Life in the Garden.
Crash, bang and the noise could be heard for several miles, the potting shed was just a pile of planks of wood and shattered flowerpots and earth. Rodger the small gardener wriggled free from one of the planks and dusted down his leather apron. ‘Bother, bother, and bother again!’ he said to himself.
There was a bright light, a sound like a firework going off and into the garden, through the flash of light came Ashley, she was not pleased, but nothing could really make her cross, she was charm and calm itself.
‘What’s happened here Rodger?’ she asked.
‘I’m very sorry Ashley but I was trying to put some more nails into the back of the shed, and I was standing on a piece of wood that was jutting out and all of a sudden it broke, the whole shed went down and left me at the bottom’.
‘Are you hurt at all?’ asked Ashley.
‘It’s only my pride’ smiled Rodger.
Ashley took out a small pad of paper and a pencil from her pocket, she was a lovely looking young women, long blond hair and clear blue eyes and moved with all the grace you would imaging such a person to have. She walked around the pile of wood and what was now rubbish.
‘Now then, we shall need: wooden planks, main uprights, more roofing material, nails, and a new door by the look of it, I think perhaps we had better leave a note for the house owner?’
‘Is that wise?’ asked Rodger.
Ashley smiled and nodded and disappeared the same way she had come, through a bright light which sounded like a ‘pop’.
Rodger started to pick up all the fallen pieces of the old shed and checked each plank of wood for faults and then put the best wood on one side and the broken pieces on the other side. He went off and came back with a wheel barrow and finished clearing all the broken bits away and walked down the garden and through an old door at the end.
The house owner was not of the same ‘tribe’ as the people who came and went in the hidden garden, she was a ‘muggle’ but her dog Cellen was very different, he was certainly a magical hound. But having actually met the folks that came and went in the garden, and got over the shock, she never told a soul, never whispered a word to anyone about the friends she went to share cakes and wine with at the Full Moon. However as an artist, Claire was allowed to sketch and paint in the garden and had produced some fine work which she sold via her website and the income certainly helped with the upkeep of the house.
Claire and the dog Cellen had been walking only a short while when she spotted a note pinned to a tree and the dog started barking and jumped up and down.
‘That’s got to be from one of your friends, it’s very unusual I had better read it’ she said to Cellen and the dog made a noise which sounded like ‘yuss’.
She opened the note and read it, this is what it said:
‘There has been a happening in the garden and the potting shed is no longer! Rodger was not badly hurt but we need some help,
Knowing what she did of the folks who worked in the garden Claire knew she needed to hurry, and that’s exactly what she did with Cellen bounding on by her side back to the old hidden garden. They went in by the old wooden door and closed it behind them, the greenery sprung back into place and you would never have seen the door, had you been walking in the woods that day.
As soon as Claire walked into the garden there was a flash, a pop and Ashley was in the garden walking towards her.
‘Thank you for coming, I don’t think we can sort all of this out without some outside help’ said Ashley.
Then Rodger came walking up the garden from the far end, looking a bit battered, but otherwise he seemed well enough.
‘It’s the old potting shed, I’m sorry to say that although its stood for 150 years, it’s now fallen and we don’t have enough wood to replace it,’ said Rodger.
‘That should not be too much of a problem, although I can’t have anyone find this garden, I will need to have the wood delivered and we will need to do the rest’, said Claire.
‘There is a carpenter in the village who would be safe, he comes from an old family and he walks a healing path, his family have been different from the others for generations and I think he would be safe enough to work with. I will give you his name and address and I suggest you go and see him face to face, he will understand.’ Ashley said.
So about half an hour later Claire was knocking on a door in the village, at the home of the village carpenter. The door had celtic knotwork carved into it, and the knocker was a green man, weathered with age. A middle aged man came to the door and looked Claire up and down, then he stood aside and simply said,
‘You had better come in and tell me what you are here for’.
Claire cleared her throat and wished her mouth had not suddenly dried up…..’I understand that you can be trusted not to repeat anything you hear or talk about anything you may see while on a job?’
The carpenter stood still for a moment and then looked knowingly at her ‘You are living in the house with the hidden garden aren’t you? Under these circumstances it will be an honour to assist in any way I can.’ he said and Claire nodded her head and handed him the list of things Ashley had written down on the piece of paper. As he read the list, little flowers started to appear around the edge of the paper and little curly lines, stars and butterflies. The carpenter’s eyes lit up with pleasure and a smile filled his face, ‘I have only once before had such a note and then I was a small boy, but I never forgot the note or the people I once met when taking some cut wood to the garden, I would be delighted to be of assistance and I can cut this and bring it to the house tomorrow’.
‘Let me give you some money for the wood’ said Claire.
