Good morning to those of you in the US–I’m in Knutsford, Chesire, UK, and it’s afternoon here, but since most of my readers are five hours behind, I’ll accommodate your greeting preferences.
I am here to tell you a short story today. I heard this story while on a Beatles-themed electric bike tour in Liverpool on Sunday. I have not checked the veracity of this story, and I’m not sure if I will–I have no reason to distrust the tour guide who told it, and besides, I like the story, even if there should turn out to be an element of urban myth to it. The story goes as follows: In Sefton Park, one of Liverpool’s many green spaces, there is a lovely Victorian conservatory called the Palm House. It took a beating during the bombings of World War II, and when the future Beatles were growing up, though it was forlorn, dilapidated structure, plants still grew in it, and young George Harrison used to sneak in through the broken glass and look at the plants. (There’s a lot of trespassing in Beatles childhood lore.) It was here that he developed his alleged lifelong love of gardening, which, as a contemplative practice, makes perfect sense to me as a George Harrison pastime.
Many years later, in the late 1990s, a fund drive was undertaken to restore the Palm House. When the fundraisers approached Harrison to ask for a sizeable donation, he wrote a check to cover the entire amount. And today, the Palm House is restored to its former splendor and the site of city events like the choral concert we heard a bit of on Sunday.
I love this story, I love plants, and I love George Harrison. That’s all for today.