Tuesday 7 June 2022

Robert Blatchford at Heacham - Norfolk

At Heacham, on the north Norfolk coast, Robert Blatchford friend Harry Lowerison kept a co-educational school (Ruskin School, Station Road)

Outside the school grounds stood a small cottage which had been a shop. It had a big garden, and for thirty years Blatchford had longed for a garden. Secretly, and in fear of what Sally (wife) the town lass would say. Blatchford bought it. When he told her, and sought to propitiate her by asking how she would like the cottage decorated, Sally pursed her lips "Well! You know, I've always wanted an oak panelled room. Pewter always looks so nice against oak-panelling. 

So the simple cottage was disembowelled to make Sally her oak-panelled room. And the floors were waxed and polished until they menaced the life of the cottages lord and master. And through the gate between Lowerison's school and Blatchford's cottage passed a busy traffic: Blatchford - "the groundsman" they called him 

And in the garden were weeds- masses of weeds; and the grass borders to trim, and the lilies to tie up, and the hollyhocks to stake, and the peas wanting sticks, and the creepers to train, and the roses to be nursed and flattered, and the night scented stock to be thinned, and the wonderful ways of the ants to be watched, and birds fed, and garden lore to be absorbed from Pa (Frederick) Chilvers, the neighbouring nurseryman, with his crisp grizzled hair, candid blue eyes and strong face, who did Blatchford honour by naming an apple after him. By day there were the infinite spaces of blue sea and blue sky to be caught if possible, in watercolour. 
By night there were the stars, and silence 

Never in his life had he been so happy 

Robert Blatchford By Laurence Thompson 1951