Object #10 – chillies and thyme stalk (leafless), strung from light fitting (Ikea)
These chillies were grown by Will in our garden. To get there, we go out through our back door, down the outside stairs and scoot round past downstairs’ part of the garden. We have a narrow strip that is overrun by next-door-on-one side’s six black cats, the curious cat from over the bottom wall, and a fox. Neil from next-door – his bathroom window is visible in the image – on the other side leans over and chats over downstairs’ neglected intervening garden. Simon who owns the cats chats over his upstairs’ neighbours’ neglected intervening garden. We optimistically strip farm in south London.
We grow, amongst lots of other things, chillies, bay, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, mint – useful stuff you want a lot. I pick big bunches at a time so that we don’t have to go down the slippery stairs much in the cold and dark in the winter, or battle the massive spiders who string their webs across the fences in the late Summer and Autumn, or avoid cat and fox poo. We hang herbs up from the only possible place – the light fitting. It came down recently because the electrician who put it up hadn’t used any rawl plugs.
I always have string in a drawer. Rope and string make a lot of things possible.
When we lived at Hyde, there was a rosemary bush just outside the sitting room window. All you had to do was reach out with the kitchen scissors. Mint was a trot down the rainy garden to the wall under the old summer house. The mint was terrifyingly full of spiders. Chives were in the vegetable patch, which also grew a lot of stones, being up on the hillside, past the compost heap that was at child nose level, and richly pongy. There was no cat poo to contend with. Muffin preferred to use the sandpit.
We had the flat valued in our endless quest to buy the freehold. More than one loud-heeled, neutral-loving estate agent looked at the herbs and loved how we had styled the space. We haven’t styled our space.