I’ve just been downstairs bidding goodbye to Briskwoman, from Kew Foundation (the fundraising arm). Briskwoman is going to be missed – she’s retiring, and has put in above and beyond the call of duty, so one cannot begrudge her her retirement, but she is one of those completely direct people who aren’t afraid to call a spade a spade, and every large organisation needs a few of them. The first time I met her she scared me stiff! – which is a perfect example of why one should always be prepared to move on past a bad first impression.
Her current boss, Moustachioman, made a little speech and tried manfully to disguise a gift-wrapped Kew Gardens flowerpot as a lampshade by waving it about upside down. Everyone who retires here seems to get a flowerpot. In another twenty years, maybe I’ll get one, who knows?
The more serious part of the retirement present from her team wasn’t ready yet, but merely being told it was coming made her jaw drop. They’ve commissioned a painting by Rachel Pedder-Smith for her. In botanical art terms, this is the equivalent of being given a small Matisse.
Happy retirement, Briskwoman, and go well! – you’ve deserved it.
Anyway, I’ve said goodbye and had a glass of Cava and rather more cake and strawberries than were good for me, and come back to the office to print off some letters which I’ll get into the post tomorrow, and now I’m off home, into the bouncy-breezed evening. Sunshine and wind and wild banks of dark cloud are dancing by outside; Mad March weather indeed.
I’m not quite sure why, but I have been fearfully tired this week – the clocks going forward last Sunday seem to have thrown me rather. What a wimp, eh?! At least now it is officially spring. The Gardens are full of early cherry blossom, though this wind will be playing havoc with it, and outside the Orangery is a carpet of Chionodoxa siehei in flower, like cobalt blue paint spilled across the grass. And the air smells sweet, of petals and honey and the first grass-mowing of the year. Spring is heaven.