|Tower, rill and water jet at The Arrow Cottage Garden, Herefordshire|
Once we built a tower. Or perhaps, to be absolutely accurate, we had a tower built. Not of course on the scale of Eiffel, nor with the renowned lean of Pisa, and not, as in Babel, in any metaphorical sense. No, our Tower, capitalised for it became known simply as that, was constructed four square to close a principal vista within our Herefordshire garden.
Some years earlier we had made a rill, a narrow channel of water extending for some 50 metres at the centre of a broad walk of York stone, flanked on each side with tall hedges of yew, Taxus baccata, and culminating in a single jet of water. But something was missing. A column, topped with a blackened urn of marble, failed to provide the focus for the eye that the position demanded. And so the idea of The Tower was born.
Later we painted it yellow to complement the deep blue of the Agapanthus Headbourne Hybrid which, in terracotta pots, lined the rill. After that the fun, for such it was, began. Summer dinner parties, from which guests stumbled back to the distant house in the black of the late night, clutching candles to light the way, became the order of the day. In winter we sat in the upstairs room before a stove, constant in its propensity to smoke, and told 'sad stories of the death of kings'. Or some such thing.
|the underside of The Tower [right] and seen from the Kitchen Garden [left]|
But, to refer to an earlier post, it is Montaigne who has prompted all of this for his tower, to which he retreated to reflect on life, served to remind us, all these years later, of our own.
|the tower of Michel de Montaigne, Périgord, France|
Today The Tower stands forlorn, or so we are told, its once open arches boarded up, its window blank, the rill to which it owed its being, demolished, the stone carted away and sold; the fountain is silent for the entire garden is no more. And what a salutary lesson this is, this Ozymandias of endings where 'The lone and level sands stretch far away'.
Periodically, perhaps, we may return to the subject of our garden.