I have no idea why I wrote that title, possibly because I lived and worked in Newbury at the very start of my career, and because I love the alliteration. It does sound rather better than "knackered of sunny Derbyshire."
I've finished the garden renovations of my not-so-new favourite clients. It's nearly killed me. 18 months ago we hired some tree fellas to do some radical thinning out of an overgrown and potentially dangerous copse together with the removal and stump grinding of some repellent Mahonias and Rhodies swamping the front of the house. The savagery of the task and the resultant log pile was quite breath-taking. We felled several yews and you just can't imagine how wonderful this most calorific of logs smelt as it burned in our fireplaces over last Christmas. Heavenly.
As my charming, witty and erudite readers will appreciate, I've always loved a bit of horticultural overhauling, the bigger the better. It just seems to give a garden room to breathe. Light floods in, birds start swarming over the disturbed soil and suddenly we have pools of planting opportunities. At a stroke the shady side of the copse disappears and becomes sun-filled and full of potential.
We've spent most of the last year renovating the Victorian walled kitchen garden. We've restored the old glasshouse beds to something almost approaching their former glory; we've dug out old ponds and a deep well; we've set out new raised beds that make it easier for arthritic knees to reach the soil; and we've got everything in ahead of schedule. Yes really. I can't quite believe it myself. Everything sown, potted on, planted out, dug over, cuttings taken then rooted then potted on then planted out. We even have two rows of cuttings we struck last autumn from the mixed currant bushes... we're unsure what colour they'll turn out, as we were chatting too much to take much notice of the parent bushes as we worked our way round with the Felcos. No worries. We are opening the kitchen garden this spring for a fundraiser and will sell the baby bushes dug up straight from the ground.
Truly, I lead the life of Riley...