It's been a sharp and aching learning curve (my back and calves bear testament to that), but it's fun and real and fruitful!  The pile of herbs, chutney and sauces and the bottles of fruit juice pay testament and will be enjoyed for some weeks to come.

But in addition I have been surprised by my broadening of understanding about urban/rural archaeology.  As I mentioned previously I was surprised at a pathway that has quite literally been over-run by grass and ivy, but yesterday I quite literally excavated a brick corner feature.
 
My Mum tells me that this brick corner feature has been over-run for about a year - but on closer examination some of the results of that are truly impressive.  First is that the grass and weeks had over-run bricks as high as six or seven layers incredibly easy.  The front row of bricks were totally covered - to the extent that I didn't even know there was another row until I hit it with my hoe.  But then, amazing to me was the realisation that the earth, the moss, the grasses were quite literally eating the brick.  Let me say that again, so I can fully appreciate it: the wild grass, moss, ivy and more have in places eaten the brick.  The 'eating' is so real that in the case of a couple of bricks if I touch or move then then they will crumble.  Truly amazing.
 
And then I realised that where a brick had become sunken or overrun by the grass or ivy the earth had followed and the vamp of the earth had preserved the brick in a much better state of survival.  Having watched TimeTeam and Tony Robinson, Robin Bush and others, I always wondered how so much either survived or how much had disappeared.  I guess what I now understand is the capacity of the natural plant world to quite literally eat or consume bricks and more.  Some might survive, but more corrodes and corrupts and breaks up.  So I begin to understand what're might happen to a whole building if evacuated and unmaintained for 20, 30 years, even a 100 or 1,000 years.
 
And so, having grown up listening and learning from leading experimental archaeologist, Peter Connolly, I realise that what I have benefited from in doing the garden is learning about archaeology.  It has left me in the most unlikely situation indeed.  Having started croping herbs and picking up apples and pears, I find myself writing on the reality of the natural world and its' effect on man man structures.  It's such a learning curve that I'm even half regretting that I didn't pay more attention in chemistry classes at school.  (I actually found the way it was taught utterly uninspiring and my interest was nil, so any blame blame probably lies two way!)
 
So today, as I draw to an end my taming of the garden, and arrange to meet a few friends from school whom I haven't seen for decades, I'm reflecting on what I did and didn't learn ata school, enjoying my harvest and reading books on herbs, birds and soil.  And I haven't even yet sat down and tried to identify the butterflies that grace the garden - perhaps that can be tonight and tomorrow.