The Prologue

Welcome to the potting shed, where I shall be writing this, my first ever blog. In fact, this is where I do most things. This is where I cook, eat, read, knit, tweet, sleep. Yes, this is where I live. One of the few things I don’t do here is potting.

I had always wanted a potting shed. Real gardeners have potting sheds, with shelves lined with pots and seed trays, all meticulously scrubbed in winter ready for the new sowing season, with boxes of seeds in alphabetical order, with tools hanging on hooks, each cleaned at the end of each day’s labour, with a chipped mug for tea and a packet of custard creams* for that well-earned mid-morning break. I wanted to make a garden, so I wished for a potting shed. But, as the saying goes, be careful of your wishes. I got to make a garden and I got my potting shed. I just never expected to be living in it.

How I came to be living in a potting shed on a half-hectare field as far south as you can go in France without tripping over a mountain and landing in Spain, with no mains electricity, no mains water, no telephone line and an outside composting toilet will be the subject of the next few posts, while I wait for winter to loosen its grip and to let me get out into the garden and do something useful.

I would like too to share the process of creating this garden, the progress so far, our plans for the future and the day to day challenges, successes and lessons learned (i.e. failures) that are actually what makes gardening such a wonderful activity (remind me I said that the next time I have spent all day on my knees pulling up weeds and can’t stand up straight). I hope you will enjoy reading it and I look forward to your comments. The photos, for no particular reason, are of pollarded willows and my cat Pogo wrapping herself in grass.

One final thing: as I said, we are lacking the mod. cons that most of you probably take for granted (I would settle for some ancient conveniences some days), this includes a proper internet connection. This blog is being written from an iPhone, with occasional visits to the local internet café. Therefore, I will not always know if it looks OK on a full screen, so please let me know if there are any problems.

Thank you for visiting the potting shed and I look forward to seeing you again soon. Please bring your own mug next time and more custard creams.

À bientôt,


* This is the start of my campaign to be invited to write for the classy blog ‘Encounters with Remarkable Biscuits’


27 responses to “The Prologue

  1. Hi Gillian, In my minds eye I had you pictured in a semi-mediterranean idyll (shows how bad my geography is). Now the truth is out. No electricity, no toilets – yours is shanty town living at its most basic ;-).
    If broadband is to be designated a “human right” across most of Europe then you will probably classify for third world aid.
    Despite that what you have does sound idyllic (do you detect a hint of jealousy).
    Look forward to reading how you progress and seeing what the year has in store for you in the Pyrenees (see, I know where it s now)

    p.s. the format looks great

    • I had a bet with myself that you would be the first to arrive. Shanty town indeed! Cheek! I like the idea of third world aid though, perhaps I could start an ‘Adopt a Distressed English Woman’ appeal. Re link in Twitter – I did know but thanks for the reminder.

  2. I will enjoy reading of your gardening adventures here and will endeavour to bring chocolate chip cookies from time to time. Living without mod cons. must be challenging. Pogo looks to be having a fine time. It’s great you’ve started this blog! Hope you can get out into the garden soon!

  3. Your post has left me wanting more! I cant wait to see the Potting Shed and find out about your life in it. Pogo looks a sweetheart!

    You should get a sitemeter if you don’t already have one then you can see how many people have come to visit you and from where. This the one most bloggers seem to use

  4. …and you could add you blog link to your twitter page (I know, you were already going to that).

  5. Well I reckon that’s a pretty good start and will almost certainly bring you to the attention of Encounters With remarkable Biscuits!

  6. Morning Gilly, welcome to the blogosphere! Your post looks good, Pogo adorable and the pollarded willows very Dutch.

    I’m very curious as to how you ended up this far south in France living the life of Riley. 😉 Another thing I’m curious about is the view from the potting shed.

    cheerio from a sunny Dinteloord,


  7. patientgardener

    Welcome to garden blog world. I question your notion that real gardeners have well appointed potting sheds. I know lots of real gardeners but dont know one that has a potting shed let alone a well appointed one. Only seems to be those TV gardeners that have them.

    Looking forward to the nextt instalment

  8. Hello Gillian
    how on earth did you fiond the time to write your first Bolgg! I know you are busy at the moment planting seeds for your wonderful potage- event thought you do not have a shed free in which to do it!
    Loved reading it
    and I know what you mean about those custard creams!!
    if you find them here in France let me know!

  9. How great! What a tantalising start and lovely to be able to place you. I am so pleased you have got your blog underway despite your technical difficulties and am very much looking forward to reading more!
    Lia x

  10. Welcome to the blogging world. I look forward to reading about your adventures. I always wanted a potting shed as well, but not to live in!
    Now, I must go make a cuppa and open a package of biscuits, yum….

  11. I’m just grumpy ‘cos you’ve already got loads of people reading your blog about you, your potting shed & your composting toilet! Mind you, I didn’t tell anyone about my blog so that did make it slightly difficult.

    I am really looking forward to hearing more about Gilly’s Big Adventure.

  12. I would like to thank you all for your kind words and encouragement. I never expected such a good response. I hope I can continue to hold your interest.

  13. Well done on the new blog. Lovely start. Are you on the Atlantic or Med side then, or smack bang in the middle?
    I have a potting shed. A rather posh one really.It was here when we bought the house. And just to make you jealous, it has a toilet, electricity, a boiler, a radiator and a sink. And it is truly a most horrific mess.

  14. Hello Gilly,

    What a lovely blog! I look forward to following!


  15. Jane Shortall

    Hi Gillian

    Excellent blog. It really has an atmospheric feeling to it and the pics are wonderful.. great stuff. I went to the Marche at St G this morning and checked out the cafe de l’Union and the Bouchon, hoping I might run into you and have a cafe, but no success. So, a bientot…

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