August 24th. First day back from Laurieston. as the dog and I made our way up towards the fountain by the house so she could have a drink, I saw some pure silver bunches of honesty, a good four feet tall, being loaded into a white van. Is that for a wedding, I said? Yes, said an attractive young man, it was yesterday, it was my wedding! The honesty was from his mother’s garden in Norfolk. I said, did you pick off all the outer skins? He said, yes, a labour of love! And there were armfuls of wild flowers, yellow ragwort and pink willowherb. These were growing in a field next to the garden. A woman who was helping gave me a stem of honesty. I didn’t say, well, I’ve got lots of that in my garden, but I left it twined into the gate of the park. And it was the best, the brightest, cleanest honesty I’ve ever seen.
I thought, how nice to live in N16 and have a mother in Norfolk with a beautiful garden.
A poster in a shop window on Church Street (famous people from Stoke Newington) reminded me that Thomas Allen, after whom the park opposite my house is named, was a philanthropist, social reformer and campaigner against the slave trade. I wondered how he made his money?
Here in N16 you meet a lot of nice people, and a lot of nice dogs. We and the dogs are nice because of love and money and the garden in Norfolk.
Some of the nice people rescue dogs, dogs who will never be completely reformed and trustworthy and cuddly – they have to be kept on a lead. I’ve met dogs from Bosnia, Romania, Greece, Portugal. We try to rescue people too, but almost always just with money, we don’t actually take them into our homes, and probably they wouldn’t want that, although they might like our houses if they weren’t ours.
The tone of this is not meant to be flippant, that’s how it comes out.
Euston and its clammy heat was a surprise, coming from the north. And that 60’s tinpot crowded slum of a station after floral Dumfries and baronial Carlisle! I thought of mixing up the sad departure boards at London stations with war memorials and histories:
16.40 to Glasgow Central – missing in action
16.48 to Ramsgate - shot for cowardice
all trains to the South West pinned down by fierce enemy machine gun fire
Today (sept 17) I saw a sign in Springfeld park which indicated the presence of willowherd. I suppose it’s a way of ensuring that the names of common wild flowers remain lost. I could earn a useful living in old age as a spell checker/proof reader. But who would think it useful?