The first few days we moved into our new home, we wandered around the site. I can say ‘site’ because it is a big plot of land. I forgot how big and creepy until a delivery guy turned up today and said ‘what is this place, its quite spooky’. And then you look again and the crumbling brickwork, the overgrown plants and the slight feeling of desolation and realise he has a point.
Those first forays into the various blocks that made up our place were interesting to say the least. Our footsteps echoed along empty corridors with the occasional vision panel blocked up showing someone had moved in. Or once, a panel had not been blocked up and you could see the hump of a girl curled up on the floor with a pitiful collection of belongings stacked against a wall of what was previously a classroom. Not all guardians came equipped for their surrounds.
Walking through one of the buildings we bumped into a really chatty guy with dreadlocks who asked us if we had found the secret garden yet. He diverted from his current plan of action to show us the garden. You accessed it down a stairwell, through a series of gutted rooms and out through a door you had to prop open to get back in. A small walled off corner of the site, parts of the building forming two of the walls, the external edges the others, A little pond, some wooden benches and the first signs of a garden that was almost residential and previously cared for.
A sad but exciting little space. Clearly the guardian programme knew about it as the bits of lawn and weeds had been neatly trimmed but the plants ran riot and they were strawberry runners and raspberries. There was lavender and rosemary there. Something that looked like it might become a pumpkin plant.
A secret space. A hidden space. A little gem.
For a moment at least, it almost made the communal showers worth it.