Back in the day when kids were allowed to play out a) on their own and b) somewhere further than 5m from their own bedroom, my gang used to go off roaming the streets, having adventures and climbing trees. We’d build dens in dried up stream beds, tear around back alleys on our bikes and explore other people’s gardens, sometimes with bad intentions – apple scrumping mostly – and sometimes with good – giving old ladies bunches of May flowers pinched from Farmer Jack’s field.
One of my most favourite gardens was up on Mayfield, a circular cul de sac useful for both high speed bike tricks and the grey haired lady generous with summertime icy drinks. If she was in a particularly good mood, we’d be allowed a mini adventure in the huge (to us, aged 6) garden and it was like no other garden I’d ever been in. There were secret pathways, giant plants, dark tunnels between steep rockeries and cool shady corners away from the blazing sun. Summers seemed hotter then, or maybe it was just that our bike rides were more energetic. What it is about certain memories from childhood? Why do some stay so much more vivid than others?
And so it was that whilst having about a zillion other jobs to do on the house, I found myself digging compacted earth to create fairy steps in one of the original rockeries of the garden. Partly practical to avoid stepping on the soil, but mostly magical for little feet, the grey cobbled setts now wind up a small slope in between the bluebells in a dappled, shady corner. The 100mm cubed setts are just perfect for these inset steps, solid enough to sit deep into the ground on a grit bed and not move when packed with earth. I’ve left them a centimetre or so above ground and spaced them unevenly, and I love them 🙂
The mini path so reminds me of visiting that secret garden of my childhood when everything seeming so gigantic. Appropriate really, given that it’s these clodhoppers which normally tramp our earth. It made a cute change to be creating something so teeny. (And yes, Mr M is the only person I’ve ever known to destroy a pair of steel capped boots!!)Meet Isabella, the first of the people with little feet to tiptoe up the cobbles. After she’d appropriated the fire pit that is. Another mucky lady builder in the making 😉