I have always envied people who have gone their own way and done their own thing. Now ‘the plan’ this year has taken a diversion, I have been handed an amazing opportunity to have a go at it for myself. It is thrilling, all consuming and ultimately terrifying. Every once in a while I am slightly overtaken by a crisis in confidence – is it all going to turn out ok? Am I doing the right thing? Is this what I’m meant to be doing?
The solution I have found is to take myself off for an hour and quite literally air everything. I’m also really lucky that around here, there are so many beautiful places to go.
Basildon Park, my second most favourite place on earth. I am having an affair with the copper beech on the front lawn. In the war when the house was commandeered as an Officers Station, a nurse would meet her true love underneath the tree, and later read his letters there when he was posted to Lyon. When sadly he didn’t return home, she stayed on at the house as a domestic servant to begin with, and then as a volunteer steward for the National Trust, never wanting to let go of what she had left of her fella. I met her in the grand hall where she shared her memories with me. She died last year.
You see, apart from being exquisitely beautiful, it’s not just a tree.
When I go, I’ve decided I want to come back as a bench. They always seem to get the best views.