The Gardener’s Tale

Once upon a time a saying was invented that “every Englishman’s home is his castle” and set in motion a trend in that country that everyone has a right to a place that is protected and respected, so that they can safely call it “home”. 

Sadly, not everyone’s home here can have a garden with a Henry Moore sculpture like Hatton House, as has been so beautifully blogged about by one of my fellow travellers – a local London tour guide – whose tale I must tell soon along this way.  However it’s perhaps not necessarily for want of trying, as I discovered from this latest tale by another fellow traveller on her latest holiday and reasons for her journey here.

Twas lyrics from a piece of music that myself and this friend heard so beautifully played by Steve Young , at the Prince Alfred in Queensway last Sunday night, that set the scene. 

The lyric that set us to musing on what we seek beyond a regular holiday, or when we cannot properly take one, was from Snow Patrol’s song Chasing Cars and goes:

Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life

Only a brief moment before this lyric was sung we had just started to talk about my friend’s staycation – something that she like many in this country may be doing now because they cannot afford to go abroad with the state of the British pound being so low, where once it was strong and allowed British residents freedom to travel anywhere (assuming they could gather enough pounds and time to do that, of course).

The relevance of this car-chasing lyric is that her local escape is not just to a place somewhere else in the UK .  It’s to an allotment just up the road from where she lives, and where she is creating her own unique little space growing some vegetables as well as erecting her own greenhouse with tomatoes as well as garlic, peppers and chilli. 

The Gardener and The Greenhouse to be

Indeed, LOTS of garlic from the sounds of it. 

“So no vampires”, I remark, “and potential for making pizza”

Stumped? Not this lady!

The incredible thing is that she is doing it all on her own, even down to removing massive tree stumps to make way for soil and seeds to be sown!  I tell you, these South African women (as that is where she is from) are quite Amazonian, as well as amazing in what they can achieve when they set their minds to something. She is certainly not the first South African girl that I have been impressed with in terms of singlehanded feats achieved – and am sure she will not be the last.


It was at this point in discussion that the next part of the song chimed into the discussion with:

We’ll do it all
On our own

We don’t need
Or anyone

My curiousity was with why she felt the need to “do it all” herself, as the song had echoed. She told me that it was due to a “need to learn things”. 

“Back in South Africa”, she continued, “everyone is told that they ‘have to get a job’, ‘get a home’, and so on. So to discover and do things outside of this are limited”

Again, the song – or is it Snow Patrol – seem to agree with this, almost saying the words that she can’t seem to say:

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Why come all this way around the world though, and then make a garden in one’s holiday break?  Clearly she is not just going to lie there, in that allotment.

As the lyrics go: "If I lay here, what if I lay here? Show me a garden...."

“At the end of it, I see myself sitting in the greenhouse with a chair and knowing its my own”

“Just you alone?”

“No, of course we’d have a barbecue there once it’s all done”

The First Barbecue at The Gardener's Residence

At this point, the guys – Steve Young and his Kiwi mate Owen – start playing John Denver’s “Country Roads” song, and everyone joins in.  She goes into a reflective mood after this.

“We grew up with John Denver – and his music is what helped me dream of what I always wanted: to live in one place. We were always moving and, for some reason, it was especially the song Colorado Rocky Mountain High that made me dream of where I wanted to be.”  

“So where’s ‘home’ for you now then?”, I ask.

“I think that’s what I’m searching for, and maybe creating a little with this garden”

Wheelbarrow Pete

“What’s that?”, I ask – not sure if I have heard properly – especially as the musos are mashing up a medley now.

“To find ‘home'”, she replies…. 


About Matt's Tale

A New Age travel writer, seeing the old in the new and the bold in the blue - but mainly seeking the freedom to be, as much as to do. His tales come from meeting modern day travellers following their likes of King Arthur to Geoffrey Chaucer, leading him on to places considered "Camelot" and different ways to see Canterbury and cafes a lot. Email: Twitter: @mattstale
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2 Responses to The Gardener’s Tale

  1. Pingback: Shades of the pub that Mitre Bin a Chaucer Coaching Inn | mattstale

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