O.K., it’s not a famous quote , that I know of ,but it does well enough to explain my recent events.

My birthday, as you must know by now, is the day before Christmas Eve, the 23rd. That means I generally either get last minute gifts plucked from the seasonally inspired ranges available, or something in the middle of Summer because it’ll be more useful then. Sitting opening cards with the vocal reminder that ‘Remember we got you that trowel set/greenhouse/bike for your birthday in June/August/May’ isn’t quite the same as unwrapping amusingly pointless novelties on the day itself, but the idea was full of good intent and very helpful at the time.

This year, as if to remind me of my faults, I received a thick tome entitled ‘1001 Beers To Try Before You Die’ as a random gift three weeks early because my lovely wife had spotted it while shopping. It’s a great read, a little bit akin to a Train Spotting Guide book for alcoholics and I can rightly claim to have already tried 30+ before opening it.

In balance, I also had a Starbucks gift set of a large mug, coffee and hot chocolate plus a small glass chocolate powder shaker from one offspring and a Whittards of Chelsea coffee collection consisting of nine different coffee blends, each with a potted description and history from my eldest and his future wife. My daughter and son in law however, hit top form with a case come Bluetooth keyboard for my tablet and a brace of seasonal beers, tying in neatly my online obsession with my C.A.M.R.A. membership (renewed by my wife as a Christmas gift)

It’s seems petty to complain so I won’t but I am lucky in the sense that I am old enough to have survived to a ripe old age and birthdays merely serve as a reminder that I’ve managed to avoid death for another year but for my new grandson, celebrating  his first birthday on Christmas day itself, it may be a confusing issues for a while yet.

So, having had my own character clearly defined for me, what does it say?

Did anyone think of a gardening present? Not really no. Does that mean I am no longer associated with horticulture? Again, no. It means I have all I could ask for in that area. I supplied parsnips for the big meal, which were well received by all those who ate them. I have had new garden items during the year, not as early birthday gifts but because I wanted or needed them or just because, well, because they were really nice. The thing is, I have achieved a type of karmic plateau whereby I am the garden enthusiast but all my close family have absorbed my garden love to the point that they garden themselves without thinking of it as a hobby, more as a part of life as normal as cleaning shoes or taking out the recycling bins.

My nephews send me pictures of their carrots or runner beans, my sisters compare tomato crops on my Facebook page and my daughter talk of taking her one year old to ‘Bumpy’s’ allotment as soon as he can walk, to help me plant potatoes. He has been visiting in his pram since he was allowed to leave the house.

All this tells me I have successfully achieved what my parents and grandparents did for me, I have made gardening and fresh ,home grown produce, a way of life for all my cherished ones.

That’s the Christmas present nothing can beat.

Now to tackle the rest of the population…

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