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Summer 2022

You know when close your eyes, turn to the sky and feel the sun on your face? Arguably, it’s the best thing in the world. Or at least one of the best things. While I’m sure that if I had a super-yacht and a beach house in Malibu, I’d think they were pretty special, I do hold that the simple things are hard to beat. I bet you have your favourites – my list is pretty long…

The first baby baa of lambing season – it’s a shrill sound, but when you hear it, you know what else is coming. That’s right, the first boing of lambing season.

The tiny drips of moisture that seedlings catch – I like a foxglove for many reasons, but I especially like when they’re tiny and cleverly catch glistening droplets of water on their leaves.

Spotting something unusual – once, years ago, I saw an eagle from the top of the Wallace monument in Stirling. I still go on about it. Almost as excitingly, a snipe visited my garden the other day. That’s something new to go on about.

Eating a pea straight out of the pod – when the peas come out, the greenhouse is nature’s sweetie shop. There never seem to be quite enough for a meal, so furtive grazing while no one’s watching is the way forward. Just remember to conceal the pods carefully.

Moisturising your hands with fresh lanolin – folding the fleeces after shearing is a backbreaking task, but it does leave you with remarkably smooth and hydrated hands. Even if they do smell a bit sheepy.

Saying ‘breaker, breaker’ over the walkie and finding it hilarious – I’ll admit I have the sense of humour of a toddler. Sometimes a teenage boy. While walkie talkies are eminently practical on the smallholding, they’re also an enormous source of fun for a woman who doesn’t get out much.

Watching the puppy meet a hedgehog – the hedgehog wasn’t much bothered. The puppy’s little doggy mind was officially blown.

The first tomato on the plant – it shouldn’t be surprising that tomatoes grow on tomato plants, but every year I make a very uncool ‘woo-hoo’ noise when I spot the first miniscule fruit.

A cocktail made with mint grown right over there – I wouldn’t say I have the most successful relationship with herbs, but mint isn’t exactly challenging. Plucking a few sprigs from the plant, breathing in their zingy scent and stirring them into a freshly poured Pimms makes a perfect end to a summer’s day.

Very early mornings, when everything else is asleep – I’ve always been a lark, enjoying creeping out of bed extra-early to see what the day holds. In the winter, the joy’s in hearing the first chirp of a blackbird. In the summer, it’s dewy cobwebs and low fog lifting with the sunrise.

Neatly stacked straw – all feels right in the world when the straw bales are neatly criss-crossed. It’s a delight that goes hand in hand with the I-could-rub-my-face-in-it smell of fresh hay. 

Pleasant surprises of the plant variety – having inherited a flower border, I’m often surprised by something unexpected popping up. There’s a very show-offy peony out there at the minute. Other things I’ve planted myself also come as a revelation, thanks to a puppy who fastidiously removes all plant labels.

Achy muscles – sitting at a desk results in the wrong kind of aches and pains. Turning the veg patch, cutting the grass or clearing the barn gives you the kind of pleasing exhaustion that makes you go ‘oof’ followed by ‘ahh’ when you slump down at the end of the day.   

Simple Pleasures: Work
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