In turning out some papers at my mother's bungalow, I came across a couple of pages of badly typed text characteristic of my father. Reading the text it turns out to be the start of (I feel) a slightly romanticised version of my parents' experiences of the garden etc. on moving into my childhood home in September 1950. My father must have written it in 1967. I've tidied the text up and am reproducing it here for posterity, should he be interested.
When we moved to Waltham Cross in September 1950 it was like moving to the country. After living in a flat in Camden Town, it was wonderful to be able to walk out of the house into the garden, although it had been neglected for more than 6 months.
I resolved to keep (some sort of) an account of the wildlife that came to visit us, for although only 12 miles from London we were on the edge of the northern suburbs and open country was not far away.
Over the years this has changed. More and more people have come to live here, and during the last 8 years, since a second station was opened and the line electrified, the population has increased enormously and we are now well in the suburbs.
Our small garden, 16 feet wide by 80-100 feet long, was cut in two by a central path. Immediately outside the kitchen door there were several ramshackle sheds. And a wire fence divided the small patch of grass from the so-called kitchen garden, which contained most of the soft fruits, a very well pruned pear tree, and one enormous sunflower.
It was several years before the pear tree fruited properly, and when we found it was a Conference pear we were overjoyed. It has grown to a beautiful shape and is a joy to behold when it blooms in April. In autumn it normally sheds its leaves without much change of colour, but it sometimes surprises us and in November 196? [the year is unreadable - K] was more beautiful in gold leaf than it was in flower in spring. It held these golden leaves for several days and shed a sunny light over all the garden. Then in two days it was bare and the ground beneath was almost knee deep in gold. It is one thing I would be very sorry to leave. [See above for a painting of the pear tree by my mother - K]
During that first winter we were busy with the house and having a baby [that was me – K], and the garden was left to itself. I hung up cheese for the tits to feed on and they came to feed, lifting the cheese up to the branch on which they were standing and pecking away at it. The one enormous sunflower was a fine bird table, and tits, Wrens and Greenfinches all came to take the seeds. I was sorry when it became empty, it was such a feeding place for birds.
We made small excursions from the house and discovered that our lane led to grassy marshes bordering the River Lea. This lane is an old British track which comes from the hills of Hertfordshire. Once across the marsh there are corresponding tracks leading into the hills of Essex.
By April the weather was wonderful, and on the 26th there were swallows over the house, in the evening. On the 29th I heard a Cuckoo for the first time that year at 6 AM. There he was again the next morning at 6 AM and again at 3.45 in the afternoon. But the good weather was short lived and in May we had a second winter. In spite of this cold weather the hawthorns were in full blossom. And Yellow Deadnettle, Herb Robert and Holly were in flower in Theobalds Lane.
The summer was spent reorganising the garden. First the old sheds had to come down. Then once they were cleared and burnt, we were able to take up the central path and relay it. We decided that it should be straight at the bottom of the garden, for convenience of growing a few vegetables. But where we were going to make a lawn, a sweeping curve of crazy paving should follow the line of the flower border. This irregular border gave added interest to the long narrow garden.
We transplanted the fruit bushes to a bed between the lawn and the vegetables, and planted rambler roses along the fences. Now in the summer time when they are all in leaf, we have a green enclosure where we can relax in the sun.
In September that year  I was doing some chores at the kitchen sink when a sudden disturbance caught my ear. Looking up I saw 12 Long-Tailed Tits in the apple tree. We had only once before seen long-tailed tits and that was in a Sussex copse. I hoped they had come to stay, but in a trice they had gone. In the next January they came again, but only to pass through. In the 17 years we have been here I have seen these birds only on these two occasions.
What my father doesn't mention in this are the coldness of the house, the regularly frozen pipes in winter (and his temper in having to deal with them before going to work), hot water thanks only to an Ideal boiler, open wood (or coal) fires, keeping chickens and the wonderful acres of rose nursery opposite our house which were sadly grubbed up for housing in the late 1950s. He does, though, hint at the delightfulness of the blackcurrants and raspberries from the garden.
Quoted text (c) Robert Edward Marshall, 1967