Dear Readers, here is my belated report for August 2019 to January 2020. If all goes according to plan (and that’s a big ‘if’ at the moment) I will be on the other side of the world when this is published, gathering some new experiences to share with you all. But for today, let’s go back in time and celebrate the goings-on of last year. It started with a very wet and humid August, and on one morning I sat on my doorstep and watched the snails going about their business. I rather enjoyed just plonking down and taking the time to really breathe and notice. The time to do this was just about to get rather shorter, as I started work in September, but August was full of memories of coleus, and admiration of cardoons.
September saw a trip to Walthamstow Wetlands, where the great crested grebes were already courting. It was a great spot for Wednesday Weeds as well, with tansy and bladder campion. And as I started work in the City, I found myself on a hunt for a green space, without much initial luck.
October saw my first ever ivy bees, in the grounds of the National Archive at Kew. I found a more promising green space in the Cleary Garden in the City, and remembered how it had been a favourite spot for Mum, too. It was in the Cleary Garden that I became enamoured of the magnificent swamp cypress, too. And, on a visit to see Dad in his nursing home, I heard about his escapades as ‘Captain Tom‘, steering a boat from Weymouth to Portland. Seeing Dad so happy and excited as he told me about the trip was one of my highlights of the year.
November saw a rumination on the things that Mum taught me, and all the things that I owe to her. It would have been her 84th birthday, and I am learning that as the time goes by the grief is not as all-consuming, but there are still tender spots and emotional bruises. I suspect there always will be, and in a way I’m glad. The measure of what someone meant to us is how much we miss them when they’re gone. Life continues, but is never the same again.
I revisited the swamp cypress, and glory hallulujah, what an extraordinary sight it was.
There were Dutch elm disease-resistant elms planted in the heart of the City, and a lot of autumn beauty much closer to home in East Finchley.
And then it was January. Work was crazy, with year end and an audit to contend with. Some of the load was taken off by the loan of a trail camera, which enabled me to see exactly what went on in the garden when I wasn’t there. I had a couple of trips to cemeteries, which always cheers me up. And it gave me a chance to ruminate on almonds, which was something that I’d never considered before. Finally, it was my sixtieth birthday, which gave me a chance to wax philosophical on all manner of things.
And here, for no particular reason, is a photo of the dog fox who visited every day for a few weeks back in September. He was the most confident animal, and one day I found him sitting on the wall as if he was waiting for me to turn up. He’d have gone into the house if I’d let him. He had no fear of anything, and this was his undoing, as a few weeks after this picture was taken he was run down by a car and killed. However, there are foxes around here who look a lot like him, and I would love to think that his offspring are still trotting about, although hopefully they have a little more road sense. He was much loved in the County Roads, and was as much part of the community as some of the people. Long may his genes continue.