The last six weeks have been a bittersweet period. I shan’t bore you with the details of what has been, at times, a very dark and difficult phase, but in even the murkiest depths everything has been laced with nuggets of light and happiness.

Listing them is a bit trainspotterish, but I’m too fatigued to come up with a clever mode of presentation. So in no particular order:

i) Getting on with the research for my book and finding the first chapter taking shape exactly as I imagined it. In the last week I have got a professional illustrator involved and there is a publisher who may be interested.

ii) The arrival of a complimentary copy of Mark Diacono’s excellent new book (review to follow).

iii) Little Boots announcing “I know this song” on hearing The Kings of Leon on the radio, and then launching into “Whooooaaah, My Socks are on Fire!”

iv) Buying an illustration of Beverley Nichols’ cottage ‘Allways’, from his book “The Thatched Roof”, for my little collection of pictures with a loose horticultural theme.

v) Reading some of the articles in The Garden Design Journal’s October issue on trees and realising that I could do a better job. This is not meant to sound big-headed, but I often undervalue my knowledge and abilities, and I need to stop that. And the articles were at best pedestrian.

vi) Receiving the final two results that mean I now hold the RHS Advanced Certificate, and two long unnecessarily hard years are over.

vii) Winning £113M on the Euromillions, but misplacing the ticket.

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