Welcome to the winter issue! We begin with a tribute to Mary Bromiley, a wonderful contributor to this magazine for many years, and a missed friend, whose words of wisdom I already feel the lack of. Patient, clear and full of sensible advice, she always made time to talk and was, quite a simply, a lovely person.
Indeed, it is one of the pleasures of editing this magazine that many of our expert writers have become firm friends and contact with them has spilled outward from the realms of work and deadlines into everyday life, too; friends like Rosemary FitzGerald, our gardens writer, who has spent hours this autumn helping me with the planting schemes for my redesigned garden, down to every last detail. Our Big Planting Day at the end of the project saw hundreds of hopeful bulbs going into the ground, and now I can hardly wait for spring! But, as Rosemary reminds us in this issue, winter is not the end but a beginning and every tiny shoot is a new excitement for the coming year.
I hope that you find this issue packed with reasons to get outside when the weather allows and full of by-the-fire material for times when it doesn’t. Julian Gurney’s Nature Diary takes us up onto the not-so-bleak midwinter uplands and Sue Viccars guides us on a walk from Barnstaple, whilst, indoors, memories are shared with us by Sybil Williams, the Burge Family at Oaremead and Avril Stone, who looks into the history of the Queen’s Theatre.
We catch up with Annabelle Gregory and her new venture, Exmoor Tweed, meet heraldic artist Tom Meek, and visit Bossington Hall, the Ginger Peanut in Bampton and the Exmoor White Horse.
Taking the cover spot for this issue, meanwhile, are the dogs on quads – the farmers’ companions who will be out in the worst of it all winter weathers and who we celebrate in Final Paws. Myself, and all of our team at the magazine, wish you a peaceful Christmas and New Year, and happy reading!
Naomi, Elaine, Heather and Bryan