Living in modern Britain is not easy. We have always been a country that lurches from one crisis to the next but at this moment it does appear we are in a state of flux. That makes us feel uneasy and the more bone idle one is the worse the feeling will be. Many have become used to living the good life of rest and ease. It appears to me those days are over. Our country presents some fantastic opportunities just now but that’s going to require work on our part if we hope to benefit. As always opportunity comes in overalls.

There are few things in life that are certain, as Benjamin Franklin made mention, “except death and taxes“. The other I would suggest is government incompetence. It baffles my little brain why so many people think that politicians have any answers. There is a universal cry rising from the British people that “the government should DO something“. WTF are they going to do? Government is a one trick pony as far as I can see but just chucking vast gobs of money at a problem pretty much never fixes anything. If things in our fair country are going to improve it can only come from our own individual efforts.

There really is no point in our trying to change the world, protesting, ranting, raving and the like only serves to annoy others. The only thing we have any business changing is our own selves. Leading by example is the only real option to change the world. I would prefer to get my own house in order before going out and foisting my ideas on the world.

Talking of uncertainty lets talk about the weather. Having done bonsai in the Blighty for over thirty years now, I can categorically state the weather is not our greatest ally. Over those years I have seen it all. In order to create beautiful bonsai we have to grow our plants. Growth comes from sunshine and warmth is required for cell division. This year I did not see the sun in August, in fact we had to spark up the log burner a couple of evenings because it was so cold. North winds have prevailed most of this year and being right on the east coast that has come close to breaking our spirits on more than a few occasions.

Over those thirty years of frantic bonsai activity I can safely say that the summer of 2020 was by a country mile the best I have ever seen. That resulted in strong vigorous trees chomping at the bit in spring 2021 which turned out to be the worst I remember. Now the trees are poor with little energy in reserve due to so little sunlight and almost no growth or development as a result. Across the board I have seen very little development in any of my bonsai this year. Even the apple trees in my garden are at least a month late this year.

Doing anything that is reliant upon the weather in this country is a fool’s errand. I sure am glad I never became a farmer. I am also quite pleased I don’t do holidays, caravanning, camping etc’. “exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis” states if an exception exists or has to be stated, then this exception proves that there must be some rule to which the case is an exception. The rule being you can no more rely upon the weather than the actions of a politician.

The weather has put a dampener on the progress of my trees this year, and not for the first time either. However here IS the exception that proves the rule. The one tree that has grown spectacularly this year is this beautiful big olive from southern Italy. I have had it for about three years now and strangely it did not grow much in the balmy days of 2020 but in the cool dull days of 2021 it has grown faster than my lawn.

Considering that I have done nothing different, the development of this tree remains a mystery. It’s in the same pot, the same soil and lives in the same place. Last year it made a sickly few inches of growth that I did my best to wire into place at the end of summer. This summer it has grown and been cut multiple times and I had a huge mess of new growth to incorporate at the end of the season. I cannot explain why this tree above all others has done SO well but i’ll take it. Compare the pictures from Autumn 2020 and October 2021.

I guess it goes to show that even when everyone else is struggling we can, with the right attitude, do well and prosper even when conditions are not ideal.

Per aspera ad astra*


*(Google it)

Olive October 2020.

The same olive in October 2021. 2 more years like this and i’ll be a happy camper.