Something I’d liked about the cottage when I bought it, was the way its garden merged into the rough ground beyond it. I’d always intended to – one day – explore what lay beyond the edge of my garden, but like all those ‘one days’ we have this one had never come around.
Then, one July afternoon, I was sitting out there in my new favourite place in the shade of the big willow tree when I put down my book and looked up.
There was another tree there, a silver birch which, according to the paperwork I’d seen at the conveyancing solicitor’s office, denoted the edge of my property. The land beyond, from that tree down to the edge of the stream, seemingly didn’t belong to anyone, not the council, not the local farmers, not my neighbours and not me. The solicitor had shrugged when I’d asked about it. ‘Just another one of those things lost in the mists of history,’ she said and gave me what seemed like several hundred papers to sign.
Apparently it had something to do with Henry VIII and the dissolution of the monasteries, this once being monastery land, apparently.
I couldn’t see any reason to wait any longer and today was as good as any. I strolled down to the silver birch, leaning on it with one outstretched arm, while I peered into the undergrowth.
I noticed there was something in there, something man-made, almost lost under the brambles, grass and other wild plants.
I decided to see what it was.