Friday, May 18, 2007

A boxful of memories

My very first memory is of standing in a garden surrounded by flowers. The flowers were taller than I was. It was the garden where I learned to walk. I drive passed it most days.

There is another house and garden that lives in my box of memories that I also see daily. I never lived there but I yearned to. I still do; I have fleeting daydreams of what it will be like when it is mine.

Watching the wind ripple through the young corn today took me back to sitting on a wall at the edge of that garden, gazing at gusts eddying and flowing through the green wheat. In the spring, the wind in that garden shook the catkins on the pussy willow trees and made the bluebells dance.

In the heat of childhood summers, we would walk waist deep in the round pond, avoiding goldfish and shuddering as the cold mulch squished between our toes. There were tiny, periwinkle blue flowers on the rockery and pansies with gaudy faces. Beyond that grew gnarled crab apple trees where once I spied a lady with a pink crinoline and parasol that no-one else saw.

The greenhouses were warmed by metal pipes, where fat, brown toads lived among the powerful, earthy scent of tomato plants and geraniums. Inside the house, an Aga constantly supported a bubbling pan, while a smoky grey cat purred on the hearth of a giant stone fireplace.

Hidden behind the curtain and sitting on the window seat, I would look across the fields to the sea in the early summer. The sunlight sparkled and pirouetted on the calm surface like a separate entity. Outside, roses climbed a trellis on the wall.


When it’s mine, I won’t change a thing …

18 comments:

muddyboots said...

l can remember hay meadows full of colour as a child, fishing for minnows under the bridge, jumping the hedges into the footie field on my ponies. All gone, except that is for the meadow. We have replanted fields with country stewardship grasses & again these fields are starting to return to the pasture of yesteryear..well eventually that is.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Lovely writing.

Andres Carl Sena said...

my wife and I spent yesterday in the garden, plating, clearing, moving, digging, shoveling, loving. . . i love the garden.

mountainear said...

Your writing evoked memories of my own childhood in the depths of Warwickshire - verdant and bosky before Dutch Elm Disease took its toll.

My childhood home was a beautiful place - and it's the small things I remember as you do. And how I would have liked that place to belong to me. In every detail.

But when you get to be grown-up it's not bluebells and blossom anymore - it's slates, blocked gutters and drains. So let's hang on to the dream....

Winchester whisperer said...

Better than Pandora's box

@themill said...

Fabulous M&M. I'm now wondering where it is.

Anonymous said...

My earliest memories are a little different. My grandmother pointing out the snowdrops bursting through in the springtime. Getting my wellies stuck in the mud while helping to get the cattle in, and having to be lifted out of them...

And for some bizarre reason my brother, and the white hen he had 'adopted' as a pet who seemed to trust him rather more than strictly was wise. Sadly, my uncle married a woman who we both think was guilty of arranging its disappearance, and probably into the pot at that, but we have never been able to charge her formally...

Happy days...which is why I get so cross that the current government seems hell bent on fu*@!ng up the countryside with a vengeance. Kill them all - or at least make them all run a post office in the rural communities for the rest of time..

Anonymous said...

Sorry, eminem, but you haven't let on why you aren't living in this dream home already ? Clearly you know where it is, and life is too short to waste on not living in your dream padette..

An explanation is, I think, called for..

IsobelMagsBuchan said...

The house that I would never have changed a thing about was bought by some bl**dy rich city kid and changed an awful lot. It broke my heart.

It was a huge Edwardian house on the Hampton Court side of the River Thames near Kingston. Unusual because it was the only house on that side on the whole walk from Kingston to Hampton Court. It had what I would call a Walton's deck all around the ground and first floors. Very similar to the houses in Nova Scotia.

I used to sit for ages on the bank opposite just looking at it. I will not go into a massive description but it was a fine, family type house and I could see myself as an old, old woman, sitting in a rocker on the top deck watching my grandchildren in the enormous garden below.

The a city bonus bought it and gutted it and painted it horrible colours and tore down the wisteria and clematis and my dream died.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Muddyboots, we need to see pics on your blog of the old fashioned meadows - it sounds lovely.

YP, thankyou, I appreciate that, especially from an English teacher!

ACS, I adore gardens, I just don't adore the 'doing' to make them look good!

Mountainear, I think one of the beauties of childhood memories is the lack of responsibility you felt befoe the workaday world comes crashing in ...

WW, I have a multitude of mental strong boxes where I keep memories ...

@themill, I'll email you ...

Anon, I think you need to return to the countryside and escape the city ...

The house is not currently for sale and even if it were, I would need a substantial lottery win to buy it. If wishes were horses, or indeed, houses.

IMB, at least it'll always be as it was in your memory. I hate it when people with more money than sense or taste ruin something beautiful to shoehorn it into their vision.

rilly super said...

darling M&M, you must not hesitate: buy the house, buy next door, gut them both, write a blog about it, make your money back. What are you waiting for?

Marianne said...

That is beautiful M&M. I hope it will be yours one day. Dreams are what make it all worthwhile.

Mopsa said...

Mmmm. Lovely.

rilly super said...

M&M, is it the house you wish to reclaim or your childhood? There is a nice little book I read once about a chap in his late thirties who goes back and buys his childhood house and tries to recreate his boyhood, 'Le petit sauvage' by alexandre jardin. I quite like dreamy rememberances like your's, half truth, half imagination. Hope you are having a good weekend darling.

Omega Mum said...

What about a group effort to buy the house? We could call it 'Dunblogging'........

mutterings and meanderings said...

Rilly #1 ... that's an idea

Marianne & Mopsa, thankyou ...

Rilly #2, Just a little wistful, but the past is another country...

Omega Mum, another good plan ...

Orhan Kahn said...

What a beautiful memory!

Stay at home dad said...

Yes, very evocative M&M. It's all in the detail isn't it?