Maisie and I share one huge advantage over the bulk of middle class humanity: we don’t have good taste. Snobby friends from London are constantly having to avert their eyes as they walk around our garden: here’s a painted concrete gecko, there a hare – a real one? Sometimes, but we have one in concrete too, who stares up the trunk of a birch tree, at what I know not. Then there’s our shed-cum-summerhouse which we refer to as the tea hut – in reverential reference to the many leaky, drafty excavation tea huts we’ve both inhabited over the years. None of this is in Good Taste. The same goes for Maisie’s border planting, where pastel hues are often forsaken in her quest for something unusual. In our garden we don’t do tasteful ‘white borders’ or ‘yellow walks’. Yuck!
Similarly our garden decoration doesn’t yet feature coy, but big-bosomed bathing Grecian nymphs – the sort of thing that would set you back five hundred quid at an expensive garden centre. Although one day I’ll get one, and paint her livid gloss pink (with scarlet nipples), just so I could enjoy my smart London friends’ horrified embarrassment. No, on second thoughts, that’s just moved up my gardening agenda from ‘might do’ to ‘must have’.
So, being usually broke, we decided some time ago to do most of our garden decoration ourselves. Maisie even went on a course that taught her how to weave willow. The trouble is, willow rots after a few months, so she adapted her new-found skills to wire. And here are two of her latest creations. First, a cockerel, actually one of three, that was positioned on the top of nine-foot high fence post tripods. It looked fantastic when I snapped it on a recent morning, after heavy overnight hoar frost. The same frost did wonders to her two spiders’ webs, which serve as climbing frames for clematis under the pergola. I love those webs dearly and not just because our smart friends look at each other knowingly and raise their eyebrows just the tiniest, weaniest bit. But I always notice, and they simply can’t imagine the pleasure they’ve just given me.
Now where did I put that shiny gloss pink paint…