Paul Richardson’s book Hidden Valley is an account of his last decade spent cultivating a small plot in Spain, trying to be self-sufficient and working out what makes a life. He was given two rules by neighbours when he attempted to make wine: the stronger the better and always harvest in the third week in September.  Oh for such certainties.  Here, potential mildew has ousted potential late frosts into the top spot of vineyard worries.  For now.   

“nunca llueve a gusto de todos”

I stare out of the window where stair rods have snapped off the tulips and wonder if I’ll ever get the sweet peas planted.  On the upside it’s been a magnificent year for dandelions and buttercups and our garden, plentiful in both amid the uncut grass is, I tell myself, highly fashionable.

The winery team are busy bottling last year’s harvest - 16,000 bottles today despite a temporary breakdown of the machine.  And 20,000 tomorrow. 

I get home to an email from Paul in Spain. Not a drop of rain this year.  He ends it with:

“nunca llueve a gusto de todos”   (It never rains to everyone’s taste.)

Now that’s someone who’s learnt to roll with the punches.