Where do I begin? Beyond the Window Box started as an account of a tiny balcony garden in central Paris, branched out into exploration of parks and public spaces in Paris, then wandered to green places further afield. The blog developed an occasional side theme on visits to my increasingly wild ‘other garden’ in York with forays into the Yorkshire countryside. And now?
Ten days ago a removal van set out from York to Berwick upon Tweed, packed with a moderate amount of furniture, an unreasonable quantity of books, some buckets of garden plants and a lot of terracotta plant pots. That’s not to forget the antique lawnmower, the not-so-antique scythe, three spades, three garden forks, two watering cans…. You get the picture. I still live in Paris – I really do – but just not at the moment. Our rented flat in the fifth arrondissement (with the luxury of ten square meters of garden) is a temporary roost. Home has just moved north a bit, to the northernmost town in England. When we finally move back from Paris this is where we’ll put down roots. Meanwhile we’ll be spending holidays here starting on a new garden and renting the house out for other people’s holidays while we’re away.
My other half is back at work in Paris but I’ve taken two months leave from my various community gardening commitments to get moved and settled at Berwick. For a week ‘getting settled’ meant unpacking boxes and sorting cupboards but now the house is almost straight and (with a sigh of relief) I’ve started gardening. This isn’t small scale gardening; there’s a five year (or was it ten year?) plan. I’ve not had the camera out since we arrived so the photo is one that I took in August. This is the view out to sea from the flat place at the top of the field, that will one day be a grassy picnic spot up the hill from the apple orchard and hen run. If you click on the photo below you can just see the border behind the house where I spent today gardening. Its not as small as it looks.
Our new home is actually in Spittal, the seaside village just across the river mouth from the old town of Berwick. Once busy with herring packing yards, a fertiliser factory (which processed the fish heads and guts) and an iron foundry producing spades for railway workers, Spittal also had a brief history as a spa (thanks to the curative properties of an iron rich spring) before developing into a (small) seaside resort. In common with so many British communities, the resort lost tourists to cheap foreign holidays as the local shops lost customers to the retail park on the edge of town but Spittal didn’t lose its sense of identity. As the tag line of the Spittal Improvement Trust has it ‘Spittal is Great!’