"A lot of people don’t know about the village and a lot of people who come because of other stories about it, they just fall in love with it and they stay. A lot of people come to spend their twilight years here and they enjoy where they are, because of the peace... We’re hidden at the back of Turves Green and the railway and I think perhaps the ‘hiddenness’ has helped preserve it.
Both me and my husband were good gardeners… or thought we were. So we registered with the guys on the allotment and managed to secure one that was right down the bottom, but we could see the house from it. We grew all sorts of different vegetables, carrots and peas and beans of every description. The vegetables we grew were far in excess of what we needed as a young family, so some would be taken into work. The only problem being, people did not appreciate organic food, that’s bit knobbly and been eaten slightly by the slugs. Well you wash it, and you peel it. It’s not all prepacked from the allotment."
Hazel moved to The Austin Village with her husband and two children in 1984. Keen gardeners, they immediately took on an allotment plot on the Coney Green Allotments, which Hazel's brick house backs onto. They continued to grow their own fruit and vegetables for over thirty years, until her husband's death. She has now downsized to her back garden, but still enjoys the tranquillity the allotments provide.
Hazel has volunteered on the Built to Last project and has a particular interest in collecting the stories of other residents.