The soft lines of our hedgerows echo the undulations of the fellsides across the valley. This sight is such a joy, especially with the straggly hawthorns trimmed into a presentable state. This was work that was beyond my capacity, so we inveigled a local handyman to work throughout yesterday, to finish today, and to charm our garden back into a soft state from its otherwise rampant vigour.
Not rigid, you understand; the hedge is still rounded and doing its best to pretend it’s a fellside itself. It all feels so natural, but then the semi-annual trimming is anything but natural. We planted those hedges near-on a decade ago now, and the windbreak they provide is a kind of passive pleasure. But the unruly robust growth of the sprouting branches is not conducive to our enjoyment of the view, nor would they be anything more than a daunting vision to prospective buyers.
We may be showing such viewers around the place by next week. At least, if the weather on the day is kind, we’ll be traipsing around after the professional photographer coming on Friday to capture our ‘house beautiful,’ and garden of delight.
Already, the feeling is bittersweet: we’ve never got the place into such a tidy package before. Why my lovely porch/office/studio is now a picture of capacious tidiness! ‘Imagine,’ I can hear the estate agent exclaiming, ‘Imagine your home office with such a view!’ And the viewers will fall in love with the place, just as we did 30+ years ago.
Apparently, so folks keep telling us, it’s quite wise to be downsizing at this point in our lives, to recognise the increased frailty and vulnerability we shall inevitably experience, and to make our peace with that. And yet. And yet, our hearts are here, even if our minds are gently perambulating elsewhere.
Today’s joy is tinged with sadness.