Some of you may have noticed that I’ve not been around much in the last few months. And the reason? The Farrells are on the move, out of Much Wenlock and into next-door Broseley (ten minutes drive away), leaving the edge of Wenlock Edge for a new edge atop the Severn Gorge and above the world’s first cast iron bridge (1779).
In fact the Iron Bridge will be in walking distance of the new house, although maybe only on the outward foray. The Gorge is so steep, a bus ride back could well be called for. Anyway, this is what’s been going on – house selling, possessions culling, allotment retreating and finally, in the last three weeks, the hair-raising dash to find a rental property before the new owner moves in. Phew and double-phew. (Who knew that renting anywhere these days is so fraught with difficulties).
We began this whole moving process over a year ago, and it scarcely needs saying that it’s been very stressful. It’s definitely been a matter of snatching peaceful moments as and when. And of course, for gardening types, spotting signs of spring is always a welcome distraction from domestic chaos. I was busy repatriating allotment tools when I first noticed the primroses along the hedge bank beside Townsend Meadow. This was around the end of January, and I was surprised to see them flowering so early (neck and neck with the snowdrops). Clearly, unlike Mrs. Farrell, neither mind the frigid temps we’ve been having.
Some of you may also be wondering why we’re moving when there’s no obvious necessity. On anxiety-ridden days I have been wondering this myself. But then I have long been hankering for a home with a vegetable garden attached as opposed to one a field’s walk away. Not that I won’t miss the walk, or the views above the town, or the raven that flies cronking over my polytunnel in the late afternoon, or the chats with fellow allotmenteers.
But I will be glad to leave the allotment’s dispiritingly claggy Silurian soil, the endemic pests and weeds typical of free-for-all community gardens and the outrageous numbers of snails. And of course, I am getting on a bit! I would like to nurture my soil, not do battle with it. Nor do I really want to dash across the field for the lettuce I forgot to pick earlier.
So the plan: to rent for a time in Broseley while looking for a place to buy – hopefully somewhere over Wenlock Edge into South Shropshire and closer to dear younger sibling, the hill country, and also to better functioning public transport systems.
And yes, I will be sad to leave our upstairs-downstairs garden, and Graham his custom-made, super self-built shed. We’ll also miss our quirky cottage (though not the spiders). I’m sure, too, we’re going to feel more than a touch stranded in a rented house that’s not at all our style, to say nothing of the daunting prospect of moving TWICE.
Summer garden and Graham’s peaceful place freshly built
But then Broseley is a very fascinating old town, whose maze-like streets (jitties) of higgledly-piggledy cottages, reflect the arrival of immigrant miners way back in the 1590s when the town’s population of 5,000 was apparently much the same as today’s. The other key industry was clay pipe making, the products exported around the world, and the pipes themselves referred to as ‘Broseleys’.
Here’s a nice taster of what’s to explore from Broseley Historical Society.
Meanwhile, as the packing cases pile high in the living room, and sixteen years of covert dust alarmingly reveals itself, out in the garden, all is still wintery, the crab apple tree eaten bare and the guerrilla garden over the fence very endy.
But then in the shady corner behind Graham’s shed there’s a small scatter of miniature crocuses. So soothing to spend a few quiet moments with them before the big move at the end of the week (with the added thrill of forecast SNOW!)
Lens-Artists: Finding Peace This week Tina’s theme could not be more apt here on Sheinton Street.