A Castle in the Sky

In March 2013, after years of talking about it we eventually sell up and move out of the city with our 2 year old, Gracie. We both grew up in the countryside and this is what we want for our daughter. So we swap a 2 bed flat in London for a small country pile on the west coast of Scotland that needs a lot of work. I've done a bit of interior design and my partner, Ed has a good knowledge of the outdoors – but we're on a tight budget and we've both got a lot to learn. It's a life time's project and this is a record of our adventure…

The Walled Garden (Easter Weekend – Mar 30)

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Today was fresh and dry so Ed put our willing new friend Claude to work pruning fruit bushes in the walled garden.   Fiona and I admired the view.

It looks like we have blackcurrants, gooseberries and raspberries – and as yet several other unidentifiable berries.   We planted our first tree – a young apple next to the old. We have half a dozen old trees that obviously haven’t been pruned for years and we’re not sure what to do about them,  although they look beautiful just as they are.  Twisted and ancient and covered in lichen.

What we are actually going to do with the walled garden itself is a much bigger question. It is of course wonderfully romantic; a little winding path leads up to a faded painted wooden door that opens onto a secret garden enclosed by huge stone walls and rusted iron railings. The railings make up one wall and are overgrown with bushes. Today Ed found a pretty iron gate hidden behind them; presumably the once grander entrance for the family of the house with the gardener’s wooden door set in the wall to the side.

But… the walls are crumbling in places and the faded, rusted bits will all need attending to if we are going to maintain this beautiful place properly. There’s the grass to keep under control and the fruit trees to look after – and then we need to decide what to do with the rest of it … vegetable patches? an orchard? greenhouses? flower beds? The previous owners even suggested a swimming pool which has got to be crazy up here right? Then whatever we decide, we need to work out how we’re going to find the time to do it.

It’s easy to be seduced by the magic of this place but once in a while we realise the enormity of what we’ve taken on. It can be overwhelming at times but I’ve quickly worked out it’s best not to think about it too much – you just have to deal with whatever is in front of you. I suppose it’s a kind of love affair – and as long as we have the energy and passion for this wonderful place we’ll find a way to make it all work.

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