When we arrived at our new home back in December, the overgrown front garden reminded me of a passage from The Grimm Brothers fairy tale, Briar Rose...a large hedge of thorns (soon) grew round the palace, and every year it became higher and thicker; till at last the old palace was surrounded and hidden, so that not even the roof or the chimneys could be seen. Around our palace, ancient oak trees were silently blocking out much-needed natural light and we were sure there was a perimeter fence poking out from beneath the overgrown brambles and weeds.
The front of our bungalow faces beautiful woodlands and just beyond our garden fence is home to four huge and ancient oak trees. It was clear the oaks had been neglected for some time and would need specialist attention. One in particular saw to it that virtually no light penetrated the rooms at the front of our home and Mr M felt sure that come summer, they’d be little sunlight in the back garden either. Once the weather changed for the better we sought the help of experienced tree surgeons. Our needs were simple enough; thin out the oaks and make safe those branches which groaned with their own weight and hung ominously over the bungalow and its driveway. By thinning out the trees, we hoped to gain that all important sunlight to the back garden. And so once all the necessary wildlife checks were carried out, a skillful team took two long days to complete the noisy and messy task.
It was an expensive job which took a large chunk of our landscaping budget however we now seem to have enough logs to keep several wood burners aglow for years to come.
In tandem with the tree felling, Mr M spent a great many hours taming the overgrown nettles and brambles and unveiling an extra parcel of land beyond the fence which he now tends to like his own.
And I spruced up the front porch by adding a daisy door wreath, some gorgeous hydrangeas and a welcome door mat. Oh… and a few of the many logs. I think it’s fair to say the front aspect of our home is a little improved for now wouldn’t you say?
Now, as the bungalow is my home, I can say it is a particularly unattractive dwelling. Others are permitted only to think it. Despite having large windows and lots of them, the dark wood frames and leaded glass don’t help with natural light. One of the rooms to the front of the property is currently our sitting room and it’s true, all this hard work has let in considerably more light than when we first arrived. But if I’m honest, it could still do with more. And I worried that would matter. But it doesn’t and let me tell you why…because when the renovation is complete, this room becomes our dining room. And like most dining rooms, I imagine ours will be used for high days and holidays. And Christmas. A room at Christmas doesn’t need lots of bright light. A room at Christmas lends itself to the soft warm lighting offered by a few beautiful lamps. And tons of twinkling candles. And that is what this room will have. Candles and Christmas. So for now, we shall be grateful for the warm summer light we have in our back garden which we hoped the tree felling would bring. And for now there shall be no more talk of candles or Christmas, at least not for a while yet anyway.