We would leave the highway and take a turn into a country road that made its way among the gardens. Our car was moving inside the green tunnel of fruit trees. The branches of plum, apple, pear trees, and grapes were hanging over our heads, from the other side of the fences. Our garden was probably the only one that didn’t have a fence. We parked our car under a pergola, which was a 2-3-meter high structure made of eight green metal pipes and wooden planks, nailed to the pipes at an angle and at some distance from each other. Rosy-greenish grape vines twined around the planks and the pipes.
Next to the pergola there was a bonfire site – big and sharp rocks that were put together to make a low round sideboard, wide enough for a child to sit with comfort. The bonfire was usually covered with a rusty square metal sheet. It was always a bit smeared with soot and pleasantly warm in the sun.
The space near the pergola and the bonfire evolved into a small clearing that led to the wooden porch at the entrance to the house. Each of the four sides of the white brick square cottage had its own atmosphere. At the beginning of the summer season you had to walk around the house and open the shutters painted with the same paint as the porch. This simple action immediately brought back memories of the past years.
First you walk past a bench and a table under a shelter where there used to be a lathe. The place is now an open-air dining room. Then you walk past the wall which borders on the neighbouring plot. You squeeze through the narrow passage between the wall and the neighbour’s plants. The metal latch clicks and the hinges that hadn’t seen any grease since autumn squeak as you open the windows. Apart from the window panes and the shutters, there were also wooden blinds in the middle. The wall that faced the street had only one window in the attic which was a children’s bedroom. A tall apricot tree under the window screened us from the road and the opposite house.
The kitchen and the bathroom were united into a freestanding wooden block. To get here, you took a path paved with small concrete flagstones. It was pleasant to walk barefoot and feel their warmth, especially after the cold ceramic floors of the ground floor in the house.
When I was a child, we had gooseberry and currant bushes in our garden, some apple trees, and raspberry thickets. You could put a folding bed under the apple trees. There was also a weird nook where we would dump rotten apples to let them turn into fertilizer. From here you could see our neighbours’ plot with a big vegetable garden. We often said hello to each other over the mesh fence that separated our relaxed summer living and their countryside daily grind.
First memories of architecture come from childhood.