Finally, after six months living away from the garden, I am back in it; not yet living in my house, but a wagon temporarily set in the very heart of the garden, just below the box hedge.
After the nearby fire on the estate, which damaged my home extensively, a friendly neighbour kindly lent me a nearby flat in the village until my home was repaired. It was comfortable, warm and overlooked the orchard. But it was a flat and required a long commute–well, long as far as I was concerned! Through doors, down a flight of stairs, along the passage, more doors, a courtyard, before a 400m walk up the back lane until I was finally in my garden. It took me at least 5 minutes. I sound ungrateful, which I absolutely am not: I was able to live close to my garden, and for that I count my blessings. But particularly in the first months after the fire—August, September and October—for the whole of that glorious, glowing autumn, I wasn’t really ‘part’ of the garden anymore. It’s hard to describe, but I wasn’t ‘living’ in it, as I had been before.
I am now back, living in the heart of the garden, in the biggest embrace it has ever had me. A 140 sq. ft. wagon with nothing but tongue and groove, sheep’s fleece and tin between me and the soil and the weather. I moved in at the beginning of the coldest week of the winter, with deep prolonged frosts, minus zero temperatures and black, starry nights. Now it’s the wettest week, mud everywhere, wet logs, constant wellies.
Now I am living here in the wagon, I am beginning to think that moving back to the house might be a challenge! I love the sense of being right ‘in’ the garden, even more so than I was ever before. I feel like an earthworm. But unlike an earthworm I listen joyously to the birdsong in the morning. I always thought I was in tune with the garden when I was living in the house. But living in the wagon has taken things to a completely different level. I have been living here for barely a fortnight, but I already find myself fantasising about staying here forever.