One afternoon late November 2013 the phone rings
“Hello – is that Claire Estick” ?
“Ummm Yes” I replay tentatively – who is this please ?
“Hi my name is Thea from Spun Gold TV. We make the show Love Your Garden with Alan Tichmarsh you have been nominated by your friend Andrea for a Garden Make over. Do you have a few minutes to talk to me about the Daniel Estick Trust, your story and your garden “
Warning alarm goes off in my head !! Who? …what nomination? …., Alan Tichmarsh…., TV show… why do you want to talk to me ? I’m just a normal mum who lives in Woburn Sands and currently has a very neglected garden… (Oh NO..I hope they haven’t seen any pictures….) THIS MUST BE A HOAX.
“Yes of course what would you like to know …” and the adventure begins. More phone calls are had, a couple of visits from the TV production company to our very neglected garden happen, things are measured, pictures taken, shrubs and trees discussed. At each meeting or phone call we hear that we are through to the next stage, until finally we are told – you have made the final 16 families where we will now chose 8 to receive a garden makeover.
On leaving that day Thea says “We hope to be in touch sometime in the middle of April to let you know if you are successful.”
“Great” I say – “Thanks for listening to our story, we will wait to hear from you. Goodbye” and that’s it.. so I think. What a nice bunch of people. It was fun while it lasted, but I’m sure there are plenty of other more worthy candidates nominated, we will probably never hear from them again.
It all goes quiet.
One Friday morning, early April, just before I leave for work the doorbell rings. Who is that ? I think, I’m not expecting the postman to knock. I open the door and can’t speak! No postman greats me today, its Alan Titchmarsh, 2 camera crews, people holding sound booms with headphones on and in the back ground Thea grinning from ear to ear.
“Good morning Claire. I understand your garden is in need of a bit of TLC ” Says Alan.
I still can’t talk, all I can think is Alan Tichmarsh knows my name !… He’s on my door step..he knows where I live…. He’s going to want to come in… is the house tidy ? … Oh no the garden is a mess… ARRRGH I’ve just hung my underwear on the washing line to dry.
And that’s the beginning of the end of my all lawn garden, strewn with kids play things, a greenhouse that had seen better days and the recycled dining table and chairs that to say the least had a bit of a wobble to them.
After running out and retrieving the washing from the line before Alan walks into it, and Ian makes small talk with Alan and the crew we all go out to the garden take a tour and all agree it needs a bit of loving and could do with a bit of help.
“Right” – says Alan “how about you head off for a few days and leave us to it”
So we leave, and the diggers and crew move in. Over the next 5 days the garden is stripped of nearly everything. Hedges gone !, Climbing frame and swing set , gone ! Apple tree that has been in the garden for over 50 years, gone ! Grass , gone!
You can see the full transformation on the ITV iPlayer