Ding Ding! All Aboard !! We’re taking the walking bus today, a pleasure trip.
OK you know where we’re heading don’t you? ….. over the last couple of years you’ve seen plenty of photos of the allotment and I thought today we could take a walk together, we’ll head in land away from the sea, wander the streets and peer through gates, catch glimpses of gardens and stare up into the branches of trees, but don’t worry there are always sea views around the corner or over rooftops.
I’ve been meaning to invite you all along for a while now, I was waiting for a nice day – a bright Spring sunshine day when we can take our time and wander along safe in the knowledge we aren’t about to get soaked! So you have some comfy shoes, a fleece or a warm jumper / jacket and maybe a scarf or beanie for the warmer-climes people; I have my bag with a flask of tea and a slice or two of coffee and walnut cake, mind you my mate The Pyjama Gardener is bringing a rhubarb cake, so there will be plenty of tasty treats to be had. And my friend A Boleyn is bringing a flask of coffee which may or may not have a little something extra added to it!
I live in St Leonards on Sea, St Leonards is a town built for pleasure, a purpose built seaside resort. Built from the mid to late 19th century, by James Burton, and later his son Decimus. As the Burton’s St Leonards Society explains “St Leonards was founded in 1828 on a deserted stretch of coastline a few miles to the west of Hastings”, it was built on a grand and classical scale, with “the provision of services, public buildings for entertainment and the picturesque siting of villas amongst the groves, wooded slopes and water of the Subscription Gardens”. The layout remains the same, the wooded groves have gone and many of the villas have been divided into flats, but the parks and streets are there to be enjoyed.
Let’s get walking, we can chat as we walk. My allotment is less than a mile away – it has to be near otherwise there would be a temptation not to bother going on days when the weather isn’t cooperating or when I’m short on time
We’ll do the walk as I walk it and start by going uphill, remember on the way back that means downhill. Can you see that everything is slightly wonky, at an angle; worn away by years of life; from pillars, to entrances, retaining walls and chimneys – all askew. As I walk along I wonder if things just won’t topple over one day, topple over with the weight of years of life.
Turning right onto a broad street, lined with trees and walls. Houses behind walls, gardens behind walls, houses with pretty white painted balconies. Grand entrances and green garden gates. Spring flowers and shade giving trees.
Following the road round to the left we see a Mansion block of flats, but in the middle of the road is the oddest element, like a centre piece it sits decorated with shrubs. It’s a chimney belonging to the railway tunnel that runs beneath the road. And looking down the road, a favourite view, of crumbling sandstone walls, old trees and shade. And who can resist a cute Herbie car?
Carrying on and around the corner, dropping onto “unadopted” road – it sounds so forlorn doesn’t it? The reality is less prosaic, all it mean sis that the local council isn’t responsible for its upkeep. And down the rough track path we go, you’ve seen this view before, over the fence and between the brambles you see the sheds and plots, the mown paths and the fruit trees. And as we reach the gate we look down the track to the local school, and beyond out to sea.
We’ll stop there for today, you’ve seen the plots before, if you are new around here you can have a wander with me – Pottering, pootling and photographing the allotment or A wander around an English allotment – plenty for the eye to take in.
But that’s not it folks, on the way back we take a different route, via a park and a pub…