Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Travel Plans

Before long this blog is going to turn into a travel blog!

Having had a really busy year in 2010, I had earmarked January 2011 as a month to take a few weeks holiday. I am up for adventure.

I recently spoke to some friends who are going to Thailand (again) for the new year. I have become quite spontaneous with my holidays abroad, booking flights and throwing things into my suitcase at the last minute. I feel this will be one of those spontaneous moments.

How could one fail to be impressed?

I am keen to hear from any bloggers that have travelled around Thailand, places to see and go, how to get around, where to stay, where to avoid, where to stay longer etc..

I've found to my delight, that it's now the cool season, so a perfect time to visit! Whilst the UK freezes, meaning the airports are at a standstill, I am risking getting swept up in the chaos.

Any info/advice/recommendations gratefully received!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

End of year review 2010

Dear reader,

This year has been quite an amazing year, and I am sorry to both you and for myself that I wasn't able to blog about it along the way. A blog needs regular tending to provide reward, and much like a neglected garden, this one needs a bit of attention. So here I am, ready to take it on, shears in gloved hands and secateurs in my holster. Of course I shall have to toss these aside if I'm to get any typing done.

I hope the (ir)regular readers of my blog remember that my year up to July was fairly eventful? You should as it was my last post, which was also an event in itself.

Since July, things slowed a little, and I was able to take some gulps of air. My trip to Belgium and Holland was great fun as always. It was a little hectic at a time I could have done with a three week beach holiday sipping Pina Coladas. The trip was much like a cocktail in fact; cacti, nurseries, ham and cheese sandwiches, Dutch people and tea all shoved in a shaker and spilled out over four days.

There was one brief moment where summer had a full-on fling with autumn, and this moment fell on the day of the Highgrove bloggers meet, superbly co-ordinated by Helen Johnstone and Roland. Apart from making sure everyone was there at the right time and right place, Helen also managed to organise a perfect late summer day to be led around the gardens. I could go on, but in short, it was a sublime day in which I met my heroes Ann-Marie Powell and Cleve West who were even nicer in real life than on screen. It was a perfect opportunity to meet loads of brilliant people. I also won a prize of Duchy hand cream for my Tillandsia buttonhole - to which Ann-Marie added, "You can rub that all over!".

So to October, and the highlight of the year at the shop... The talk by Matthew Wilson aka 'Landscape Man'! It was covered by Arabella Sock here. I should add that Matthew gave a fantastic talk - far better than I was expecting (though, to be honest I didn't know what to expect). Many thanks to Matthew for being such a top-drawer Horticulturist - I hope we see him again on our screens before long. Belated thanks also to those that were in attendance.

The local magazine used the bad photo - I was smiley in the other one!

With a hop, skip and a jump, I move on to another of the year's big events, the Garden Media Guild awards. Extra special congratulations to those I know that won awards, Mark 'Dashing' Diacono for his amazing column, Lia 'Lush' Leendertz for best blog, Dawntastic Isaac for new talent, Matthew 'Train Club' Wilson and his team for best programme 'Landscape Man' and Anne Wareham for best website. I am particularly proud of Victoria Summerley for winning Journalist of The Year, possibly because I know her and she lives in my 'hood, but more likely because she is a fantastic writer and really deserves this accolade.

Although I wasn't at the GMG awards, I was made very welcome at the pub after-party. I met loads more people and it was great to put more faces to names. In a strange twist of fate I ended up staying late with Dawn and Lia, drinking too much and eating biscuits (of which many were scoffed by a biscuit fiend who shall remain nameless - I'll just say that his name rhymes with Stephen Macey). We headed over to a nearby bar/restaurant and had a bite to eat with a tipsy Andy Sturgeon (another hero of mine) and the absolute hoot that is photographer Rachel Warne and her photographer friend Paul. An axe was taken out of one of the GMG award goody bags and played around with by an unnamed member of our party, much to the worry of the waiter. I would suggest that axes and goody bags are not good combinations, for whoever thought this idea up.

Last week I went to a recording of Gardener's Question Time. More on this on my next post. Monty Don is returning to Gardener's World, and Toby Buckland and Alys Fowler have been made to leave. More on this on my next post also, as I shall be putting down my thoughts about gardening TV and radio. Brace yourselves.

In the meantime, have a read of JOTY Victoria Summerley's article, Helen's post and for something a bit more lighthearted Arabella Sock's recent posts.

Peace and love,