The shortest – or, at least, the most picturesque – route into the centre of town from my home leads through a walled garden owned by the church. It’s a wonderful space and many of the photos on this blog – witch hazel, bluebells, cyclamen, crocuses, spring blossom… – have been taken there. I’ve sat there often, sometimes to read, occasionally to write, but more often just to think and watch the birds and squirrels.
As far as I know, the garden is open every day; certainly in the two or three years I’ve lived here I’d never seen it closed. Never until this week, that is.
Apparently they are doing some work on the old stone walls and although they are still keeping the garden open as much as they can, they have decided to lock the wrought iron gates while the workmen are not around to keep an eye on their tools and scaffolding.
Fortunately, the closure doesn’t involve a very long detour as there’s a narrow alleyway – the tinker-tank – that runs beside the garden. There is some debate as to the spelling, but Rob MacFarlane, whose twitter feed is a delight of folklore and the natural world, says that “In Warwickshire, high-walled alleyways are sometimes called tinka-tankas; onomatopoeic of the echoing sound feet make when walking them.”
Even though the detour is only temporary and doesn’t add more than a couple of minutes to my walk, when I saw the closed gate, my immediate reaction was one of irritation: we are such creatures of habit that even a minor change to our routine is viewed as an inconvenience.
But if I hadn’t had to walk along the tink-a-tank, I would not have seen these wonderful red berries, so luminous in this morning’s sunshine that they looked like Christmas tree lights.
I must try and remember that a change in route or routine can actually provide new sights and experiences and shouldn’t automatically be dismissed as a bad thing.