“We’ll move into a bigger house with a garden, one day…”

That’s what I said when Tom was two and the paddling pool on the concrete postage stamp was enough to keep him happy. Time flew, it doesn’t seem likely any time soon and he needs six-year-old sized space. The guilt about where to raise him never goes away, but instead of thinking we might one day move on, I’ve done some sums recently and realised we’ll have to stay put for the foreseeable future.

Still, we’ve got alley gates now, which make all the difference. I can string my washing line out across the cobbles and actually dry stuff without having to put the radiators on. And Tom can run up and down with the other children. There are butterflies in the nettles and shield bugs laying their day-glo eggs* on the gate. We know the names of all the cats on the street, which Tom has nicknamed ‘Tabby Avenue” because that’s the colour most of them are.

And, thanks to the rain and rain and rain, we’ve (almost) got a lawn, which I don’t have to worry about mowing.

Tom got an outstanding school report last week, so this weekend has been full of lots of hugs and pride . I just went inside to get my laptop and came out to find this – he’s laid out a blanket and is reading Matilda on the “lawn”.

Our garden will definitely do for now – and so will the rest.

* Update, two minutes after publishing – the baby shield bugs have just hatched!



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8 responses to “Garden

  1. tillimop

    I discovered your blog not too long ago and love it! This post touched a nerve for me. I am a single mother of two living in a rough part of the same city as you and there isn’t a day that goes by when I’m not scheming on how to move! Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one!

    • Emily

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Lovely to hear from someone in a similar boat (or area!) I always thought ‘something would come up’ – moving here felt like a stop gap when my son was a toddler but now we’re sort of stuck. I have a good job but just can’t afford rent and council tax in a different area. Even if I could, I’d run the risk of not being able to get him in a school as good as the one he goes to now. Where you live doesn’t matter too much as long as they’ve got loads of love – and a good school really helps too. Things could be far worse. I hope you have some alley gates and / or a little outside space. My son asked me yesterday whether we can get a peacock if we ever move into a house with a great big garden. A peacock! For now, I reckon the cats and shield beetles will keep him happy (it was he who spotted the baby beetles.) And the rain has brought us early raspberries, too.


    Gorgeous post. Well done Tom & you…on everything

  3. Witchmountain

    This is lovely, particularly the sight of a young boy READING. I recently had to question my parenting skills when my 17 year old son declared books to be “boring” ; how did this happen??!! We are very lucky when it comes to outside space though. x

    • Emily

      Haha, oh heck.. not looking forward to teenage years. He is only 6 and reading is still a novelty, plenty of time for it to wear off…

  4. Oh, what a gorgeous picture – heartwarming!

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