I often think that we need to be more like trees.
We should just yield in the storms, be confident enough to let go of things (like they let go of leaves in the autumn), be happy to rest in the winter months, blossom cheerfully in the spring and flourish in the summer months.
As George Bernard Shaw noted, ‘No man manages his affairs as well as a tree’.
Having worked in and with nature for nearly 40 years, I feel it has so much to teach us, and gardening in particular teaches so much more than horticulture.
We learn the importance of patience and tenacity, how to deal with disappointment and failure – and success - and of course the joys of ‘reaping what you sow’.
And talking, or typing, about trees, I have once again recycled my ‘real’ Christmas tree.
I always take my tree down between Christmas and the new year and reinstate it in the garden for the birds.
Obviously I re-dress it too. All my indoor decorations go back in the attic and I adorn it outdoors with bird feeders, fat balls and garlands of dried fruit and popcorn (no salt or sugar please) for the birds to enjoy.
Other food you can share with them include cold cooked Brussels, parsnips, carrots and potatoes but don’t put out more than will be eaten in one day, otherwise you run the risk of attracting rats.
Cooked or uncooked pastry is a favourite, especially if it has been made with real fats and hard bits of cheese will be enjoyed by your feathered friends, but please don’t feed them very strong or blue cheeses.
Any dried fruits like raisins, sultanas and currants will also be appreciated and always share your biscuits and cake as they are high in fat and ideal energy foods for birds during the harsh winter weather.
And if you don’t have a tree to up-cycle, you can always put fruit-threaded garlands onto a large shrub or tree in the garden or even washing line.
This weekend, as well as celebrating a new year, I will be celebrating a month of being off all social media. Well, I was only ever on Facebook, but after deciding to take a break from that, I have now decided to make it permanent.
I feel so much better for it and have been surprised by just how ‘addicted’ I was, reassuring myself that ‘it was good for business’ and ‘nice to keep in touch with people’.
The truth is ‘business’ is still good. In fact I only have ‘genuine’ enquiries now as people have to make more effort to contact me, and similarly, I can still keep in touch with people – without getting involved in the mindless, time consuming scrolling that preceded or followed on Facebook.
Over Christmas I read James Acaster’s Guide to Quitting Social Media, which was humorous, astute and weird in equal measures.
I’m not sure that counts as a book review but one of the things he wrote about, I had already noticed.
All I need is a mobile phone and camera combination.
I don’t want access to the internet or social media platforms, I just want a very small easy-to-use camera and the ability to make a phone call should I ‘need’ too whilst in some of the more remote places that I work and walk.