This Old Sink…

So you move into your new house and find its last owners have left you a few less than welcome surprises.

You know the surprises I mean: the washing machine – without instructions.  The manky old fridge freezer (which, bizarrely, had a telephone point behind it!). Cooked pasta twists in the kitchen sink plug hole – gross. Empty spaces in every room where the curtain poles should have been…

That was all several years ago and was all quickly resolved. But one surprise that was far more welcome was an old stone sink. It was left in the back garden at the side of an informal patio, just outside the kitchen door.

We left it there for years, planting it up as an alpine garden that we’d refresh every so often.

The surprise big move

Then we decided to move the patio so that we could build a conservatory in its place. And that meant moving the sink.

We had grand ideas of where we would reposition it. Emptied it for the convenience of the builders to move when they were ready. But none of us, not us nor the builders, anticipated how incredibly heavy it is, even empty. They managed to move it out of their way, and that was it.

It explains why it was where it was. It plainly came out of the old kitchen when the house, an old farm cottage, was modernised, way before our time there. It ended up about five feet from the back door and that’s where it’s stayed.


We still refresh it regularly. We take out all the old soil and plants. Put more broken crocks in the bottom for drainage. Infill up to about halfway with broken up polystyrene. And finally, we fill it up with fresh compost and plant a new selection of seedlings.

Sometimes we do it as an alpine garden. Just now it’s a mixed selection of alpines and perennials and provides a pretty burst of spring colour.

The house dates from 1864. I wonder how old this sink is and what stories it could tell?

Do you have a similar item in your garden? Let us know in the comments below.

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Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.