When the alarm went off this morning I was already weary.I am at the worst point of my period and I feel distracted and exhausted. My body is suffering, I have not slept well, and my belly aches. My mind is unable to settle, jumping from one thing to another.I am feeling low; a combination of hormones, lack of adult conversation and the rain that has fallen steadily all week,My first response is to attend to the long list of jobs that lies ahead of me today. I have writing projects that need attention, laundry to do, and meals to...

It is January in the north of England and my garden looks as you would expect; damp, leaf strewn, drained of colour: a mess.There is not much to be seen, but there is work to do.I plan to cut back some shrubs that have needed a hard prune since we moved in four years ago. They are overgrown and block light from the house.As I begin to work, my neighbour walks past on his way back from his allotment. He calls over,“Take it right to the floor, you will only get leaf this year, but the flowers will be back...

It is tempting to want to be a builder; to work with a plan, to know what you are going to produce before you have finished, to be sure about all the details.But better by far to be a gardener; to work with the elements, to be surprised by the things that grow and those that don't, to be malleable and open to change, to have to adapt in order to thrive.Builders have a level of certainty about the outcome. They plan and prepare and Are-Not-Wrong. Rarely does anything happen along the way to change what they are attempting. Sure,...