A gardening enthusiast who spent more than 30 years trying to grow a healthy lawn, become so frustrated at never being able to attain a decent covering of grass he dug his whole lawn up and couldn’t quite believe what the source of his decades long woe actually was.
Jim Clark’s garden is the size of three tennis courts, which is big but not unmanageable, and because the 62-year-old Brit from Bedlington, Northumberland, is something of a green-fingered warrior he has always relished the challenge of growing and cultivating a picturesque garden.
For 33 years, Jim reaped and sowed, preened and potted, cut and trimmed and mowed and sprinkled, but try as he might, he just couldn’t his lawn to look anything other than scraggly.
For Jim, the lush firmness, healthy lustre, and seductive neatness of the golf greens were but an elusive dream. As the bike shop owner explained to Yahoo! News, his green ambitions were always thwarted in the end by grass that ended up brown and dry no matter how much love he lavished upon it.
“I’ve been trying everything to get the grass to grow in that area for three decades – putting down turf, new seed, fertiliser, leaving the hose pipe running for three hours to soak the grass – but it’s always been brown and dry.”
And then one day, Jim decided enough was enough. There had to be something beneath the earth that was preventing him from having the lawn of his dreams. Keen to tackle his problem head on, the angry gardener and father of two picked up his shovel and went to war.
“I just decided I was going to tackle it. I thought I would find all sorts of rubble underneath the grass. I’d dug down when I came across some clay so I thought I’d dig that up too. I kept digging down, and about 13-14 inches I was still going. I didn’t really know what to think, it was strange. Then all of a sudden, the spade hit something.”
And to Jim’s eventual shock, the ‘something’ his spade had stuck and which had robbed him of a lawn with bragging rights all these long years, was a World War II air raid shelter.
The heavy duty concrete bunker designed to withstand heavy Nazi bombing, had been built by the house’s previous occupant, an eccentric called William Hall.
Old William was head surveyor at Bedlington Urban District Council, and until an MP stepped in to stop it, he even had plans to build two graves for himself and his wife in what is now Jim’s garden.
As for Jim he was just relieved that it wan’t his own inadequacies as a gardener which was preventing him for cultivating the perfect lawn, but an underground air raid shelter.
“When the spade hit something and I heard a metal sound. It was the cast iron roof of the shelter. To be honest it just about broke my hand, the force of it. That was when the penny dropped.
“I’m just glad to get to the bottom of it after all this time. My wife came out and I’d unearthed this air raid shelter. She couldn’t believe it, she thinks I’m crazy. It’s fully intact, and it was built by the people who lived here before us.
“The roof and everything is there. The entrance is blocked up and we’ve broken in from the top. It’s not every day you uncover something like this from the Second World War.”
The three decades of misery and frustration which stemmed from having a scraggly lawn have all but disappeared for Jim who remains spellbound by the quality workmanship which went into the creation of the air raid shelter.
“The shelter is made with top quality building materials. The brick is first class, a really super job.”
[Image Via Yahoo! News]