We might live a long way from our neighbours, and it's more than 20 minutes' drive to our nearest town, but in the quiet of this, the night before Christmas, we bask in the joy that is not restricted by geography, nor time.
In the coming days, I hope to have the chance to pause: to reflect on the love of family and friends; the joy of good food and wine; the excitement as gifts are opened and the bleaching and brightening of our landscape in summer.
This year has not been without its challenges. Most recently, heavy rains caused my Genebank seeds to swell and split before they had the chance to emerge. I have learned, though, that these setbacks are inevitable. If I had more experience, I would have reserved some of the seeds for a second planting over the following weeks.
Happily, my Strawberry, Mini Italian Blue and Ontos Oval seeds have transformed into vigorous and beautiful young plants. Perhaps it was the protective influence of Father Christmas?
And now, all through the house, not a creature is stirring. I wish you and those you love every possible happiness this Christmas, and all through the coming year. I'll take a couple of weeks away from writing now, and will look forward to returning again in 2018.