Last week was a high-achiever. I caught up with family and friends including two ladies who live in southwest England in the loveliest cottage I know. They are octogenarians, have very few family members and have shared their lives together, one of them having been married for many years until her husband died some years ago. Their cottage has been a constant Mecca for their numerous friends in the natural history world. One is a renowned conchologist, my mentor; the other a renowned and accomplished botanist.
Their garden, which has a strong Japanese theme, has been maintained with relatively little help from others and is as beautiful now as it was when I first visited their home 30 years ago. Age takes its toll on us in a multitude of ways but my friends continue to enjoy visitors and have their team of special friends, their proxy family, who come to the cottage regularly to lend support. Nick and I made the drive there and back in a day, having lunch with Pam and Andrew before I visited the tiny hamlet where my ladies live. Nick enjoyed a bracing swim at Godrevy before he picked me up for our journey home. A full and memorable day.