Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Harvest Time

My home town is full of hidden gardens. They thrive and bloom behind high walls and street buildings in the ancient parts of the centre, tucked away out of site, mostly unbeknown to the passer by. Over the years I have become aware of some of these secret places but one gorgeous summer morning in August, Sharon (otherwise known as Kindred Spirit) and I spent a few hours not in a hidden garden but on an allotment out of sight to the motorist or walker, behind a row of unassuming Victorian houses on the edge of town. Wow! What a little paradise!! Angela (Genuine Friend, Quilter Extraordinaire and doer all things creative) and her green fingered husband Chris were off on their first (and ONLY HA! HA! HA!!!) cruise, leaving their allotment laden with goodies. Sharon and I were warmly and generously invited to harvest as much as we liked of Chris’s hard graft.
The agreed morning was one of the few perfect days of this summer – hot but not too hot, and still, with all the scents and sounds of an idyllic summer’s day. Clad in wellies and old clothes we walked along the rough path to find the small group of allotments, all loving tended, all different and all hidden away. A field with pigs, sheep and a cow added to the feeling of green space and peace. No one was about. We started with our little buckets and picked dozens of perfectly shaped, mouth-watering, ripened raspberries, eating several as we picked, marvelling at the quality, quantity and taste of the fruit. We could not believe our luck!! Chris’s polythene bags and our presence did not stop the blackbird from grabbing his fill of the raspberries too.
We dug up tender little potatoes, identified male and female courgettes, picked sweet peas, and harvested broad beans enjoying the scent, sight and touch of them all. We felt torn between taking too much and leaving Chris’s hard work to rot, so we opted for the former.
Sharon and I sat on the bench by the shed and decided it was a little bit of heaven – a place to come, to sit, to contemplate, to close our eyes, to soak up the sun and dream – a place to take time out with a flask and a good book. The whole morning gave us great pleasure and took Sharon’s mind off her hyster-sisters (
http://www.hystersisters.com/) !!!

Clap hands,
Granny comes,
With her basket full of plums,
All for Louis!
Victoria plums have to be the most delicious of fruit especially when they're your own straight off the branch. They are also so beautiful.

I went to gather beans for supper and Louis being an outdoor child was already in the garden. He followed me into the fruit cage and I gave him the basket and asked him to fill it with the beans. He was not saying real words at this stage but he understood every word, had only be walking for a short time and so was was still wobbly. Then I told him to take them to Mummy. Well! His little body flew into action and he carried the basket forty yards, manoeuvred it onto the patio, up two steps and into the snug. His face shows how much he wanted to give the beans to his Mum and for that reason I just love this photograph.

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