Bugwoman’s Sixth Annual Report Part One

The Order of Service from my Mum’s memorial service.

Dear Readers, it is the sixth anniversary of Bugwoman’s Adventures in London and, coincidentally, a year since Mum’s memorial service in Milborne St Andrew. What a year it’s been! My life has changed in all sorts of ways that I couldn’t have envisaged twelve months ago – I am now working, Dad is settled into his care home much better than I could ever have hoped, and I now have my TFL senior railcard so that I can commute to work for free. Of course, being sixty wasn’t logically surprising, but it was a bit of a shock to the system, particularly as I still feel about thirty. This year has been about being carried on in the flow of life even when I wanted to cling on to the bank. I feel like one of those trees that grows around a fence post – I won’t ever ‘get over’ the things that happened to my parents, but I might learn to accommodate them.


In February I paid a visit to the splendid Borough Gardens in Dorchester while I was visiting Dad, and was very taken by some of the trees and the immaculate grandstand. Dad often comes here when the weather is warm enough and, when I read this post, I remember how hard it was at first to come to terms with the ‘new Dad’ who had emerged since Mum died, and the dementia started to take hold.

The bandstand in Borough Gardens

I also found a new Roof Garden close to Fenchurch Street in London, where the plants were just becoming established. I must pop back in the spring to see how things have moved on.

The view from the Roof Garden

Everything really kicks off in March. The frogs get up to their usual froggie misbehaviour.

The foxes become more apparent as the days get longer…

And last year, we visited John’s Mum and Aunts in Canada. In Collingwood we spotted a beautiful trumpeter swan in amongst all the mute swans, the first time that I’d ever seen one.

Trumpeter at Wye Marsh

But when I got back to England, it was to find that I had some wildlife of my own. A heron was systematically eating all my frogs (and, as I now know, had stabbed through the lining of the pond). It was my first Mother’s Day since Mum died as well, so I was feeling in a reflective mood.

Closer to home, there was much joy to be had in East Finchley too: the community gardeners had been hard at work, and the garden centre was fully stocked.

The work of the N2 Community Gardeners at East Finchley Station

Bowles mauve perennial wallflower – in hairy pots!

And, finally, it was Mum’s interment, on a beautiful day when the air was full of the songs of robins.

Mum with her quilt

June saw a visit to Kew to see the Dale Chihuly exhibition. I had mixed feelings about some of the pieces, though I loved it overall, and it was a splendid day. It also saw Dad visited in the care home by an alpaca, which was a source of some fascination and consternation for both of them.

An Alpaca

I discovered yet another new garden, at the Crossrail station (still unopened!) at Canary Wharf. I loved that it was open to the sky so that birds and insects could get in and out.

Then, in July, it was off to Obergurgl in Austria, yet again, for our summer walking holiday. We had a very foggy walk from Hochgurgl back to the village, with sheep looming out of the mist in a most unexpected way.

Fortunately it brightened up a bit as the fortnight went on, and we had a splendid walk through the flower meadows, one of the highlights of my year.

The meadows of Obergurgl

When I got back from Austria, I went to see Dad. It was something of a bittersweet visit, as they often are, with Dad seeming calm one minute, agitated the next. But however he is, I am always so glad to see him. The way his eyes light up when he sees me, even though he doesn’t have the faintest idea who I am, melts my heart. However he is, he’s still my Dad.

Next week, we’ll have a look at the second half of the year. What a lot of ground we’ve covered!

Bugwoman and her Dad

8 thoughts on “Bugwoman’s Sixth Annual Report Part One

  1. marla mazar carr

    Lovely photos and congratulations on six years of a wonderful commitment to sharing your moments with us.

  2. Charlie Bowman

    I have never had good July weather in Obergurgl. The Piccardsaal has morphed into what I would sadly call a monstrosity; overall there was so much(too much) building work going on in Obergurgl last summer. Best.

    1. Bug Woman

      We are hoping to get back there this year, though I must say the village is really being spoiled. I guess they just want to make it a year-round destination, but it isn’t a lot of fun in the summer these days if you can’t get out into the mountains. Were you there this winter?

      1. Charlie Bowman

        No, not this winter. I am toying with returning in early July or September but despite all the hiking infrastructure and available lifts in the summer it is, for the time being at least, a winter location and will be treated as such, even if that means disrupting the peace and aesthetic pleasure of those who visit in the warmer months. The Tirol as a whole is overdeveloped and has reached its saturation point. If you aren’t already aware of the proposed Otztal-Pitztal glacier connection I urge you to do find out more(there are also some articles and links in my blog). From an environmental perspective it appears to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

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