As the days stretch out and grow longer and lighter I cannot help but think of summer, that time we all wait for eagerly and can feel at peace in.A time to relax. It would seem that with summertime just around the corner that the neighbours are drifting back into their back gardens, including myself! During all those long dark and dreary winter months, with hardly a single sighting of anyone outside in the back gardens of suburbia; village, town or city. With the exception for the sudden shadowy dash from next door to their car and back inside to escape the cold and wet. But with the time having sprung forward recently for a new and hopefully warmer, drier season to come, we can finally think of shedding those coats and jumpers as the sunshine warms us. I expect this happen in your neighbourhood too? The gardens become alive with a different kind of life.
Do you love those times when you can spend hours catching up and chatting about ‘stuff’ or is it that you get caught by the next door neighbour and entwined (as much as the garden string he or she holds; having stopped gardening and making a beeline straight for you) into a long, long drawn out conversation on oh goodness knows what subjects. Seemingly you will be there until the first light of the following dawn, as on and on they natter until you can barely see them in the twilight and, actually it’s become quite cold. Yet, for some inane reason, you let them keep you there whilst you get goose-bumps making you shiver in the chill evening air of Britain. I wonder why we get caught up in such seasonal, neighbourly dramas.
Or perhaps this mere mention of seeing the neighbour brings such a negative and positively terrible emotion to your mind as you think of the hedge. Surely they are the worst kind of dispute between the boundaries of what should or should not be allowed! Oh those overgrown monstrous green walls can cause such distress, can they not! And as for only just remembering that you lent the neighbour your shears or spade, just when should you ask for them back? Even worse when you do is the blank look as they have not remembered and then you feel slightly awkward for having asked and not wanting to create a fuss, since you have not really spoken since exchanging the obligatory Christmas card, that you hear yourself say something like, “Oh that’s okay, er no problem.” and “whenever you have the time.” As your voice trails off and the conversation has quite miraculously moved on, but secretly you are thinking all sorts of thoughts, best not mentioned here!! Yes this season can be fraught with such dangers.
Though equally , on the other hand, there is the rather wonderful time of creating a play area for your family, from the adventurous tree-house to setting up a proverbial gymnastic – centre complete with a sandbox, the deepest and biggest ‘paddling’ pool you can afford, or actually lift, and fill without breaking the bank (especially if you are on a water meter). Then comes, which seems to have become, the essential requirement for absolute childhood satisfaction, the trampoline complete with safety netting. Then once that is assembled, onto the solid, wooden and sturdy (good for years, until they are teens, worth every penny) fort or princess castle or replica three bears cottage is appropriately installed, you may begin to think perhaps that you might have overdone things and have forgotten that the cardboard box is much more interesting. Oh those summer days!
Of course, do not forget to ring-fence your own area, complete with the state of the art BBQ and outdoor dining set etc. and then it’s off to the garden centre to buy child and pet suitable plants, shrubs and all sundry of items that will fill in the left over gaps in the garden. Not forgetting, of course, our pets or wildlife that need to share our green space too; remembering that they need their patch and hopefully far away from the children and their friends or grandchildren. This almost calls for a designer to come in from one of those make-over TV shows. Isn’t summer exhausting at just the mere thought of all this sudden activity?
So before the real onslaught of the season takes hold; let us take some time to step back and breath. With all the busyness and fraught-ness and expense looming perhaps let us just sneak off to the shed and clear away the cobwebs, both literal and those of the mind with a cup of tea in hand, put up the garden chair inside and sit. Here is your chance for peace, quiet and space to just be. Sheds can be either grand or simple, it is what they are in terms of being your special place, rather than what it actually looks like. Sheds are personal places, which can reflect your personality and creativity, there are no rules, except perhaps a ‘No Entry’ sign on the door! Very tempting thought that. Maybe this is something you already do, but if not I can highly recommend this little sanctuary. Away from all the hurly-burly of incessant chattiness, rampaging children and bounding pets, Let us gather up a book (or two) and go there; shut the shed door to write or paint or…..anything you fancy. Ladies this is certainly not a male reserve so be freed to escape into the great outdoors of your garden and regain a sense of calm this coming season.