A couple of Saturdays ago, we hightailed it out of the ‘burbs to St Andrews market for a dose of hippy happiness. As P. went off to suss out organic veg, I was drawn to a lady sitting in a corner surrounded by buckets and coloured cloths piled high with tea roses, purple and white lavender, feverfew, nigella and other gorgeous, old-fashioned flowers. From these piles, she drew out flowers and turning them around in her hands, she added more and more, to create the most exquisite bouquets.

She looked to be in her seventies, with silvery grey hair and she wore a deep purple sunhat, a lighter purple sweater, black jeans and black work boots. Her name was Wendy* and she told me that all the flowers were grown in her garden. She gave me a lesson in how to put a posy together, with an unhurried hand and a total involvement in the task. I found her absolutely inspiring and as I walked away with my bouquet, I thought; “I want to be just like her when I grow up.”

And I didn’t think about Christmas once.

* Wendys often appear in my life to teach me something. And my parents nearly named me Wendy.

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