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