Over the recent festive period I was lucky enough to stay with some friends who live right in the middle of nowhere. They absolutely love it and it seems that any neighbours in the vicinity are just as thrilled at the prospect of not having anyone too nearby. Just as it was two or three hundred years ago, the nearest store is some miles away. The garden of mine host’s house is so picture perfect it’s hard to believe it is a real home and not just a live setting of a Christmas card. I was sitting on one of the cushion covered oak benches just enjoying the hundreds of dear little garden birds when it occured to me that my hosts had arranged their garden seating in such a way that the visitor is aware of their surroundings at every point. The birds arrive in noisy and fractious batches, there’s a feeding frenzy for a few moments and then they whoosh off to the nearby woodland. But whereever you sit in the garden, you are assured a comfortable seat with a view to somewhere very pretty. The seating is oak and it is protected every couple of years with painted on preservative and wonderfully plump cushions are provided to make the whole experience of sitting out just sublime. Especially when accompanied by something hot and steaming from the nearby kitchen!