Our Garden + 5 Years in England

June 23, 2018  •  ,

A small white dog sits in a doorway with a welcome mat in front of her.

When I got home from working in London last night, I was surprised to see a welcome mat outside our front door. As I descended the stairs from the street, I saw that Katy had added a little tree to our front doorway outdoor space. And there was a window box filled with daisies perched on our bedroom windowsill.

A small tree

Two photos. One is of a concrete staircase leading up to street level with a box of daisies on the windowsill. The other is a close up of the daisies.

I snapped some photos and went inside to find her waiting, obviously excited. Then she took me into the garden to show me the little garden makeover surprise that she had completed while I had been away.

"Vintage" bunting hung across a white wall. Several plants in a courtyard patio An orange flower

I burst into tears. It was so lovely and such a nice reminder of how much I love my life. There were a lot of emotions bubbling to the surface, but I didn’t quite understand what they were until late this morning.

See, five years ago today is when I almost didn’t move to England.

I was all set and ready to go. I’d got my Visa, saved some money, quit my job and said goodbye to my friends and family. I was obviously a bit too comfortable with losing my belongings at that moment, because I didn’t even think twice about my wallet which I’d left sitting on the stairs at my parents’ house.

I panicked and got the airline to remove my luggage from the flight. This turned out to be an expensive error which resulted in a busy afternoon of booking a very expensive same-day flight to London that left later that evening. But I had to do it then and there, because my natural instinct to let my anxiety take control, give up, and resume living in my childhood bedroom was all too ready to take control.

Pink roses in a clay pot

So, even though Katy’s garden surprise was long in the making and only coincidentally matched up with the timing of this milestone, it reminded me of all the amazing things that I’ve experienced these last five years. And of all the amazing things I would have missed out on if I had stayed in Canada.

I already tried to write this post, but it gradually became a bit of a downer as I wrote about how at the end of the day your big adventure just becomes your ordinary life. That’s still true in a lot of ways, but it would be a disservice to myself to discount all the ways in which I have worked hard to be where I am.

Anyway, back to the garden tour. Katy’s been talking about making the garden a bit nicer since we moved here in April. The prime purpose of the garden is, of course, a space for Poppy. On Thursday, as I worked from home, she dashed off to her parents’ house to help them with some chores, and, unbeknownst to me, made a trip to the garden centre to buy plants and potting soil. Wanting it to be a surprise, she had her parents keep the things at their place, and deliver them on Friday when I was in London at the office. She worked for 6 hours to get everything planted and perfect.

Blue flowers in a pot Shiny blue pebbles in a plant pot.A rosebud Three small pinwheels A close up of purple flowers A small birdhouse

She also made a perfect vegetarian curry to greet me after the surprise, which I definitely needed after expending all of my energy on crying.

The little table in our garden was actually bought for us by my parents, who wanted us to be able to have meals and such outside while the weather is still nice! We have only two chairs out at the moment, but the set came with 4 and a parasol, so hopefully we will be able to do a bit of entertaining and use the outdoor space in a variety of weather conditions.

A glass patio table in the sun. On the table is a mug of tea and a book. Looking upward to the tops of houses, plants and a church from a courtyard garden. A close up of a mug of tea with a notebook in the background

The good news is: the wifi from the house reaches the table, too! That means I can, in theory, pop outside and do a bit of work when it’s nice. And I’m writing this blog post while sat in the sun right now!

I’ve also sent Katy to town to get bits and pieces for a barbecue. And Poppy is lounging nearby in a patch of sun. It’s really picturesque and a beyond perfect way to celebrate five years of living in my new home of England. Here’s to many more!


A small white dog sits in a doorway with a welcome mat in front of her.

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  • dad

    It is one of the best feelings to sit in your back yard (garden) with nothing to do but enjoy. I am glad everything is working out for all 3 of you.

  • Pam

    That is what I call making a house a home. What a perfect oasis to spend time in. Katy did an amazing job at creating a little slice of ahhhhhh…

  • Joan

    Ashy I cried as I read this and still am. I’m overjoyed for you. You sound so content & happy. I’m grateful Katie is in your life. She did a fabulous job on the garden. Can’t wait to see you this summer. I have saved all my hugs for you. Love ❤️ you more than you will ever understand. Stay safe & see you soon Smooches 😚 to both of you

  • Annie Wade

    Aisling, what a beautiful story. I had tears in my eyes reading this. I wish you all the best for many more years to come. I know your parents are so proud of you. All the best sweetie.

  • Marilynn Troiano

    Hi Aisling!
    Your story brought tears to my eyes. I’m so happy for you that you are doing so well and that you take the time to be thankful.
    You are a strong and courageous young woman and I know this is just the beginning of a wonderful life.
    Hugs and love!
    Marilynn Troiano