Among my Christmas presents was a kit with which to grow chillies, something I 've always meant to do and now have the immediate wherewithal. Including part of a greenhouse. Must sow the seeds next month. Meanwhile I have been shunning the sodden vegetable garden and rather dread the thought of renewing my acquaintance with it. To make matter worse seed catalogues have been dropping through the letter box with alarming persistence. The most dispiriting thing about them is the illustrations. Brassicas, beans, onions, potatoes, carrots, glow colourfully in the pages in a state of perfection far from what I will ever achieve.
It took me a long time when I was young to fathom the expression "to beg the question". It used to mean to ignore one question and answer another. In the last few years that meaning seems to have withered to be replaced simply by "to put or pose a question".To my surprise today I find it used in this new sense in the latest novel by the American novelist Richard Ford. Langage changes and we grow old.