10 years at Mother’s Garden

Martin Kirby, Maggie Whitman and their children clock up a decade down on the distant Norfolk farm in Catalonia and reflect on their life at Mother's Garden.

A decade ago last Monday, in the pitch black early hours of a knee-knockingly chill and damp January morning, we bumped up a farm track one thousand miles from Norfolk and the great Mother's Garden adventure began.

Can it really be so long ago?

Some things have not changed but much has changed, in truth, mostly for the better.

Mother's Garden is a tad more organised, with the ruin restored and holiday cottage established. We have launched the Mother's Garden fresh olive oil business which is starting to make serious headway. I have written three books. We have made the acquaintance of hundreds of people from around the world.

I feel that Ella and Joe Joe rise head and shoulders above all things important, save one: First and foremost, I want to mention my Maggie.

I want to say how much I love her, and to thank her. She instinctively knew and still fully appreciates the immeasurable good of our decision, the worth of which is greatest in two shining young minds gifted with languages and schooled as close to the natural world as we could have hoped, in a rural Latin culture that treasures time for family.

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Yet, for Maggie more than anyone, there is always the weight of distance from our family, history, friends and broader fulfilment. Maggie has given the most to make this radical choice work.

For the full story of life at Mother's Garden 10 years on read Martin Kirby's reflections in the EDP Sunday supplement in this Saturday's EDP.

Martin's third book, Shaking The Tree, is published by Pegasus (ISBN 9781903490594).