Years and years ago - perhaps as many as twenty - Hannah gave me a bonsai as a Christmas or birthday present, I forget which.
And I loved it.
As something entirely new to me, I did all I was told to do - with it and for it - by the rule book.
I watered it; I fed it; I trimmed it; I sprayed it and I gave it outdoor times - all as instructed.
I think our relationship (that's the bonsai's and mine, not Hannah's and mine) lasted for a good many years before some catastrophic event struck it while it was on a sojourn outdoors.....I really don't remember but Sue tells me that it was a 'third party of small years' that struck it a fatal blow.
Anyway, it died......
........but, in its death, I perceived a new beauty.
So I dried it out and for the last number of years it has held its position among other items that we consider worthy of display.
And then, this Christmas, Hannah gave me another bonsai.
And I embarked on the same journey - once again following the rule book.
All was going well and my hardest task was trying to decide where I would place it to enjoy it most.....
.......and the huge widow cill above our bed became the chosen spot where by day it formed a shapely silhouette against the light and by night its conformation and colour stood out against the neutral blinds.
And so it was as we left for France in early March.
But knowing - from the rule book - that for it to dry out was its worst threat, I watered it as an immediate priority on our return when I tried not to notice some leaf-fall.
Over the ensuing days, it shed its leaves until it had the very same appearance as its dead fore-bare!
And worse, this moment coincided with a visit home by Hannah.
Little was said but it must surely have been noted that I should never again be entrusted with the care of a bonsai!
But, but, but.... shortly thereafter it started to show the very signs of spring and new growth that I have mentioned are so strikingly missing outdoors....
.....and wherever you put it, it looks just wonderful!
Today it got a good feed and was re-positioned in the sunniest window.....