The Bumblebee Flies Anyway by Kate Bradbury

The Bumblebee Flies Anyway by Kate Bradbury

Author:Kate Bradbury
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

When it snows, when it really snows, everything is silenced. Everything is stopped somehow, hidden from view, put on pause. A cat streaks silently across an unseen lawn, a bird searches, in vain, for food. But there’s nothing else. There’s no wind, no flutter of leaves. No cars, no buses. No birdsong, even. August, but winter again in the garden.

I’ve fallen out of love with it. This tiny bit of earth sandwiched between cement and roads, each building housing nine or ten people. Tenants moving in or evicted, landlords making a killing. Dogs barking, children screaming. Why did I do this? Why here? I could have moved down the road to a house with a bigger garden, a proper garden. I could have lived outside the city. Why did I chose something that was already broken and that would continue to be broken? Who was I kidding that I could fix this?

I sit in my corner drinking tea. I can hear a neighbour, two doors down, pottering in her garden. If I stand up she’ll see me and I can’t face that now – awkward introductions, garden chit-chat. Her next door is smoking on the steps; above her people make breakfast in the kitchen – the smell of toast mingles with cigarette smoke as I hear the scraping of buttered knife. This space isn’t enough. It’s not big or sunny or private enough. I hate being seen. I hate having to chat to the people two doors down, hear conversations between people five doors down. When I’m gardening I want to be alone. I don’t want to be gawped at or waved at or talked to. Sometimes it’s OK, but mostly just leave me alone.

It is, of course, a miserable grey day. Not even the sun could shine for me. The sparrows have been gone for a week and the void is huge. They’d only just started coming in. This was theirs only for a few weeks. Five weeks? But before that they were next door, in the holly to the left and the buddleia to the right, and now they are nowhere. The silence is everything.

Trellis. I need trellis. If everyone else is cutting and destroying then I need to create, to block them out. I need to walk out here without interrupting people smoking on their steps, without being talked to, without witnessing the destruction of a habitat. Trellis would give height to the garden, make space for the roses and clematis to grow into, keep neighbours out but bring more wildlife in. Maybe, in time, the house sparrows will come back. I price it up on my phone. I can have it for less than £200 if I do it myself. Can I do it myself? I’ve not put trellis up before but it can’t be that hard, can it? If I can take decking down . . .

I get up, buoyed slightly at the prospect of privacy. Or some of it. I weed a bit, bindweed and avens, leaving ivy-leaved toadflax in the walls, willowherb in a small clump.


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