. What's his explanation?

    1. I too lost my carefully crafted reply, here goes again : By 'it' I mean the debate of gardens by those of us who are of an arty persuasion. Art can be elitist, and I don't think gardens or gardening should be. The thing that binds garden makers, is a sense of ordering our world, of being creative, and that should be left open to personal expression. My taste in art may differ from someone else's but it is just as valid. Taste, opinion and fashion will never go away, but they are just whims in the vastness of time. Growing and editing and making a vision of something that is beautiful to your eye, that is the process itself is the thing that has value no matter what the visual result. It hurts my brain when you make me think Charles. I'll be a Quaker in the corner as long as I can have a drink.

      I've changed the background to simple white, but not sure about it yet. Finally Edward is mortified about the Lazarus chicken affair, so it will be ammo for any future ribbing of his genial father-in law.

  4. Did I just lose my carefully crafted comment? GRRRR

  5. PS It is very difficult to read the stuff on the blog pages with the foliage etc background. The Blog list particularly. I think you might need a simpler background.


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