We moved into our home almost 15 years ago and while we've made a fair few changes to the inside of the house, the garden has been left relatively unchanged.
It's not that it doesn't need a serious dose of revamping and hard work to get it looking good, it's just that, as both my husband and I are not the most natural of gardeners, unintentionally ringing the death knell for most living things we try to transplant into our little corner of the world, we've mainly stuck to planting up hanging baskets and a few paltry pots and leaving the rest to nature.
Well, not really nature. You see, for the last few years we've shared a garden fence with a couple who were amazing gardeners. They were out, working on their bit of cherished earth every single day of the year. No matter how challenging the weather, no matter what the season, they'd be digging, planting and pruning, pottering around, tending to their raised beds, their water features and the glorious cascade of flowering bushes and plants that they cultivated against our shared fence.
And the great thing about all those beautiful bushes and plants was that they had no sense of the boundary, finding every little gap, crack and crevice in that fence, extending their branches and tendrils through and around the wooden slats and, left untamed by us, they grew into a glorious, wild wall on our side of the boundary, teeming with little birds and butterflies at this time of the year. Indeed, over the last few months of lockdown, it's been one of my great joys, taking a cup of tea out, first thing in the morning, plonking myself down on the back step and watching all the shenanigans happening in and around that wall of nature as the little birds bounced around and squabbled with each other and the hornets floated above the newly opened flower buds.
No matter how stressed or anxious I was feeling, that little dose of nature at its finest did a lot to help me find my feet each morning, as I learned to live in this new normal.
Sadly, our wonderful neighbours moved away a few months ago, packing up and heading off to live near their grown-up daughter.
We were sorry to see them go but delighted to have a really lovely new family move in. Unlike my husband and I, they're clearly people who know one end of a garden spade from the other and the changes they've made to their garden in a few short weeks have been amazing to see.
Amazing but devastating, because this week they cut away that massive wall of plants and bushes on their side, meaning the end of our accidental but stunning nature wall.
I completely understand why they would want to, freeing up space for their kids to play on rather than just maintaining a show garden, but my heart broke more than a little when I opened the back door one morning this week to take my normal early morning cuppa, to find that my view had dramatically changed to just fence panels and a lot of fallen branches.
I shocked myself by bursting into tears at the sight and, while being able to process my disappointment at the change, couldn't understand why it had hit me quite so intensely.
It was only after an incident with my daughter later that same morning, when the rest of my household had finally surfaced and appeared in the kitchen, that I understood the reason why.
I had run out of eggs so was unable to rustle up the pancakes that my four-year-old daughter loves to eat every morning. Her reaction would normally have been to shrug and take a banana instead but that day, she sat mournfully on the sofa and sobbed her little heart out.
It made me realise that in these uncertain times, we've all come to cling on to the small certainties we have each day. Life outside our four walls has become so random and so unexpected, that we cherish our daily patterns at home. Any wonder then that a small change can take on seismic proportions?