My earliest memory is of lying in my pram looking up at two very tall conifers wafting against the sky. My mother used to put me outside in all weathers and, as I grew, I spent a lot of time in our garden, making the shady space underneath the broad sweep of those lower conifer branches into a little house, or cycling around the lawn on my bicycle, bouncing a ball against a wall, playing with our dogs; the adventures were endless. When I look back over my life, then and since, many of the happiest pictures which come to mind are from being outside.
My father fostered in me a love of gardening. I had a small semi-circular patch of earth at the edge of the vegetable garden. It was backed by a privet hedge and a tall, lanky, pear tree. Here I could plant exactly what I wanted. I still love my garden and feel my father's hand on my shoulder, his voice in my ear as I decide on which vegetables and plants to grow.
Last year life was hectic. Despite finally getting a greenhouse, planting some long-awaited autumn fruiting raspberries and being really pleased with my broad bean crop, I didn't get outside enough. Looking back, my life lost a degree of balance. There were friends and family who I didn't see as much as I would have liked. Too many things were done in a rush. There just didn't seem to be enough time to go around. So my resolution for 2014 is to try and restore some balance to my life. I am going to begin by getting outside more. Hopefully my garden, my friends and family, my writing and my whole life will benefit.
Thank-you for reading and wishing everyone health, wealth, love, luck and happiness for 2014.