Wrapping up the year 2022

What better use of the end of year limbo (aka the Christmas break) than a quick backward look?

Five education secretaries 

Four chancellors 

Three prime ministers 

Two Tory leadership coups 

And one massive omnishambles in a pear tree 

Oh, and I almost forgot. The Queen died. 2022 has been quite the year 

John Crace in the Guardian… Here’s a few more domestic and happier goings-on from each month – in reverse order:


Well – Christmas, of course, celebrated in several places (and several ways) but inevitably including an atmospheric winter walk

and World Cup football played in searing heat plus a final watched as a family (though Sam was also writing his book) followed by triple Test match wins for England making the inevitable sick days-off-school much more bearable

While the winters finally arrives and UK suffers fiercely cold weather and a simultaneous energy crisis


The unnaturally warm weather continued long after half term alternating with torrential downpours, making the autumn clearing up of the garden almost impossible. The seated statue of Virginia Wolf finally made it to Richmond riverbank, unveiled on 16 November, the work of Laury Dizengremel; and Luke celebrated his last birthday in single figures


Was of course Venice…. Where we were enjoying the Biennale and La Fenice, while the UK suffered the chaos of Liz Truss’s departure and another scramble for power. And we had our own theatrical musical and home-based artistic displays


We were in Italy when the Queen died.

More cheerfully, Olive’s and Hugh’s birthday and a fiftieth wedding anniversary party


A series of birthdays starting with Ernest’s, onto Rachel’s and Lucy’s and mine


David’s birthday tastings, and a difficult journey North to catch sight of an albatross at Flamborough, and a sister; and to meet an old school friend in Scarborough, 100 yards from where we both grew up in the 60s… a successful sports day when Olive swept the board; the new turf settling down, and a fleeting visit for the busy cricket coach to family holidaying in Brecon Beacons

I mustn’t forget our etymology moment: an Elephant Hawkmouth expired in the greenhouse. Fantastic view of its colouring


The garden loved the sun and and looked glorious – before the heatwaves set in…and subsequent drought….


A very busy month, climaxing in Cyprus for Joanna and Rob’s wedding at the Minthis Golf resort, north of Paphos

And with lots of other things going on, from making friends with Juno, and visiting Grateley’s Project Workshops

As well as another fortnight in Piemonte, hunting down some pretty obscure vineyards in spectacular places


Golf has really caught on ! And a visit to Bourneville could hardly fail during the Easter holidays

Meanwhile we had a few days in Peschiera del Garda, where the high winds impacted both on our cycle ride on the banks of the river Orcia and the small lakeside harbour. We travelled each day by train in and out of Verona for the VinItaly wine fair.


The month started well, with regular weekend family swims, watching the changing flora in the nearby woodland. I succumbed to covid on the 16th; but enjoyed friendly visitors and recovered in time to sub for Lucy as family rep at the end of term performance


Dreadful stormy wet weather dominated this month, and meant that some of the planned projects slipped into March… but the pollarding of the trees on the river bank, the new compost bin and the new decking all got underway

The occasional dry, clear days made the bare and stripped countryside seem stunning, and rewarded winter walks around Danebury, and Bury Hill, and even the local football pitch. Meanwhile the frost took its toll on the garden…


Winter occupations – swimming successes, and zooms with COTE (Choir of the Earth)’s musical director Ben England; parents and children enjoying winter playgrounds, and new friends: Puff and Sandy move into Alresford..

Finally, what better way to demonstrate what can be achieved in a year ( less than a year – 11 months to be precise) ?
The first photo below (LHS) was taken on the bright and sunny 30 January 2022 of three newly – and savagely – pollarded trees on a path near the house. The other was taken today – a very wet and dull 30 December 2022: here’s to really sustainable growth !

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