Today my mum turns 70. But she won’t be treated to afternoon tea at Eastwell Manor, because she’s trekking in India. Yes, trekking, with a backpack, and sleeping in a tent, and having bucket showers.
That’s not to say she won’t get afternoon tea when she gets back, but she might have to squeeze it in between voluntary work with the National Trust, school gardening club, a theatre trip, book club, dance class, yoga, a hot-air balloon ride and international espionage.
Mum was make-do-and-mending and upcycling and guerrilla-gardening before they were even things. Need a plant support for your sweet peas? Here’s a chopstick. No cold-frame? Try this photo-frame and a cardboard box. Blu-tack was invented for her. Mum’s inventions may be a little bit wonky, but no matter. Who needs rules when you have vision? She’s the most slapdash cuttings-taker: no sharp knife or plastic bag for her, just rip it off and stick it in a pot. It works.
So I’d just like to take this opportunity to say “Happy Birthday Mum!” (because she might just get a wifi connection in Kerala) and thank you for inspiring me and your grand-daughters, and pretty much everyone else you come into contact with, by being the most positive, resourceful, compassionate, insightful, ingenious, adventurous, funny, generous, resilient, energetic and free-spirited seventy-year-old on the planet.
Have a lovely day, mum!