Silent Sundays: should we swap our lawnmowers, leaf blowers and power tools for peace?

Gardener and broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh is calling for hush, so at least once a week he can listen to a blackbird rather than a Black & Decker

Name: Quiet Sundays.

Age: Ancient. Some say since the very beginning … as the passage from the King James, rather than the Phil Collins, version of Genesis puts it: “On the seventh day God ended his work which he had made: and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it …”

What about Sundays? They are too loud.

Says who? Says Alan Titchmarsh.

The gardener? Also broadcaster, writer, novelist, decking enthusiast, bellringer, proud Yorkshireman, resident of Hampshire and Christian, as it happens. But, yes, we are talking about gardens, as well as Sundays.

A good day to mow the lawn? Titchmarsh says not. Unless you are doing it with a flock of sheep, perhaps. He has called for us to down tools – power tools specifically – on Sundays.

For religious reasons? He says he is not evangelising, just calling for some hush. Writing in Gardeners’ World magazine, he said he believes “profoundly there should be at least one day in the week when we could go out into our gardens and experience a bit of quiet”.

So that we can appreciate all the other stuff He made, back in the beginning – the trees, the herb-bearing seeds, the winged fowl and all that? Exactly! “I want to listen to the birds singing,” Titchmarsh wrote. “And hear the wind rustling the leaves of the horse chestnut across the garden, the splash of a duck landing on our wildlife pond, the cluck of a moorhen darting across the lily pads and the laughter of grandchildren.”

… as they kick a football against the wall, incessantly. And the wail of a police siren, the screech of a car alarm … Yes, it’s possible others have different living arrangements – not everyone has a duck pond, or lily pads. But, once a week, he just wants a bit of peace, with no noisy machinery. That’s not a lot to ask, is it?

What if it is the only day I can mow the lawn, or trim the hedge, because of work? “Please do so between the hours of 9am and 6pm,” says Titchmarsh. “So that I can sip my early morning tea in silence and enjoy my sundowner to the accompaniment of the blackbird, rather than the Black & Decker.”

The jackdaw rather than the hacksaw … Maybe leave the poetry to Titch, eh?

Do say: “Hark! A mistle thrush, methinks.”


The GuardianTramp

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