..and so I became a lawyer. But sometimes you get a second chance. Retirement was the opportunity to rediscover the simple art of making things and to complete the restoration of our old house and gardens.
In the Beginning
We bought the derelict 400 year Old Vicarage at Astley in the early 1990’s. My career as a lawyer was beginning to take off and our two small children were starting at new schools. This meant our hands were full but our pockets were empty! We had to beg, borrow and steal favours to do basic repairs to this venerable, but sadly, dilapidated old house.
By all accounts, there’s even a very friendly ghost who ‘lives’ here too who may have helped us more than just a little.
What were we thinking?
Susan’s mother was crowned May Queen in the gardens here, but, the house was now boarded up and uninhabitable.
Somehow we managed to cope with life in a caravan, bathing in a Belfast sink and fending off architectural thieves. That is, thieves who steal architectural features rather than architects who have turned to a life of crime!
If you build it…
The Old Vicarage is Grade II* listed – “a particularly important building of more than special interest”.
Finding art and artefacts for it and its gardens, however, which were appropriate, affordable and acceptable to its “spirits” proved difficult at best and nigh on impossible at worst. Ultimately it became clear that we couldn’t fake it, so we’d have to make it.
An Artful Gardener – Our Watchwords
Old managerial habits are hard to kick so I’ve invented my own “3 C’s”
Create, Collect, Curate
These are An Artful Gardener’s watchwords. Both in looking after Astley Old Vicarage and in offering help to others who want to be creative in their own gardens. Whether it’s a unique sculpture in stainless steel, a wire figure, sturdy rustic plant supports or simply an aspiration to do it yourself, we hope we can help.