Secret Gardens

I have a few minutes before one of my favorite shows, BBC’s “Masterchef,” starts, so I thought I’d plug in a quick blog. (Incidentally, the other shows I really get into over here are “The Supersizers” and “Cash In the Attic.”)

So far it’s been a glorious summer in Ireland (as you can see from lazy Georgie above!). After two summers of straight rain, everyone was pulling out all the stops in prayers to their favorite Saints so we could get some real sunshine, and it must have worked! In a recession summer, no one can refuse free sunshine!

However, there’s a funny thing you have to understand about the Irish: they’re superstitious about jinxing things. (In fact, I’ve probably just jinxed everything…) You won’t hear them saying much about this summer being gorgeous – they’re afraid it might go away! Instead, quite humorously, they complain. If I had a euro for every time I hear someone fan themselves and sigh, “It’s very warm, isn’t it?” or a dollar for every instance I’ve watched someone flop into a chair and declare “it’s roasting!”… I would be a millionaire, at least in one country. As for me, I’m finding it pleasantly warm (60 – 75 degrees F does not “roast” me, especially after eight years in Indiana…) and I grab all the rays of sun I can with gratefulness.  Jinxed or not!

One of the nicer places to enjoy the weather is at work – yes, at work. The doctor’s office where I am a receptionist is in a tall old brick house on Fair Street – one of many interconnected houses of similar size and composition, most of which have been converted to commercial properties. The coolest part about the building, though, aside from the three flights of steep stairs patients have to climb (try that in America! Ha!), is that there is a secret garden out the back! See, the building, and subsequently all the neighboring buildings, were once stately family homes with walled-in Victorian gardens. Ever seen PBS’s show “1900 House?” Our garden is like that. It is completely private, with high ivy-draped walls, trees, climbing roses, and shrubs. The practice manager has actually been working the garden part of the plot and has all manner of vegetables and flowers growing. On nice days, the staff will take our lunch out to the picnic table and just soak up the air. 

Cornerstone Garden

We are probably the only business on the street to take advantage of our space, though. It’s slightly sad, slightly romantic, to look over the walls into the other gardens, long neglected and overgrown, and imagine what they did look like, and perhaps what they could look like again. It’s no surprise that the history buff in me longs to see pictures or read accounts of what life was like 100 years ago on this street, and what little worlds were contained in each corresponding garden. 

In the meantime… I’ll just have to be content with what my mind can make up!

Overgrown Neighbours' GardensI think if I ever get a second degree and the coolest job ever… I’m going to become a food historian. If anyone wants to sponsor me on that endeavor … I promise, I’ll thank you in the forthcoming book. *wink*


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