This is a kind of patio area that used to have a large dog run built on top of it. Thankfully that was gone when Andy and I moved in. It's been a bit of a mess since then as since Andy died, my own future here has been tenuous. I've spent the last few years trying to hold my head together and there has seemed little point in putting a huge effort into something I may have to leave behind.
Last year, before Joe moved in, Brian-next-door helped me to cut down the worst of the nasty knot weed stuff, which was a beast. Since then, Joe has taken an axe to it several times and dug up the main roots. It seems to have been vanquished at last.
So even with the future being uncertain, we made a start on tidying it up properly earlier this year. Joe lifted the slabs.
At last a nice sized plot was revealed. I began digging it over.
And even though there hasn't really been any money for plants or seeds, I have managed to grow a few things and it looks a lot better.
The potatoes at the back should break the earth up (not for nothing are they known as 'pioneer plants'). The courgettes and beans seem happy enough.
As you can seem a lot of rubble has been removed. It will take some work and a lot of manure this winter to turn the earth around. And there is still a patch at the back which I am getting to grips with. It is thick, dry clay mingled with stones and rubbish, so I am doing it bit by bit, inch by inch.
There are tomato plants growing at the side. It all looks a little bare, but at last it looks as if we'll be able to stay here for a while and maybe next year I will be able to plant out the large herb patch that I have secretly dreamed of.
With everything that has happened, and being in a rather fragile state of mind most of the time, I still find it hard to contemplate a more reassured future. This little corner of the garden is the one part that is slowly taking form, with some herbs and creeping succulents. I look out on it often and try to take hope.