This time of year

 

We are in the Dark Ages here. I refer to the black cloud of GCSE which hangs over my household. There is an undercurrent of nervousness and dread which has an intensity hard to describe. It affects me just as much as it affects my 16 year old, amazing son. There's a lesson in parenting they don't tell you about!

So it's good to be outdoors. Getting soil under my nails, watching the joy appear on the face of my smaller children as they spy the first of the tomato seedlings appearing.

The garlic is vigorous, the back tulips are a source of continued pleasure, and the garden provides a welcome relief from the stresses which linger indoors.

The chickens continue to please us with an abundant supply of comically odd-shaped treasures, and the trees have now produced enough greenery to provide a calming dapple over the paths. 

By the time the sweet peas are climbing, the exams should be over.