We retreat to the other end of the garden.

We retreat to the other end of the garden.

21-04-2020Caroline Fuller

The world has been a very peaceful and quiet place recently, the cities fell silent with bars, cafes and shops closed. Office employees working from home and people in general staying at home if they were able.

No children running and playing in the parks, chattering on the way to and from school and the trains, well if you used them you could not only get a seat but probably a whole carriage to yourself. 
In the countryside where we are I sit here this morning and I can hear the farmer in the distance ploughing his fields, a few cars on their way to work on the distant motorway, our chickens clucking and birds singing in the trees.

Almonds on the trees.

The rooster next door crows at all hours, lots of people complain about their noise but I like it, even at three o'clock in the morning. Next door to him there is a house with peacocks, life wouldn’t be the same without hearing them screech. And somewhere on the other side is a donkey who brays and I love that sound.

Sometimes in the fields that surround us there are sheep and I can hear their soft bells as they chomp their way through the the field. All sounding idyllic so far. I love these moments and potter around the garden checking to see what new things might pop up today, what might have been trampled on and if there is any way I am going to to come close to winning the sunflower competition.

Getting ready for another the '2020 Melon Competition.

I already know the answer to that, o/h points out every day that “it looks like my sunflowers have grown a foot overnight.” So I will check on the melon seedlings and one day soon the 2020 Melon Competition will commence. 
Before long ‘alien’ noises will start. One by one they become more obvious and it makes me wonder why on earth we thought the countryside to be peaceful.

Children not allowed to go to school shouting and playing next door with the whistle and recorder that thoughtful parents have bought them. One neighbour leaves to go I know not where and his rather large and loud dog objects until he comes back in an hour or so.

Sylvester makes sure he isnt missing anything.

One of our dogs answers and sits at the top of the stairs to the water tank to report on any other movement in the area. The two very little dogs on the other side start telling us to keep away from their fence line until they are told off by their mum.


At some point in the morning the other neighbour will resume working on the outside of his property. Taking advantage of a time-out from work he is renovating his garden with a jack hammer to break something up in his garden and that means that in order to hear his music he has to turn it up somewhat.

After a day of working on the outside, with regularity, at about 6-7 pm he puts Queen ‘We Will Rock You’ on, full blast. This clearly marks the end of a long day’s work for him. Far be it from me to complain, I have started singing and clapping along, after all as I mentioned before, plants do like to be sung to. I retreat to the other end of the garden when he is using his loud machinery, he can’t have that much more to break up can he?

Meanwhile somewhere in the vicinity another neighbour is taking advantage of the time to fix his motorbike, which needs half hourly testing up and down the lane and around the nearby field.

The collies like to keep watch over this because sometimes he takes his enormous and very beautiful Great Dane for a run alongside...I do admit I love to see him especially if he stops to say hi...the dog that is.
Living here is teaching me tolerance, gardeners are patient and peaceful people don’t you know.

As things quieten down we like to end the day wrapping up any delicate seedlings in case its a cold night and then, sit in the garden with a drink, watching and listening to the nature world go to bed. At 8 o’clock on the dot the world comes alive again, we can here distant sounds of cheers and the sirens of the emergency services as they answer the country’s thanks, every dog in the neighbourhood joins in and ours stand in the garden and howl along for ten minutes, this is our contribution. By 8.10 pm the neighbourhood is once again quiet and the birds are twittering goodnight and that's another day done.

The sky at night.

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