Valerie’s house

FIGS and fuschias. Rosemary and rhubarb. And roses.

Honeysuckle, runner beans, marrows, lettuces, ferns, apples, potatoes, cucumbers. This is Valerie’s cottage garden, a riot of lush and sprawling flowers, fruit and veg.

I like to sit here with the cat, wondering about passers-by, or watching washing flap on the line.

In Valerie’s garden, I top and tail gooseberries (green, like the cat’s eyes) on a sunny morning, and read a book well into dusk, listening to St Mary’s bellringers practice their peals on Thursday nights.

Valerie’s house is proper, with teapots and tablecloths and visitors who drink out of china cups. It feels like a sanctuary, standing cool and tall in the middle of Bridport.

I like to look at the fig tree growing outside Valerie’s kitchen window when I do the washing up.

I like to sit and listen to the clocks, or pick up a paperback from the window seat, or marvel at Valerie’s fabulous collection of milk jugs.

I like sleeping on Valerie’s exquisitely embroidered pillows. It feels nice being here.

Valerie’s house is home to me, Liz, Michael, the cat (and Valerie, of course). But not for much longer, as Priory Cottage is for sale. Valerie’s selling up and looking for somewhere smaller.

Although this is the impetus I need to finally haul myself onto the property ladder, I’m sad in a way. And it makes me wonder: do the people make the place, or does the place make the people?

I’ll miss this place, and these people.

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