It was a cold wet winter’s day. Philip had no ambitions to rush off and climb a mountain so we surveyed the garden and thought about trees. In fact we don’t have a garden, we have a small park, with about 30 established trees, some of which are reaching their life expectancy and falling over. It is easy to look at a fallen tree and think, well it would take 50 years to grow a tree that size, so why bother, but I look at the huge oak trees and feel eternally grateful to some French farmer who 300 years ago decided to plant a couple of oak trees and even more grateful to whoever built the house 100 years later for not cutting them down as is the French habit nowadays. We ventured to the English run garden centre and looked at the dozens of bare root trees we could plant, there were so many to choose from. We noted the names and are now researching their growing habits, soil requirements etc. It is very exciting; there are so many hybrids with different leaf colours. I was planning to be conventional, but now we are thinking weeping mulberry, American oak, silver lime, gingko biloba…even though we won’t live to see them in their full glory, but hopefully the children will. We played bridge in the afternoon, owing to the extended summer we had stopped going to the regular Wednesday afternoon tournaments, they were so welcoming after our nine month absence, we will start going every Wednesday again, it is a good opportunity to practice our French, though people don’t show their best attributes at the bridge table, it is all rather competitive. We didn’t do well, but stayed on for a drink after the results had been announced; finding out what everyone had been up to over the last few months.