Undeterred, I wrapped up like an eskimo and braved the cold and wind, to do my next favourite nosey thing to people watching............ that is looking at other people's gardens.
I soon walked out of our immediate district of Victorian terraced villas with tiny front gardens, into a slightly more affluent area with homes that had been built in the 1930 era. I noticed that many people had given up their garden for a brick paved parking area and many had small trees and shrubs in ornamental pots to take away the bareness that this had caused. Harry had announced only recently that "the papers" had said there was a possibility of having to pay more Council tax for homes with garages and off road parking spaces. Well that lets us off the hook then as our garden in the front is too small for a parking bay and we have no garage. Then I remembered that some inner cities are thinking of charging people to park outside their own homes. So either way, car owners are losers.
Many gardens, I noted, had exotic looking Cordylines growing in their front gardens, that are used to sunnier climes, but they seem to grow very well here. Judging by the amount of people who have planted them, they seem to be all the rage and I wonder if they will be the "Leylandii of the twenty first century" only to be scorned in the future. We have one in our back garden that grew through the bottom of a clay pot at an alarming angle and is now quite big. Son, Sam or should I call him Sam son, swung on it to see if it was safe for the children to play under, and he pronounced it sturdy enough.
Some gardens are really well loved, you can tell by the clipped shrubs and weed free borders. Unfortunately these are often next to a really untidy, neglected one, that makes a terrible contrast. Why is it that if I see something in need of a good clip, I feel I'd love to be let loose with a good pair of shears? Yet I don't always feel like that with my own. I start to think of the reason for the neglect. Is the person too old or infirm to tidy it? Or is some one living there who simply hates gardening? Maybe they are just too busy.
Some homes have a little notice on the front door or gate saying "no circulars or junk mail." Well you know where you are with a house like that. I suddenly thought, "Wouldn't it be good if bloggers had a notice on their blogs to say that they didn't want a tag, meme or an award." At least we would know who not to tag without having to learn by trial or error. Now I am digressing just like Ronnie Corbett. Strange what you think about when you're walking though, isn't it?
I pass a good many homes with tiny front gardens where a small shed has been squeezed in, to house bikes safely, I should think. It would be impossible to get to the house windows to clean them as the sheds completely block off the way. If the occupants of these homes have to choose between locking a bike up safely or cleaning the windows, then the bike might well win.
Just a few gardens had rubbish in them. Some homes were being revamped and the mess was temporary, but I could see that others didn't care at all about mattresses and furniture lying on a lawn for months.
I came round full circle to our house. I had enjoyed the tiny lawns, grey slate shingle and mock york stone patios with plants and interesting garden ornaments and came home glowing, warm and feeling like some more chocolate!