So far, most people are in favour of the project, but on the way to my friend’s house, I got stopped for half an hour by a couple who were against it. I went over the plans with them and we discussed how if the project went ahead despite their feelings, things could be done differently to make them as comfortable as possible. Their house looks onto the plot of land and they say they paid extra for the view. Fair enough. They weren’t angry with me, and I didn’t give them any reason to be. It’s hard to be angry with someone who’s smiling and quite happy to talk to you, and as I pointed out, I’m just a gardener. With any luck I will be working on the project, but it’s my friend who’s the boss and who does all the paperwork. I’m a minion, and not in charge of anything. I assured them I’d tell my friend all their concerns and ask her to email them. I showed them a plan of the area from my backpack so they could see what the garden might look like.
We spent a few hours going around houses and flats asking people what they thought about the planned community garden.
Every door we knocked on was different. There was a boy in a dressing-gown looking poorly whose parents were out and he didn’t want to talk to us. Someone ranted passionately for twenty minutes against putting a fence around the site, so we decided not to have a fence. A woman kindly invited us into the warmth of her flat to sit on her couch and discuss the plan. Her huge St. Bernard dog gazed into my face with big soulful eyes, while he sat on my friend’s foot. Another woman invited us in to see the lovely flat she’d just redecorated. And a man stuck his head and bare shoulders around the door, and said “This is not a good time”.
Talking to the public was not as scary as I thought. Although working in a pair helped me feel more confident, my hearing wasn’t too much of an issue.