Becky is a Bocking resident, who comes into the Gardens very regularly and loves them dearly. She is fighting, most courageously against Lymphoma, she has volunteered to work in the Gardens but her health did not allow her to continue. She has decided to write a monthly diary of her life in the Gardens, people she has met and her thoughts and hopes;
Forward – 4 June 2017
I look around the Park, as if it’s the first time taking in all that beholds, birds singing, the sunlight falling onto the grass through the leaves in the trees.
Funny I never felt this place a solace before the diagnosis. I’d volunteered to help keep the Park going, through gardening, My eyes were blinkered to the beauty all around me. Now I walk in loops, hearing the children laugh and the wind in the trees. On particularly hard days, my ipod will be blaring in my ears. I sit for a coffee now and chill, relaxing, muscles unclenching, watching life unfold in front of me.
Ted, an elderly gentleman, who belongs nowhere really but is part of the fixtures and fittings, comes every day to this lush green utopia, wobbling on his rusty bike, his basket full to the brim, and carrier bags on each handle. Long straggly hair flaps around in the breeze. He parks his mode of transport under the Bandstand, a daily ritual done to a tee. Carefully he lays out his meagre possessions, a red towel to sit on, a white one to lay snacks on, and his beloved wireless, always tuned to Radio 2
I sit and watch him today, apologising for taking his special place. He nods and says “It’s OK – you’re alright”. I continue reading my book, but glance up occasionally, gazing at this creature of habit, mirroring my life in some ways. He mumbles, inaudible to the human ear, trousers torn at the knees. Wondering what his story is – I begin to have an idea in my head.
Chapter 2 – 11th June 2017
You can always find solace in the Park, even if it is packed to the rafters – there’s always a squidgy place somewhere to stop the world turning for a little. Children play happily in the play area, a dad spinning his young child on the roundabout, as he squeals with delight.
The sun takes turns coming out and going in, the wind goes from a gentle blow to a sudden stiff breeze as a woodpigeon calls from a far off tree. Today the old man isn’t here, kinda miss his smile and a called out “hello” each time I pass him on my compulsory laps of the made up circuit. I sit and rest where he normally abides and gaze around. I reach into my bag, retrieving my new book, deliciously inviting, ready for me to delve into. The Church bell chimes across the town, as a fly buzzes across my face and a money spider decides to crawl across a page. Two young lads come past on their scooters, legs propelling them along in cync. Watching them going around the outside of the path in circuit, each keen to beat the other, the second time they come round, the lead has changed as they whizz past with enthusiasm, the third time around I think to myself “remind me to get one of those”, 7 more laps and they have overtaken my number this morning! They rest and stop perching on a log, briefly, before departing once more. “Catch me if you can” one lad squeals.
A squirrel runs towards me, then sits down in front. I look at him. “Don’t have anything to give you, and I don’t think tea is your ideal choice, is it? The birds are chirping all around, makes me think I am in an amphitheatre. My muscles relax and the stress ebbs away, returning to the book in my lap.
Two siblings are running across the grass, an elderly man is run, walk, run behind trying to catch up. He gives in, lumbering along in defeat, an eye still on them. Reaching the tennis courts they stop, he sighs, probably with relief the game is over.
“Kindle lady” ambles past, gazes at me as as my notepaper flies into the air, leaping, grasping it before it lands on the path. She continues to look. Next time I go to scan the Gardens, she’s disappeared. The lady has her favourite seat too, and comes daily. She never smiles. Just looks up with her dark brown staring eyes. I always try and pluck the courage up to utter “Good Morning”, cheerily. It hasn’t happened to date,
A ping of a tennis ball starts up a regular beat being tapped out – it turns into whacks before long.