Christmas is a very busy time in the retail trade. The run up morphs into the SALES which means this Christmas I had the 25th December and Boxing Day off, as well as New Year's Day.
Other than that it was work as usual which is why I like to book a week in Spain around the end of January, which I did this year. My wife Kay , and I, flew out of Birmingham and were very lucky to leave the snow behind us.
The timing was perfect and this was underlined when we went walking around the hills of Bolnuevo a couple of days later. This little seaside town sits on the shoulder of the Port of Mazarron (Puerto Mazarron) in the region of Murcia (Costa Calida).
The mid day temperatures got up around 20 degrees, though they drop quickly after daylight fades. I like to look for wild or unusual flowers or birds as well as feel the sunshine on the back of my neck. On this occasion I found some wild white orchids, which are not uncommon in this region.
The combination of palm trees and hillsides is more uncommon, creating a feeling of an oasis. Towards Tallante we were privileged to see 3 ground feeding Hoope's.
This is a bird I have seen once, when in Spain with my brother David, and before that only as a picture card given away with Brooke Bond Tea in the 1960's; so imagine how thrilled we were to see this sight.
The almond trees were full of flower, the goat herders control massive flocks, and the local Casa de la Ermita red wine is great value. This is an area I will re-visit in more detail in the future.
In order to bring our customers the best quality products at the keenest prices, we insist on staying close to our suppliers. That's why David Coton and Nathan James Dodd spent a day recently at Rowlinson, manufacturers of quality timber garden products.
Preparations are well advanced for Gardeners' World Live at the NEC, and GardenSite will be represented on the Halcyon Days show garden. Nathan James Dodd has been checking up on how the plans are progressing.
With little chance of frost for most of the country and the weather becoming increasingly warm, May is a very busy month in the gardening calendar. Nathan James Dodd explains what should be happening in your garden.
If you enjoy strolling through a bluebell wood over the Spring Bank Holiday, you may not be aware that this beautiful sight might soon disappear, Martyn Loach explains why we should all be aware of a foreign invader.