‘Certainly not’, said the carpenter, ‘I would not dream of taking money for this, if I do a good job then I know good will come out of it’.
And with that, they parted company, Claire walked back home and the carpenter went into his yard and started to saw the wood, whistling all the time a happy little song.
The next morning Cellen jumped onto Claire’s bed and nuzzled her face lovingly, he kept doing it until she woke up, stretched and opened her eyes.
The sun was streaming through the window and birds were singing outside, you could hear cows calling in the fields, and some sheep but everything else was quiet. No traffic, no radio’s, it was absolute bliss thought Claire as she swung her legs over the side of her bed and stood up.
She let Cellen out into the grounds briefly and promised to take him for a walk later that morning and she checked the back door step. There, as usual was a brown earthenware bowl with the meat left for her very special dog. It was left most mornings and she knew that was the only food her very special hound was allowed to eat, that and any piece of food she herself had already taken a bite out of. That was the arrangement between her and the family who looked after the hidden garden, for it was them that provided the food for her dog.
Bang, bang, bang went the knocker on her front door a little while later and she went through the house to open the door. There stood the carpenter and behind him a cart on wheels piled high with cut planks of wood, he was wearing a clean shirt, trousers and on his head a hat with a little feather tucked into the band.
‘I like your hat’ smiled Claire.
‘I’ve had this feather since I was a little boy, it was given me by one of the folks that tends the garden here and I wouldn’t go anywhere without it’, said the carpenter.
‘Can you bring the wood around the back and wait for a moment while I put my shoes on and we can go straight down now’.
Cellen bounded up to the carpenter and put his paws onto the man’s shoulders and gave his face a lick. ‘Hello to you too!’ said the carpenter and gently lifted the dogs paws off his shoulders.
‘Be careful of my dog, he’s staying with me for a while, I don’t own him, he belongs to those that work in the garden’.
The carpenter looked again at the dog and back to Claire, ‘Congratulations! ‘ he said.
‘I’m very grateful for the loan of Cellen, I don’t know what I would do without him’ said Claire and the carpenter simply smiled and nodded.
As they walked down to the garden they talked of nothing special, the weather, the comings and goings in the village, the price of a pint of milk, village chitter chatter really.
As they approached the thick line of bushes there was a rustle and before them the bushes moved aside and they were facing the old wooden door, Claire knocked three times and opened the door.
They pulled the cart inside between them and the door closed itself very quietly.
All at once it seemed as if fireworks were going off in the middle of the garden, several bright flashes, a few cracks and some smoke filled the space and there was Ashley, Rodger and soon followed by Eva and Jedkin, Ashley’s parents.
The carpenter went very white and looked as if he was about to pass out, but Claire put her hand on his arm and reassured him.
‘Thank you for bringing all the wood’ said Ashley, ‘we knew that you were the only one in this area who could help us’.
‘It’s my pleasure’ said the carpenter.
It took a while for the group of them, working together to unload the cart and make a neat pile of all the wood, and all the while Cellen bounded around trying to help by picking up pieces of the wood in his mouth. Once they were finished Ashley turned to the carpenter.
‘Mr Wood, David we would like to thank you for all you have done and because we know how alone you feel at times, we have brought you this little dog’ said Eva, Ashley’s mother.
Out from the outskirts of the garden came a pretty little bitch, she had red hair, soft curly fur and a very full tail. She had huge eyes and looked up at the carpenter, who’s name was ‘David Wood’.
‘David this is Sophie and she is to come and live with you for a year and a day, you will have her food left at your back door for her each morning and she must not eat any other food, apart from tiny bits of anything you have already eaten yourself’ said Eva.
‘I am overwhelmed, I just don’t know what to say, I will keep her very close to me and promise to take very good care of her’ said the carpenter.
After a while he left with his new little lady dog, Claire stayed to help build the new potting shed and before the day was out they all had a little ceremony to bless the new shed and shared some mead, which is honey wine and some biscuits, here is the little blessing they used.
‘Spirits of nature, of the elements, magical beings we ask you to assist us now. Bless each and every one person of this World and those of the fay that come to use this shed. Bless every living creature that comes into this shelter and indeed into this garden. And in return we offer any muggle who cames into this shed a feeling of warmth and calm, let this be a safe place where two Worlds can meet in friendship.’
‘So mote it be!’ said Rodger the small gardener and everyone repeated…..’So Mote it be!’
Have you never wondered why those who garden, spend hours in a potting shed working away come out full of happiness and with a calm surrounding them? Well now you know…….they have all been blessed by the fay, the magical people who also use our gardens.
Siusaidh Ceanadach copywrite 2012.
Please contact me if you wish to use this story or part of it!