My father was always an armchair gardener, planning what he would put where and how he would reorganise things; but then other things would get in the way and he would end up just keeping the weeds down and mowing and edging the lawn. As a family we would smile, and pull his leg, about this. But now I have come to the conclusion that I am an armchair all kinds of things - and not just since I have become less mobile.
The book I remember most from my early teenage years was 'Kurun around the world' which was about a voyage round the world. It was written by Maurice leToumelin and I sailed every nautical mile with him over and over again. How I wanted to be there with him. Or did I, in my heart of hearts? Even a ride on the swing boats prompted me to awful sickness - imagine a typhoon in mid ocean. (crossing to the Lofoten islands a few years ago from mainland Norway I was prostrate with sickness).
Armand and Michaela Dennis (remember them?) a few years later, had me gobbling up all their information on African wildlife - I was there with them. But Africa is not my thing - bugs, creepy crawlies, hard beds, bites from mega-sized midge - a definite no-no.
A book taking me across what was then called Arabia, on horseback - wonderful stuff. All from the comfort of my armchair.
So today, reading one of my birthday presents from my son -
'Woodsman' by Ben Law, a book in which he tells of making his home in the woodland and building his house there, is again superb reading. I am enjoying every line. But do I wish to sleep under a thatch of hazel saplings? No - I'll stick to letting someone else do that and then telling me about it.