Happy New Year, everyone! Welcome to 2016. I wonder what Mother Nature will throw at us this year. 2015 was a very difficult year for gardeners here in the UK. There was practically no Summer at all, an exceptionally mild Autumn and December was the wettest month for ages. It's ironic that knowing our poor record in regard to water conservation, there will probably be a hose-pipe ban in force by about Easter!
Yesterday (December 31st) I noticed this:
Yes, that's right, Asparagus putting up spears already! This shouldn't happen until April. As it happens, that Asparagus plant's days are numbered anyway, because I plan to make some big changes in my garden this coming year, some of which will affect the Asparagus.
So what are my plans for 2016? Well, the first one is to build some more of the new deep raised beds, like the ones I built in 2015.
I'm not yet sure how many I am going to do. Ideally, it should be four, because the old beds are sorely in need of replacing:
However, it may be that some of them have to wait a bit longer, because other plans are afoot, which will affect availability of time and finances...
Maybe this is the time to announce that I am retiring (permanently) from work at the end of March. One of the reasons for this is that I have been finding the physical requirements of my job too demanding. Some of you will know that I have Fibromyalgia, and this gives me lots of problems, like pain in muscles and joints, and chronic profound fatigue, not to mention the psychological symptoms like increased anxiety levels and nervous tension. My job as a IT Service Management lecturer involves long periods of standing up and talking, and the Fibromyalgia just makes it harder than ever. Although I am not yet officially of retiring age, I have decided that it is inappropriate to change to a new profession at my time of life, and I will therefore be "calling it a day", as the saying goes. To be honest, I will be glad to be shot of the early morning starts, the days spent away from home in hotels, and the constant feeling of being "under the microscope" that my job entails.
So, plans are in train for a complete change of routine! Apart from aiming to devote more time to the garden, I also want to devote more time to the family. We have four grandchildren now, and one of our plans is to convert my "study" room into a children's guest bedroom, equipped with a set of bunk beds, so that the kids can come and stay with us occasionally. As long as finances permit, I also look forward to days out with the grandchildren during school holidays.
Finances of course are a big factor in most people's lives, ours included, and with no income from employment any more we are going to have to think more carefully about money. Of course I have some pensions to fall back on, but my income will be halved from now on, so we'll inevitably have to make some adjustments to our lifestyle. It will become even more important than ever for Jane to keep on entering and winning the competitions that she is so good at! How else will be we able to afford a foreign holiday??
However, despite what I have said above, I'm still planning on winning £20 Million on the National Lottery, buying a big stone-built farmhouse in the countryside (with a couple of acres of land, a walled garden and an orchard, naturally!), hiring a staff of gardening "slaves" and putting my feet up. There's no harm in dreaming, is there...?