My top 10 from 2020

This time last year I downloaded an app called Top 9 which selects the best (not sure by what criteria) nine photos posted on Instagram during the previous year. I’m seeing a few people posting their Top 9 so I decided I’d revisit it. Unfortunately the app doesn’t want to play ball, just hanging and displaying the message “Doing some housekeeping …”. Its been doing its housekeeping for several days now so I’m giving up and doing my own thing, looking back through my 2020 photos to select my top 10 from the year. I’m not going to rank them as such, just present them as they come … And forgive that many of the top 10 include more than one photo. There are 10 paragraphs 🙂

We have big skies in our part of South West France. This was sunrise one morning during November. You can see the little Toyota that took me 500 miles south when I had to make a dash for it at the end of October, to ensure I was safely at the French house in time to establish legal residency and protect our pension and healthcare rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

I’ve always adored foxgloves and encourage them to self-seed in our gardens. These were all in flower at the same time, all self-sown, in our tiny Sussex garden. I was particularly struck by the variety between the different plants. I’ve one or two just hanging on in France; hopefully I can encourage their spread. I will certainly try.

The first part of the year was dominated by my broken ankle and R’s second heart operation. Just one week after my accident we were royally entertained to a wonderful home-cooked Indian lunch by R’s oldest friend and his wife. It didn’t remove the pain but it certainly lifted the spirits.

Like so many people, once my mobility began to return as my ankle healed, we went out and walked during Lockdown#1. We found that we could access the most gorgeous West Sussex countryside just a few minutes’ walk from our home, finding bluebell woods and this unexpected and attractive lake.

When we give people directions to the French house we say “look for the silver coloured gates and the five large plane trees at the entrance. It is thought these plane trees were planted in Napoleon’s time. Very special.

During the latter part of August all of September, and the beginning of October I helped my daughter look after her two precious boys. These photos remind me of that very special time. “Playing track” has always been a favourite with all our GrandBoys. And every single one of those crab apples was picked unassisted by our six-year old GrandBoy with special needs. We were so proud of his dedication and effort, and the crab apple jelly was delicious. We were allowed to keep two jars; the other three went to the Picker in Chief!

Once restrictions eased we got out and about to as many gardens as we could including High Beeches where these photos were taken. We’d not been before and were impressed by its beauty and the numbers of rare and attractive trees and shrubs.

I always like to have flowers in the house whenever possible. I picked these roses when I arrived for a two-week visit to the French house in early October. The scent was delicious.

Another summer visit was to Great Dixter. R wore his Monty Don suit in honour of the occasion.

And 2020 cannot draw to a conclusion without noting the sadness we feel at the self-imposed fracture of the UK from Europe. I’ve written long and detailed posts elsewhere for the last four years and now is no longer the time to repeat them. But we will never stop regretting the decisions and the actions that have been taken and imposed on us. We just hope and pray that our worst fears are not realised.

2020 has been one of the strangest years I ever remember. Many have suffered greatly. Others have found joy and blessing in the changed circumstances. However it has affected you and those you love my wish is that 2021 will bring resolution to conflict, an increase in kindness and care, and health and happiness for all.

Happy new year.

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