2018 – a new year dawns

Morning walks are a joy – and this one in the fields above the house agave me a lovely view of the valley pooled in mist. Another great joy came from feeding the birds, especially the daily visits from a flock of long-tailed tits.

Ben of ‘Wood Matters’ came with his team to chop up the fallen willow and remove a decaying branch.

But the exciting part was the removal of the fifty foot Leylandii which, if it had ever fallen, would have demolished the house. The skill involved was fascinating to behold. And what a difference it has made to the garden! We now benefit from an extra hour of sunshine.

My birthday arrived on the 22nd January and it was lovely to have a visit from Caryl, Joe and Cerys – something that never happened on Islay. It’s hard to believe I’m 77! When I was younger I thought old people felt old. Thankfully I don’t – well, not most of the time. It’s just when I look in the mirror that I get a reminder!

When I was a little girl I had a distant relation who was a nun at Stanbrook Abbey in Worcestershire. Every year, for my birthday, she used to send a few snowdrops from the abbey gardens.¬† On Islay, over the years, the ones I introduced into the garden multiplied into hundreds and I always had a few in bloom on my birthday. I knew I’d miss them when we moved so as soon as we bought number 46 in 2017 I brought some and planted them around the trees. There was no sign of them on my birthday, so Richard¬† was determined to find some for me. He checked the Flora of Shropshire and took me for a walk along the Cound Brook where we found the first ones coming into bloom. It was such a lovely walk that we went back a week later when we found them all along the brook.

By the end of the month the ones in the garden were beginning to push their tiny green spears through the grass. Hopefully they’ll soon start to multiply and with a bit of luck will bloom for my next birthday.