The next AGM will be held at the Steiner School on Saturday 20 January 2018 at 10.30.
Please try and attend and have your say about what is going right and what is going wrong in the Enclosures.
Three dog waste bins have now been installed in the Southern Gardens and will be emptied regularly. One is by the tunnel and the other two are by the double gates on the east and west side.
All the gardeners and the voles would be delighted if dog owners would kindly make use of them. It is not pleasant to find a little rotting package hanging in a shrub or tucked away at the back of a flower bed.
Jeremy has been increasingly concerned of late about people using the gardens as a burial ground. Somebody buried a cat in the North Garden recently which was, of course, dug up by foxes. Jeremy then had the unpleasant task of disposing of the rotten corpse, which the foxes left in the middle of the lawn.
"We do also have quite a few smaller animal burials (like hamsters)," Jeremy writes. "I don't mind that in itself of course, except where people create a little patch and put in unsuitable plants without asking. I then don't know it is a burial sight until I dig it over.
"Then we have the regular ashes from what I can only assume (because of the volume) are human. They are often left in a pile next to a bench or under a bush. We probably get at least 10 a year. I would prefer it if people talked to me about ashes and I could advise them how and where to put them. After all I don't think people really want their loved ones being in a pile with several other people, or end up being washed off my boots.
"I also don't think they want their dear pets going into the communal bins."
The so-called “voles” - the volunteer gardeners - make a major contribution to the upkeep of the gardens, but much more work could be done if we could recruit more “voles”.
At the moment the same handful of people turn up, week in week out. Jeremy would greatly welcome more help, particularly when spring is breaking out all over.
The “voles” meet at ten o'clock every Tuesday morning at a location designated by Jeremy by e-mail the night before. You do not need to be an expert gardener, or indeed have any experience of gardening at all - Jeremy will tell you exactly what to do and supply all the tools needed.
At 11 o’clock we break for coffee (bring your own) and then usually work through, at a gentle pace, until about mid-day or 1230.
If you are free on Tuesday mornings, please consider joining the “voles”. It is a great way to get some fresh air and feel a sense of accomplishment by making a positive contribution to our wonderful gardens.
If you have not yet checked out the “Who’s Been Living In My House” report on the Kemp Town Society website we urge you to do so. Designed and edited by Vanessa Minns, it contains a mass of well-researched information about the history of the estate, with links to further reading, and is aiming to compile histories of as many individual houses as is possible.
An extraordinary cast of artists, writers, actors, aristocrats, and various ne’er-do-wells has lived on the estate at various times and their stories make fascinating reading. Some are wonderfully eccentric. Take, for example, the irascible writer Kay Dick, who held court in the basement flat at 9 Arundel Terrace for many years:
“Kay’s friends included the writers Neville and June Braybrooke, and novelists Brigid Brophy, Pamela Hansford Johnson, Francis King, Gillian Freeman and Shena Mackay. They were entertained at Arundel Terrace, where cigarettes, cream teas and Martinis were supplied in quantities which belied her financial situation.
“Her basement flat was lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves crammed with editions of most of the 20th century’s notable writers, many of which were inscribed by authors grateful for her editorial help, including George Orwell who gave her a copy of Animal Farm, inscribed with the words: ‘Kay – To make it and me acceptable’, and L.P.Hartley who wrote ‘with gratitude and admiration’ in her copy of The Go-Between.
“A friend visiting Kay in hospital found her berating a nurse ‘You are not educated enough to look after me’.”
There are many other fascinating stories. Highly recommended.