I'm sitting here alone in my house tonight with a glass of Kentish white wine and a frittata, made with vegetables from a neighbour's garden. I bartered the vegetables for a pot of the marmalade I make every January, a popular present. Yesterday afternoon was spent sitting in the garden of another neighbour in the village, together with the latest additions to the next generation. Tomorrow my next door neighbour and I are planning a blackberrying expedition in the country lanes that surround the village.
Today was spent sorting out the garden, a new challenge for me after years of living in rented houses. It is a continual puzzle to me, what should go, what to keep, what will thrive and where. There have been some successes and some ignominious failures. I am currently trying to work out what to grow beside my pink climbing rose, now planted in the courtyard outside the kitchen - should it be cat mint, lavender or a deep blue Hebe? And what will do best in the very dry corner of the bed by the front door when the Cosmos has finished? I'm tempted by a deep red lavatera framing the herbs - the silver thyme I planted there is spreading itself very nicely indeed. There is so much more to do, so many plans to make, but it's been a good first year and I'm enjoying myself, rootling around deep in the Suffolk soil. It certainly keeps me grounded.