I say 'wintry' as it's not officially winter yet. There's are still remnants of autumn clinging on, in the form of fungi and crisp leaves, but it's feeling decidedly colder and Christmas is almost here.
The gift fair is, thankfully, over. I did reasonably well and sold artwork, cards and stationery. Just as importantly for a fledgling business such as Frond & Feather: I met lots of people and made some new contacts. It's always heartening when people show an interest in what you do and ask lots of questions.
It was a long day (and evening). When I got home I had a drink of cherry liqueur and ate Joe's stash of chocolate coins. Must remember to replace them before he notices.
On the work front, things are actually pretty busy. And it's here where I promise to respond to any emails I received last week. Hopefully I'll get a little more time this evening to deal with that.
As I've mentioned before, this time of year is all about home comforts, introspection, planning, evaluation, hibernation. The days are short and we try and get out at the weekend for some fresh air before heading back to the warmth and the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree. It all looks very pretty and festive. Of course, there are still things to do: a few more presents to find, food to be bought. But I've decided that next week I'll stop.
Today I met up with my old boss, who's here on a flying visit from his new home in Spain. We went out for tea and cake and a catch-up. It was good. We hadn't seen one another for almost three years, and we just fell into conversation and jokes as though it was only a few weeks since we last saw one another.
I have plans with more friends tomorrow, then on Thursday and Friday I'm going to see Joe in his Nativity: once with my stepdad, once with Jay.
Yesterday we engaged in that most festive of activities: grouting the kitchen tiles.
On Saturday we've got a family birthday celebration. And before that I have to brave Ikea for a couple of picture frames.
Why am I listing all this stuff?
Because it's all too easy to fall into the trap of 'busyness', particularly at this time of year. So I've decided on a cut-off point. It'll give me a few days to myself before Joe finishes school for Christmas. A few precious days to wind down and savour the little rituals and pleasures: watching The Box of Delights. Reading winter poetry. Going for solitary walks.
I cried yesterday. I cried for my mum, for the thought of another Christmas without her.
But I also thought about the comfort to be had from our yearly rituals. Friends and family. My brother coming over for Christmas dinner. Little things, like opening a present on Christmas Eve. Storing all the treats in the dresser. Buying those foods - even the slightly naff ones - which remind us of Christmases past.
There are new rituals too. I've bought a stocking for Joe so he wakes up to see it hanging on his bedpost. And we'll be putting mince pies and carrots out for Santa and Rudolph.
I'm looking forward to a slow Christmas and a slow winter too. I've requested books and books alone. No vouchers, no perfume or clothes or jewellery. Just plenty to read. A pile of books, a warm house, peace and quiet (when Joe's out): that's enough to keep me happy.
So once this week's done, with it's long list of to-dos, I'm going to make an effort to switch off: both figuratively and literally. It's something I struggle with but I'm hopeful that if I can ease into a new mindset over the weekend, by the time term ends I'll be ready to welcome the festive season with open arms.
I hope your December isn't proving to be too frantic (unless, of course, that's the way you like it)!