My father-in-law Charlie was a lovely, gentle man. Born the son of a farmer, he spent his entire life working hard upon the land west of The River Trent in an area of Lincolnshire known as The Isle of Axholme.
It was a two hundred acre arable farm upon which he grew barley, potatoes, leeks, turnips, sugar beet, cabbages and broad beans in rotation. Mostly he worked on his own - ploughing, sowing, spraying, harrowing, mending and finally harvesting. He spent countless hours out in those flat fields - alone under the wide Lincolnshire skies with only an Alsatian dog for company.
It was a simple life of seasons passing and the rise and fall of agricultural prices. In his fifties, he built his own modern bungalow to replace the tumbledown farmhouse where my wife grew up. And when I say "built it", I mean he built it with his own hands unlike Sir Christopher Wren or Frank Lloyd Wright.
In his early seventies, Charlie contracted prostate cancer which ate away at his body and after a short battle with that beast he died in Scunthorpe Hospital. This was back in 2000. He should have enjoyed more years but at least he got to see and love his grandchildren - unlike my father who was dead at sixty five.
Long after Charlie died, we discovered that he had kept a diary for many years. As a farmer, he recorded plantings, harvests, prices and weather matters. He always kept a close eye on the weather - measuring rainfall and temperatures.This was more than a hobby for his livelihood partly depended on fluctuations in the weather.
But when he retired at the age of sixty eight, he continued his diary entries and I remember one of them very vividly - "Nothing happened. Nobody came. Nothing on TV. A very boring day.". And there were similar entries about nothingness and dull, empty days.
Maybe the reason I remembered this is that I believe we all have days like that. The blogosphere, celebrity news and social media driven lives seem to fill us with expectations that something should be happening all the time. There should be a buzz, things to write about, maybe even boast about. Excitement, events, phone calls, friends. But the reality is that some days are quite empty. Not much happening. Nothing to say.
That's a part of life that some people struggle to accept.