This place is my education, my university, my refuge, my respite, my sunlight and my holiday, in this strangest of all the years of my life. When I enter it I breathe easily, knowing that here at least all is well and will be well.
Since March I’ve been working here most of the days. Gardening, reading, writing and gardening some more, in the place Sarah and I are now calling our Sunlight Garden. Called that because since we could at least travel somewhere beyond our immediate neighbourhood, we’ve made three journeys to the Port Sunlight Garden Centre for the new seeds and plants now growing here. From Port Sunlight where I spent last summer writing a utopian story for my university work. Now linked by name to here where I’m finishing off this year’s writing about utopia. So I can have a holiday, even if that’s also here. And as well as that, because I’m now finishing my writing about utopia ready to move on to whatever I’ll start writing about when autumn comes.
Which will still be about what I’ve always written about, how people can or might make better lives for ourselves in better places. But it won’t be about utopia as this year’s work has brought me to the conclusion that I’ve now written enough about that. And one day I might write some more on here about why that is. But not today. Today I’m letting it all go.
Because this writing and these photographs are my getting ready for some time off. Working on a hot and final day of July, under the shade of the magnolia tree Sarah and I planted here twenty years ago. Now grown big enough to sit under, write under, and think about the novels I might read, the music I might listen to and the gardening I might do. Or not do.
It’s high summer, in a sunlight garden in Liverpool, and I’ll do what I like.
By the way, I do realise that Sarah and I are very lucky to have this place. But we rent it from the council and have it as of right, as you probably do too. Here’s the advice of the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners:
“If there appears to be no allotments in your area, then we recommend you find five like minded people who would like an allotment and are on the electoral roll or registered council tax payers. Then individually and collectively, submit a formal letter to the local council. Send one (you can put all six letters in one envelope) by recorded delivery and one hand delivered, with at least two witnesses present. All local authorities have a mandatory obligation to provide allotment provision under Section 23 of the 1908 Small Holdings and Allotments Act. (But be warned there is no time scale attached to this process and unfortunately this process cannot be used in London, as the rule only applies outside of the capital thanks to the London Government Act 1963.) The Society recommendation is that authorities should supply 20 plots (or .5 hectare) per 1,000 households.“National Allotment and Leisure Gardens Society