To break the domestic and work routine, we like to drive out to the Royal Horticultural Society gardens of Hyde Hall, which sit about 4 miles south-east of Chelmsford.
Lots of other old Essex gits have the same idea. So a visit gives a broad idea of how decrepitude may settle further upon us. Whatever your age, your eyes lap it all up.
I used to deliver two pints of red top to Hyde Hall, three times a week, when working the South Woodham Ferrers milk round for the Coop. In those days, in the early 90s, it was not too much more than a private botanical centre, atop a windswept hill, surrounded by old farmlands.
Now you see it a couple of times a year on Gardeners World, as it expands and innovates.
At this time of year, the Cornus Midwinter Fire dotted around the estate are stunning.
Also known as Dogwood.
Perfect accompaniment to the wind and sunshine. I wanted to take a cutting, but sensed that this would lead to trouble of some kind.
More than ever this year I have appreciated the beauty of the low January sun, and the shadows which it casts.
The Midwinter Fire were the joint highlight yesterday, sharing the honours with the spicy basil and tomato soup lunch. And a decent hunk of walnut bread.
So good to get out and feel the elements.