I think my mother considered she married well.
The ninth in a late Victorian / Edwardian family of ten children to a policeman, she more or less had to bring herself up. Her mother died when she was eight and all the older sisters were much too bored by then with their small siblings to care how she coped.
She met my father - a bright, only child - when she was in her teens and I think he offered her the space and aspiring middle-classness she needed to move away from her big extended family.
When I was a toddler my parents moved to a bungalow in Bookham on the edge of the North Downs. Through the whole of my life, my mother made much of the fact that the bungalow came with "a third of an acre" - so different to the tightly packed terraced houses of Beckenham where she grew up, with their small gardens, outside toilet and alleyway along the back, .
Something of that desire for that space of "a third of an acre" has rubbed off on me. No doubt she would be thrilled to know that her daughter is now living in a house surrounded by five acres.
But then I also know the family folklore that the third of an acre was too much for Dad, working full-time, singing in the choir, attending council meetings and squeezing gardening into late evenings and long weekends. He had bitten off more than he could chew and the garden became a burden, not a pleasure. So they moved - to my mother's chagrin - to a smaller garden.
At this time of the year, everywhere I look around the five acres there is work to be done and Nature is running ahead of me laughing. My father is standing at my shoulder and I know exactly how he felt.
2 years ago