Wakeman's news for 2007

Horseman's Hill Barn, Uplyme    Monday, 3rd December 2007

Hmm: when I started this, I couldn't really remember anything very exciting to write since last year (and by the time you get to the end of this, you may think I still can't!). No major family achievements, no holidays, no interesting new cars or pastimes to report. I did go to Germany for a couple of days on business, and also odd trips to Swindon and Salisbury for work - hardly earth-shattering though.

In fact, today was moderately exciting in our quiet country way: my neighbours rang the doorbell at 7:30 this morning to say that one of the five trees down our drive (50 foot beeches) had blown down in the night, and did we have a chainsaw. So, most of today was spent cutting, carting and burning wood: after a relaxing hot bath I now feel righteously tired! One of my favourite local photo spots ruined though: one is now like a rotting stump of tooth in a nice smile.

For me, the best thing is that Pete finished a wonderful pottery for me in a wooden building in the garden - which is the envy of all my potting friends and has made it so much easier and more comfortable to make my ceramic animals and birds. A good thing, as they are selling well and I find it hard to keep up with demand. I took on two new locations this year: a shop in Alresford, and a craft centre in Wimborne.

The photography has rather been on the back burner apart from a couple of trips to Dartmoor and a local nature reserve where there were about 6 acres of foxgloves: a stunning sight to behold. I've also done a few hedgerow shots that might be used in a River Cottage book of preserves - but I am not sure how many.

Pete still has a list of jobs as long as his arm about the place: he has done a lot of the preparation for solar water heating he will install next spring as well as starting on refurbishing the bathroom (but not finishing it - a job for next year!) He has also discovered the joys of baking - so we have a lovely home-made fruitcake every week: his plum cake is a real corker.

It's been all change in our little settlement here at Hill Farm. My good friend and neighbour Mary died in August after a long struggle with cancer - I miss her very much. Her burial in the village churchyard was memorable - she was played in by a Jazz band to the strains of the Basin Street Blues. A few weeks before that our other neighbours - who've been here 20 years - moved a few miles away. But their replacements are a lovely family, so we are very lucky.

Sam and Leonie continue their busy lives in Bath and Manchester respectively: both are financially as well as personally independent - which is a Good Thing and quite an achievement these days. They are both coming home for Christmas - the first time we've all been together since this time last year. I'm really looking forward to that.

Mum's still keeping busy too - I think she has a much fuller timetable of social events than I do. WI, delivering library books to housebound people, helping at a charity shop, painting classes, Arthritis Care meetings, local health walks - the list goes on. Makes my pottery classes, and monthly Ladies' Group meetings, look rather weedy by comparison. One of my occupations - looking after the pony, stopped in the summer - one of Leonie's friends is looking after him and doing a wonderful job. I do miss seeing him every day - but not having to be here at dusk every day has been extremely convenient, I have to say. He has a Shetland girlfriend called Holly - how sweet!

Oh well - that's about it! I hope your year has been an exciting and interesting as you wanted it to be!

Lois  x x x x