The times they are a-changing

Thirty years ago, you wouldn’t find our house on Google Maps even if you knew the postcode.  Of course!  Google was not there yet  either.  But seriously, the strip of land where our house now stands was part of our neighbour’s garden.  You couldn’t miss their big white house when you came into this far end of the village.  It has been standing majestically in the shade of three larch trees at the corner of a T-junction next to the primary school for over a hundred years.  Originally it was known as The School House, presumably providing lodging for the headmaster in days gone by?

Kay bought the white house in 1955 and raised a family.  Everything grew – fruit and vegetables in her garden orchard at the back where the pond was; roses and exotic plants which she could sing out the Latin names; and her family.  She had three children and planted a cherry blossom for each after they were born.  Peter was the youngest and the only son.  When he was ready for his own, Kay gifted him 1/3 acre of the land to build his home.

Brick by brick, it was a labour of love.  Peter  finished his house in two years, grew a land of roses and called it Roselea.  Being next door to mum he could always hop over to borrow some sugar, or have the Sunday roast together.  After his baby girl’s first Christmas, he planted the tree in the garden.  Soon their second girl arrived.  All was going well until his wife fell ill.  Sadly it was MS.  She gradually lost her mobility and could not go upstairs.  He converted the garage into their bedroom.  He built her a raised flowerbed so that she could carry on gardening in her wheelchair. 

The garden was still meticulous when we were house-hunting and came to view the property.  Once we got through the main door, there was a single unmade bed on either side, a Barbie hidden underneath on the left.   Behind the door of the lounge stood a wardrobe with overflowing drawers ajar.  The top of the kitchen cupboards was cramped with a load of cereal boxes lining up.  Apparently they didn’t follow the advice of ‘How to best sell your house’ and fill the rooms with the aroma of freshly baked bread and brewed coffee.   We were invited to have a cup of tea and a piece of cake.

We had no objection to the fencing off of a 10-foot square where one of the cherry blossoms was.  It was Peter’s tree.  Kay wouldn’t want to lose it too, now that her son had to move away, to a bungalow he built with extra wide corridors for the wheelchair.   She kept throwing marrows and courgettes over the fence, and leaving bags of potatoes at our door.   Like she used to.  When age crept on her, reluctantly she had to move in with her daughter.

The white house was taken up by a couple from London.  They immediately pulled down the old conservatory and erected a new one; pulled out all the rose bushes and exotic plants.  The flowerbeds were gravelled.  While they were renovating the interior, they also sent off planning application to build a house on the land of the garden orchard.  They got the go ahead and beat a hasty retreat to Spain after making a fast buck on the property.

The next pair came from Kent.  They never wanted to know the glorious days of the white house and its garden, with colourful blossoms and bountiful fruits.   The trees were all taken out, even the cherry blossoms, Peter’s cherry blossom.    They put down new turf, a patio, a barbecue and a swimming pool but not their roots.  This is their holiday home.

In a way I am glad Kay is no longer here to see the disappearing of her trees and roses.  She wouldn’t approve of it, like when we first moved here and neglected our garden.

 

Fingers and Thumbs   (9/7/98)

Papa and Mama
They are no gardeners
Can’t tell weeds from flowers
Papa has got
Green fingers
Stained from his garden gloves
Mama is all thumbs
Pulled out honey-suckle
Thinking they were nettles

So everything grows
Together with the roses
Especially daisies
Covering the lawn like crazy
Until Kay from next door
She can
Stand no more
With a wheel barrow
Of fork, spade and trimmer
She kindly offers
To give our garden
A make-over
At last !  
Everyone seems happy
To see the garden so tidy
Except the dandelions and the baby ash trees
Forget-me-nots and daisies
They can no longer
Stay
For as long as they please

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2 thoughts on “The times they are a-changing

  1. Always think that Roselea is such a beautiful name for a house. And now I know more about it’s history……….

    • Sadly there isn’t a single rose left in the rose land. A few years back there was a ‘virus’ and gradually killed all the rose bushes. Now there are Hollyhock instead.

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