When I was a kid, I sort of wanted to be every character in The Good Life. Well, except Jerry. But mostly I wanted to be Margot Leadbetter.
My family were more like the Goods. I mean that lovingly. We weren’t self-sufficient, exactly, but we grew a lot of fruit and vegetables and were overrun with chickens, dairy cows, pigs, beef cattle and sheep.
I know that sounds like a farm, and it sort of was, but it mostly wasn’t. It was… a hobby. Like a grand, family-wide delusion. Something we all took part in, because we loved it. Even thought it wasn’t really a sensible way to spend our time.
(Total aside, but it was a picture-book perfect place to grow up. Here’s me, in the dairy, with my Grandma, as a nipper.)
Anyway, back to Margot.
I mention Margot Leadbetter because she was my first, and defining, reference point for what it was to be “middle class”. And I raise this because my new street — the one where I have a tiny ground floor flat and a small, awkward garden — might have caused me to revisit my thinking.
I believe the middle class is now more like the Goods than the Leadbetters.
And here’s why: We have a community garden at the end of our street.
There’s a community garden at the end of my street
Let me just say at the outset, it’s bloody lovely. Here’s a peek.
Isn’t it absolutely gorgeous?
It has some sweet little laminated signs in it, urging everyone to look after the “pocket park”. It has been done so well, with lovely raised beds and gorgeous plantings. It absolutely makes that end of the street.
Something like this community garden creates pride in the street, is a reason for neighbours to get together, probably adds value to the homes nearby, and gives the local dogging community somewhere to discard their soiled French letters before heading home to the wife.
I think Margot would approve of this garden because it lifts the area so very much. I suspect, somewhere in my street, our local Margot Leadbetter is tenderly oiling her gardening tools, thrilled with what she has achieved. I look forward to meeting her, rolling my sleeves up, and mucking in.
Join my garden journey progress from the start, here.
Read the next blog post in this series here.