Jeremy blushed deeply, immediately, and made rapidly for the front doorway of the
Annie said it wasn‟t necessary. Maggie said it was very necessary. She said the walled garden was a terrible mess as Thomas had kept pigs in it for over twenty years but the last one had gone to the butcher a month ago and she knew in her heart of hearts that the walled garden was the key to their future. The walled garden and proper marketing.
Annie asked what the line was, and when Maggie looked confused, Annie quoted her advert in the local paper: “It said „marketing manager wanted -- to bring new life to old line‟. So what‟s the line?”
“Why, Burnet, of course! The line goes back who knows, probably to the Doomsday Book or something. It‟s Jeremy‟s brilliant idea. He says we‟ll use new media, which he says he knows all about, which is just as well because I haven‟t got a television licence.”
Jeremy came back carrying a pair of enormous rubber galoshes. He tipped them upside down and solid matter sprinkled to the ground. He put his nose to the openings, and couldn‟t avoid making an involuntary grimace. Then he beamed at Annie: “I think they‟re fine? You can hold on to my shoulder to steady yourself?”
“Perhaps we could discuss your plans indoors. I really don‟t think I need to see the entire estate.”
“The walled garden pretty much is the entire estate, my dear. And you need to see what there is of „our line‟,” Maggie insisted.
Annie took a deep breath and stepped out of her shoes and into the galoshes while her mind grappled with the possibility that this woman had buried her husband in the walled garden recently vacated by pigs.
“It‟s just starting to show a bit of new growth,” Maggie said cheerfully, waving her trowel and setting off briskly. “You two come along in your own good time.”
Jeremy blushed again, and offered to carry Annie‟s shoes. She hung on to them. “Sorry about Maggie,” he said. “She thinks she‟s not long for this world and wants to get things settled about the estate, which means getting me hitched up to someone with practical skills. But don‟t worry, she‟s another fifty years in her at least, and I‟m thinking about launching off on my own somewhere, to get a bit more worldly-wise as G-Gramps calls it. But it would be good if Maggie could get stuck into some new project or other before I go, to take her mind off things.”
A narrow path made of old, frost-shattered bricks led through a patch of emerging nettles, dock, and ground elder. Annie pictured decades‟ worth of pig manure seeping into the soil and spreading outwards from the walled garden, feeding monster weeds which by mid-June would take over the whole place. Bindweed had already climbed halfway up the