Changing landscape

A few weeks ago I was mowing the grass in the back garden and noticed that a little willow tree which was planted before we ever moved in, was trailing its branches on the ground. I was initially amazed by the growth, but then realised that it hadn’t actually grown at all. The trunk was completely broken and the whole tree was about to collapse. Once I’d removed it, of course it opened up a whole new space in the corner of the garden. In those short few weeks, new shoots have sprouted, plants have started to grow around the base of the trunk and branches from nearby trees are reaching into the new space. The landscape of the garden has changed.

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In our community recently, there have been quite a few structural changes. A couple of redundant police stations have been demolished to make way for new housing and commercial developments, vacant plots are slowly but surely growing new buildings, our neighbours are building extensions. I wonder what Tony would say about these new developments. He would be fascinated to know what was going on and who the builders were and of course he would have an expert opinion on the progress!

The physical landscape around us is always changing, sometimes imperceptibly, sometimes very obviously. And so it is with our lives. From dramatic and traumatic to the barely noticeable, life takes on a new skyline. The sunrise is framed in a new way. But the sun rises all the same. We encounter new obstacles on our path which invite decisions to be made. Climb over? Skirt around? Get help? Sit and rest awhile? Sometimes this is all just overwhelming. Sometimes it is a welcome change to the predictable. Sometimes it is our own making. Sometimes it is all beyond our control. But almost without a doubt, at some point, new shoots will sprout, branches will reach into the space and the bare ground will begin to show fresh green shades of new life. For that I am very grateful.


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I will never forget our little willow tree. It has stood and watched us play, swing, weed, laugh and cry over the years. I am sad that it has gone, but I watch the empty space with hopeful anticipation of new things.


Leaving home. Going home.

It’s quiet. Oh, so quiet. No voices calling for me, no guitar playing, no continually repeatedguitar movie dialogues, no lengthy exchanges about the fact that it’s time to get dressed/eat dinner/turn off/go out/come back/go to bed. I can hear myself thinking. It’s wonderfully strange and strangely wonderful. I have left them all at home and flown to my other home to visit Mum (and Dad, but Mum’s the patient with the broken wrist.)

In my quiet thinking time I have wondered how they will survive without me being there to organise them, mediate and feed them. In my quiet thinking time I have told myself not to worry. In my quiet thinking time I received an email from the boy to say that (while I was still on the way, on the plane) they had been locked out of the house and he’d had to ‘break in’ and save the day! Reward – £5! Mmmmmmm, feeling the anxiety climbing.

As much as I love my work uniform I didn’t really want to wear it on the way over, so got changed before I left. That’s when I discovered that my water bottle had leaked into my ‘change of clothes’ bag. There was no option. I flew damp.

I’m not a happy fly-er at all, but with my last minute ticket I’d been allocated 29E which was the very back row. Hemmed in by two sleepers, head down in my Good Food magazine, I enjoyed the happiest flying in a very long time. Anyone else find the back of the plane is better? I’m choosing back seats next time.

My friend Claire had kindly agreed to pick me up and so I waited outside the airport along with several other fellow fly-ers. Sure enough, a car pulled up with Claire’s hubby Jon driving. He smiled, I smiled. AND waved. AND leant to open the door.It wasn’t Jon! Embarrassed laughter. Obvious but pointless explanations.


Home, the one I’m returning to, has been famous throughout the centuries for a whole number of reasons. From martyrs to incapacity benefit fraudsters, from being voted the most boring town in the UK to now being the home of TOWIE!

Brentwood has been home for my mum for her entire life (coming up 82 years) and she is a mine of information on its history and has been interviewed by newspapers, local radio and a local author, all gleaning facts from her memories. She’s resting now with her broken arm on a pillow, but fortunately her fingers are wiggling enough to text!

Having home far away from home would leave me feeling pretty helpless in a situation like this, so I’m very thankful I was able to get over this weekend, see my sister in amongst all her own busyness and cook up a few meals for Mum and Dad’s freezer.

I have enjoyed the quiet, I must confess, punctuated by incoming texts from Katy, keeping me up to date! I am relishing each hour of it. But, equally looking forward to hearing their voices soon.

And my clothes are nice and dry for tonight’s flight back home again.