The Best Shed in Greenwich…

…has to be this one at Ballast Quay. I’ve written about this fabulous little garden before – mainly the very odd little memorial to the animal victims of foot & mouth dying “not of the disease, but of the cure…”

If I’m honest I know virtually nothing about this lovely little rural corner of the city riverside, but there is something wonderfully bucolic about the simple tree, the ivy-covered memorial, those terracotta jars, crumbling stone steps – and, of course that shed. I love the fact that it has city railings one side, the river Thames the other, yet its low-lying black-shiplap walls and lichen-covered roof are straight out of deepest Dorset.
I imagine the inside, neat rows of ancient terracotta pots, regimented in musty wooden seed trays; the slightly musty, earthy odour mingling with faint reminders of creosote and linseed oil.
In the corner, I see a battered leather armchair, moulded to a half-century’s worth of backsides, aged stuffing bursting from cat-clawed arms.
There are, of course, a couple of chipped mugs, a much-used Thermos and a packet of Rich Teas, nestled in a rusty biscuit tin behind a propped-up spade and a pile of seed catalogues. By the window in the roof, a few small seedlings enjoy what little watery warmth the March sun can afford.
I have never seen anyone in this garden, not even perched on the little green-painted cast-iron seat outside my dream shed enjoying a cup of PG Tipps in the setting sun. Someone told me that it’s looked after by a lady who lives opposite – presumably in those cute brick houses with the little lattice arches, but anything more – well – my imagination has to fill in the rest.
You know what? Just like that roof garden on the peninsula, I don’t want to know what’s really in that shed. I could only be disappointed. But I will always stop a moment as I pass that place, poke my nose through the railings and wonder…

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