You may have heard about the storm we were expecting. It came last night. We are OK ; nothing moved. I had been making sure that everything outside in the garden could stand still; in harsh winds, so when the warnings were put out about keeping inside all we had to do was make sure the dustbin lids were in place and weighted down and sit it out. I had to stay in for the electricity man who had been booked to replace the meter anyway, and there was still the business of trying to get hold of a plumber about the central heating which has been making curiously loud clunks lately. Loud enough , you would think the system is ready to blow up any moment. So today I mostly looked out of the window at the garden under siege. And it didn’t move.
Elsewhere the storm was finishing off old sheds, pulling up trees at the side of the roads, ripping up dodgy scaffolding and causing seasonal havoc in parts of London and the South Coast according to the BBC. As a precaution commuter trains had ceased to function for a few hours, buses were cancelled, and more cars than ever were parked on the kerbside all over the country. And all over the country thousands lost their electric supplies. We heard that one person was killed when a tall tree close to her caravan fell onto her in her sleep and that one young boy got lost in the sea, even though he had only ventured into the shallow. And there were two more who died in the chaos ………………. All bad stuff but it could have been worse said the BBC.
If I hadn’t been warned about the forthcoming storm and the 80 mile an hour wind blistering through my garden I would never have known that it was anything than just another drab wet day. Even the electric man had had a drama; he told me he had seen that morning, the untethered trampoline in his neighbours garden, making a sudden magnificent escape, by ripping into the air and flying over his garden into his other neighbours garden and there demolished a brand new fence . No one was hurt. It could have been worse…….
Lou Reed died today.
A few years ago, the BBC used his song ’ Perfect Day’ as a theme for the yearly Children in Need appeal. The visuals that came with the song portrayed an ordered garden , a park , full of clipped hedging and ordered topiary shapes. A fantasy garden portraying the stuff of summery dreams. A strangely comforting order portrayed along with that beautiful velvety voice interspersed by a variety of other voices of known singers and not so known singers, even kids , singing his words.Although vital elements, I have forgotten who they were, because all I wanted was to hear was his voice again, between them …..to keep carrying on……. bringing back the feeling of being in a sun baked day, and walking back home tired but refreshed, still remembering the magical garden, the sun and the company and nothing to worry about, an ice cream in hand.
Well that song made me want a garden like the one behind Lou Reed’s Perfect Day so that I could keep the voice ,the summer, the tune, his words in my head forever. So I set about having a garden mostly with clipped box hedging. A garden that wouldn’t move in the wind, a garden that would hold onto summer for as long as it can, keeping visions of picnics and kids and people and things (and dry sandpits maybe). And gradually I did.
Ever since hearing that song played out I have been growing box hedging one way or another ( probably not that great really, but its great in my head) ….. and now I have a low clipped box hedging and shaped box trees in containers in my garden. These dear little trees behave themselves and are so easy to keep and this year it all looks better that it ever has. Anyway, today, in all that wind ( and with bin lids hemmed down) my garden didn’t move . Never felt so safe. Then the sun came out. The day Lou Reed died.