For those of you who don't know me, nearly four years ago my husband and I bought what we thought was the house of our dreams. A big, old, rambling former hotel, it was a fixer-upper. The roof leaked, the hot water boiler gave out on us during the first six months and half the house had neither heating nor electricity. We soon discovered the windows let the rain in when the wind blew in a certain direction, which happened to be the direction that always brought rain.
But something drew us to this old house. There have been many moments over the past years when I have lost sight of what that something may have been. These have included moments such as when we had to set the sprinkler up in the garden to have our first shower in a week, due to the inside shower leaking through the hall roof whenever it was used. Moments like the time I phoned the council in tears because for six weeks I had been bathing my children in a baby bath filled from the kettle and a national strike meant that our mains gas couldn't be connected. Moments like the night the ancient and decrepit swimming pool burst and drained down the hill into the neighbours' garage.
It's nice to be reminded of the things we liked about the house because it is fair to say that this old house has caused us more infighting and stress than anything else we've gone through yet. Bringing up small people, and doing up the inside of the house so that we have somewhere to do the bringing up of said small people is horribly time and energy consuming. That's why the small insightful moments, when they come, are delightful. For instance, this week I was reminded how excited we were by the potential that the garden offered us.
I spent a morning photographing what was going on in the garden and I think it's fair to say that spring is here. But the best thing is that these signs of spring have not come from any kind of intentional gardening - they are things that have sprung up from what was here already, growing wild. And they are beautiful. Taking the time to seek them out has inspired me this week. If my garden can contain such beautiful snippets without me trying, what can it be capable of showing us when I actually get round to getting it under control? Maybe this year is the year for that.
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