Posts tagged London

Ah, Life!

You really never know where it is going to take you.

A few readers commented on my Big Love post, what a  difference a year made, and it got me thinking.

I thought you might like to see what Kilbourne Grove looks like from the back. I took this last April, standing where the Deliverance house used to be.

 When Ian and I were first married, he was a junior loans officer at a bank.  I knew what he did, he gave money to people so they could buy a car or a house.  When he became a bank manager, I thought that we had hit the big time, and so did my mum.  She was so proud that her daughter had married a “Bank Manager’, she thought it was such a prestigious job.   She didn’t like it so much when this ‘prestigious’ job took her daughter further away from her though, lol.  Ian changed positions at the bank, but neither his family or I were ever sure what he did, it was something (I am sure boring) at the bank.  But imagine my excitement (and my mums dismay) when we were transferred to London. Of course, she came to visit, and a good time was had by all.

Now she would have been further dismayed (and excited) by another international posting, and would already have booked a flight.  I never imagined when I married Ian what an ‘interesting’ life we would lead. I thought that my life would be spent in Toronto, and never dreamed of living abroad.  It is not all fun and games, it can be sad leaving all your friends and family behind. Those calls on Christmas Day, when you can hear all the laughing in the background, and  you are not there to share it can be heartbreaking. 

One day, when Ian and I have retired to Kilbourne Grove, we will be able to reflect on the adventures we have had in our lives and how it made us the people we are today.  PERFECT…lol!

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I am who?

I was surprised when I published this post by the number of comments.  A lot of readers felt that it would give you more information about me.  I did not think that I was that interesting, who would be interested in hearing more about me, but apparently, some of you would.

I picked my lion as my avatar, as at the time, I did not want my photo on the internet.

But, a lot of other bloggers do, so when Teza asked me for a photo for the Forum posts, a friend of mine took some of me at work, and that is the one you see here.

Now that you know what I look like, I will tell you my story.

I worked for a newspaper company when Ian and I met, (I asked him out, the first and obviously, last time that I have ever asked a man out) as the accountant at a small newspaper. Transferring to their head office in Toronto, I travelled around Canada, training the staff at newspapers on a computer system.  It was an amazing (and free) way to see Canada, I got to see almost all the provinces.   When the travelling got to be too much (and I would have had to be in British Columbia  for a month), I left the company, and went back to school to study floral design.  It was a year-long course, and you co-oped at a flower shop, one day a week.  When I graduated, the owner of this shop ‘East of Eliza’ offered me a full-time job.  It was a wonderful and very fun place to work.  We not only were a flower shop, but also had a small garden centre, and designed and maintained gardens.

 I had a very shady (and very, very small garden in the ‘Beaches’ section of Toronto. My first garden, it was where I learned and made a multitude of mistakes. Although the whole lot was only 20′ x 90′, (and had a house and garden shed on it), I divided the back yard into two rooms. 

I thought that it made the garden look larger, and certainly more interesting. My FIL (in the blue sweater)built the white are in the picture, here my in laws are inspecting our handiwork. We are building a brick path to the shed.

By now we had stained the shed green, hoping it wouldn’t be so noticeable (although how can you miss something that huge in such a tiny garden).

Sweet Autumn clematis was draped over the arch that Bill built, when it flowered the whole back smelt like vanilla.

After a few years, Ian was transferred to Kingston, Ontario, and I went to work for a friend and former colleague who had opened his own flower shop in this gorgeous city, TrugsBill is also a fabulous gardener, and while we did not have the space for a garden centre, fabulous plants (in small quantities) were for sale and we also did garden design and maintenance.

Starting on my second garden,  (twice the size of my Beaches garden, a whopping 35 x 152), I once again divided my back garden into ‘rooms’.  This time into thirds.

This was taken in October 1998 when we moved in. That fence was quickly replaced!

You can see there wasn’t much in the yard, except some very overgrown shrubs, honeysuckle,viburnum, mock orange,berberis, and a rose near the garage.

Looking towards the house. Just ignore the crazy lady on the deck. Wow, first no pictures of me, and now you get to see me in my robe, at least it is black velvet!

 The area closest to the house was the sunniest, this had a rectangular thyme lawn, surrounded by a flagstone coping, and flower beds on the other side path. 

You can see we just planted the thyme.

You walked under an arch, to the ‘black and white’ garden. There was a circular lawn, with a stone mowing strip, and a large urn in the centre of the lawn.  This was over 12 years ago, and black plants were a lot more difficult to find. I would like to try it again some time, it is still a favourite colour scheme of mine.  

The stone mowing strip in the black and white garden is complete. If I had known that one day I would be showing these pictures on the internet, I would have tied up a bit more before taking them.

 On the opposite side of the entrance arch was an exit, semi hidden by a large berberis.  Going through you entered the woodland garden.  You could at this point, go either left or right. This was the very back of my garden, and the most shady.  A circular walk took you through and you ended back at the Black and white garden.

This is looking from the laneway behind the house, through all the garden rooms.

Just as I started to get the garden to a point where I was (somewhat) happy with it, Ian got transferred again.  This time to London, England, (much as I hated to leave my garden, I wasn’t going to complain about that).   When we were looking for a place to live in we had a choice, live further out from the heart of the city and have a larger place, and probably a garden, or live in a tiny flat downtown and no garden.  It may have surprised you, but I chose the latter.  Although it was very hard not to have my own personal garden, I still felt like I had a garden. London is amazing that way, everyone has a lovely front garden, no matter how small, and the parks, they are amazing.  I would walk to work (Kenneth Turner at Harrods) every morning through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park.  There was always something new to see and learn, from the pollarded london plane trees at the entrance, to the fritillaria meleagris naturalized in the long grass.  On Christmas day, we went for a walk through Holland Park and I counted 31 different types of flowers in bloom, at home it would have been zero.

When we got transferred back to Canada, we had a decision to make. What should we purchase?  I knew we could never afford as large a garden as we wanted in Toronto, and I did not want to wait to retirement to purchase our ‘forever’ home, hedges and trees take a long time to grow.  Although we had gone through a bit of ‘cabin fever’ moving from a 2,000 sq ft home in Canada, to a 424 sq ft flat in London, we had survived.  So we decided to buy a very small condo in downtown Toronto, where we could walk to work, while looking for a house.  After a year we found it, and named it Kilbourne Grove.

If you are interested in reading about how we came up with the house name you can here, or if you want to see what it looked like when we first purchased it, read about it here, here and here. If you want to read about a bit more personal stuff, my Honest Scrap post will fill you in.

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