I look round my garden, loving so many things in it yet aware of mortality. Paradise is said to be a garden. In my garden last weekend I enjoyed a merry game of croquet in the sun, with my granddaughter, aged seven. That was happiness. The afternoon ended with fish and chips, not exactly a Sunday roast but utter fun.
I look round my garden and there are happy memories everywhere. As for unhappy memories, I try to let them go. Today an old colleague told me of a funeral he had attended, of a senior member of the organisation I worked for most of my life. I have mixed memories of some of the people who attended that funeral, former colleagues. There was one person there who, in his time, was a downright bully. He will have been driven by instincts and experiences of which he could not be master. I feared his phone calls but by now I can sympathise with his humanity.
Others who attended somehow managed to ride the waves of office politics and had been on good terms with everyone. I did not know about the funeral but I would not have attended, only because of the distance involved. The person they mourned was never someone I felt comfortable with, but he did me one immensely good turn in my career, such as it was.
We all worked for the same set up, the same organisation, which was and is a credit to British journalism. Meanwhile, as I sat in my garden last night, I listed all the plants which carry echoes of my family’s past. I’ll mention just one of them here: a pot of wild irises, in bloom again now, their yellow flowers visited by several bees. These plants originated in South Devon, 38 years ago, the county of my birth, and in my mind an image of paradise if ever there was one.
Oh, and I must add to the list our two mulberry trees, grown from fruit of a tree which found its way eventually from the mulberry in William Shakespeare’s garden in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England.