One of my friends brought me a little posy of violets from her garden. Aren’t they lovely? I have a patch growing outside my laundry door. And there are small patches of white and pink ones in the front yard. I have a soft spot for violets – they were my mother’s favourite flower – her middle name was Violet. They always seem so fragile to me, yet they grow in the depth of winter, and the leaves are such a luscious dark, velvety green. I had thought Violet was one of those old fashioned names confined to spinsters in Agatha Christie novels – but happily, not so. A colleague of ours recently had a little girl, and her name is Violet! How lovely. So here is a salute to all the Violets out there.