Seeking refuge in walled garden

Last Sunday, Zim and I went on a long journey together. Yes, we made it all the way from home to this beautiful walled garden in Corstorphine. Almost a mile. On foot. In what passes for summertime here in Scotland.

Corstorphine walled garden – a place of sanctuary?

Zim isn’t one of those fancy all-terrain walkers, which I learnt about only a couple of months ago, but already secretly covet. So we were both struggling on the hillier, rockier parts of our walk.

Kitchen garden

I might as well admit I haven’t managed to do any exercise at all since then, but I’m still quietly chuffed. The site used to be the kitchen garden for a local place, Hillwood House, but fell into disuse as spiralling labour costs made it impossible to maintain.

Admittedly, I was sweating and shaking by the time we arrived and collapsed awkwardly onto the first bench I could see after making it through the beautiful wrought-iron gates. Unfortunately, MS makes us extra-sensitive to heat, which isn’t normally a problem in Scotland, even in July, but the recent sunshine meant I was so knackered I couldn’t punch the air with delight. More just flap a hand feebly at a birch tree.

Rescue and restore

About twenty years ago, some locals got together to rescue and restore the garden and the project’s now run entirely by volunteers from the local community. It feels not unlike an example of social mobility in Britain over the last century. Various relatives of mine worked for years as servants in big houses belonging to the ‘gentry’, answering bells, fetching and carrying, doing whatever menial work fell to them, probably weeding too. Now, at least, one of us gets to visit the garden in the sunshine on a summer’s Sunday afternoon. Even with the dratted MS, it’s not a bad deal.

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