Thank you for all the Happy New Year messages following my previous post. I hope the post-Christmas period hasn't felt like too much of an anti-climax for anyone.
I'm not really a fan of New Year, never have been. But I actually managed to get food poisoning on Christmas Day and spent the night being violently sick. Boxing Day was spent in bed feeling really quite ill. Suffice to say, after a couple of days chocolate made its way back onto the menu.
One thing that has changed though: I've started drinking my tea with lemon instead of milk. I much prefer it.
I'd intended to do the whole Healthy January thing but... well, it's cold and dark and we're still in a state of semi-hibernation. Although I did make some of my own snack bars using the ingredients listed on some very expensive ones. Cashew nuts, cocoa, dates and sultanas, carefully weighed out according to the ratios on the packet. The result: exactly the same flavour for around half the price.
I bought some wool at the weekend and am attempting my first ever jumper. A very simple pattern and already it looks... homespun. Artisan. Yes, let's called it that.
The flooding around here has been terrible. Joe's preschool reopened today but they had to replace all the toys. All the houses in the village were a few feet deep in water. Bridges have collapsed. Even a mill, built in the early 1800s, came down.
We're fortunate that we're not close to the river. The garden was pretty waterlogged for a while (we're at the foot of the moors below a sloping field) but it drained away. And *touch wood* the kitchen roof's holding out.
Joe and I have been out walking whenever we can. There have been picnics in the car and picnics on a rug in the living room too. We've made thankyou cards for those who sent him lovely Christmas presents. We've read books and watched DVDs and done jigsaws.
On the reading front, I gave up on Moll Flanders. I'm now midway through Westwood by Stella Gibbons, and enjoying it very much indeed. That and seasonal poetry are keeping me going of an evening.
The tree and decorations came down on Sunday. I was slightly worried about courting bad luck, especially considering the past year and a bit, but it was time. The needles were dropping - even though we had a living tree - and I decided it could go outside and enjoy the still plentiful rain.
Everything's packed away now. We still have candles but things have been rearranged here and there; some of our pictures are now up on the walls and the holly has been replaced with a bunch of cheery little daffodils. It all looks fresh and promising.
I even cut a piece of muslin into two and hemmed them to make some sheer curtains for the front window. The bobble trim is stitched on too. They look rather nice.
Tomorrow Joe goes back to his two days at preschool which means I can get on with some work. Commissions, getting a new website, booking tables at markets and craft fairs, making more lino-cuts...
I've even booked myself onto a printmaking course up on the Yorkshire coast in March. It's only for a day but I'm going up there with my stepdad and we're thinking we may stay overnight in a B&B.
Speaking of treats (although the course is actually 'Professional Development', funded by my misleadingly impressive-sounding Business Account) I spent my Christmas money. A new coat. I'd seen it in a local clothes shop for more than I could afford. Then I found it online for 50% less.
It's now mine and I love love love it. Just my colours and old-fashioned enough to satisfy my Housewife, 49 tastes.
Treats like this are very few and far between, but for me personally it means I relish and appreciate them all the more.
Finally: resolutions. I'm not weighing myself down with a list of what I should stop doing, what I need to do more of etc. But having spent the best part of a morning today listening to a social worker (the visit overran by an hour meaning I had to cancel on my friends) and the prospect of more of these seemingly fruitless meetings in the coming weeks, I do need to prioritise. The danger is always that of getting caught up in so many things and feeling as though I'm being pulled downstream by a very strong current.
Family commitments and responsibilities, Joe, a new house, establishing a business: I'm struggling to fit it all in. Time alone to rest, to think, to be inspired, to grieve... It just isn't there. So I need to be firm with others and to safeguard that time. It's very easy to allow yourself to be pulled in all directions and to let others assume you're always at their beck and call. The hard bit is figuring out how to change that.
I'm determined to find a way this year.