It's strange - I usually dislike January and almost dread it: New Year (I much prefer Christmas), the feeling of having overindulged and overspent, the dark, grey days... but if you actually embrace it... well, it can actually be a comforting and (whisper it) enjoyable month. Who knew?
I've been allowing things to unfold in accordance with the weather. Walks on bright, take-your-breath-away freezing cold days. Staying home and warm on wet, dark afternoons. Today (Saturday) we headed into town. Not something I usually relish at all but it was necessary - my mobile phone needed looking at - and we stopped in at Waterstones on the way back to the car.
Of course, with Joe in tow any dreams of whiling away a couple of hours amongst the books was just that. A dream. But I still got to look at all that lovely stationery, the volumes of poetry, those piles of books with beautiful covers.
Needless to say that Joe came away the winner. A set of Gruffalo matching game cards and an Usborne Rainy Day activity book. I love Usborne books for little ones.
The matching game went well until he lost. You'd have thought the world had ended. He also insisted on trying a game of Monopoly last night. I hastily made up a very simplified version. And when he landed in jail... The tears, the tantrum! 'Chance' cards angrily scattered all over the floor (needless to say, he was made to pick them all up again, despite my struggling to keep a straight face). I suspect Monopoly will be remaining in its usual spot, gathering dust on top of the dresser, for a long time to come.
Or at least until Joe learns about being a gracious loser.
The Rainy Day book didn't provoke a meltdown. You can always rely on books. Especially books with stickers.
There have been the usual domestic pursuits this month. And organising. I sorted through a lot of old paperwork this afternoon. My calendar and diary are up to date. Other indoor activities: watching Lucan, reading an old favourite (Thornyhold by Mary Stewart), making endless bird feeders with Joe from bird seed and lard. He's going through yogurts like nobody's business so we can save the pots. The garden's a-flap with jackdaws, robins and a now quite hefty-looking blackbird.
Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know I've been printmaking too. I added a few new designs (Bluebell and Fritillary) to my Frond & Feather shop. One good thing about the printmaking process is that there are always those which are initially printed onto scrap paper, and some which aren't quite right for one reason or another. So I get to stick them up on the walls. And my spring designs are quite cheering.
Today's been horrible and wet and dark but we have seen some sunshine during the past week. I met up with my stepdad for a walk around the local reservoir and then lunch at the nearby antiques place. It was incredibly cold, particularly on the high spots. But when the sun came out it was lovely.
Closer to home, I've been nipping out with the camera after dropping Joe off at school in the mornings. I run across the road to the churchyard, or up the little lane next to the school to capture the frost before the sun gets to it.
Everything's still bare and quite dead-looking, but there are a few signs of spring approaching. The magnolia trees in the churchyard are covered in fat, fuzzy buds. And there are lots of green shoots poking through the earth.
The antiques place I mentioned earlier is near a cemetery. I do like cemeteries and graveyards. Nothing morbid about it: I just like walking through, reading inscriptions and enjoying the quiet. You find some wonderful old names too. There were primroses growing all over the place when I went on Wednesday and the afternoon sun was really uplifting. You can feel optimistic in the most unlikely of places sometimes.
We're trying to get the chores done today in readiness for a slow Sunday. That's how the week often pans out: Monday to Friday I do artwork, admin and anything business-related. Evenings are spent cooking, eating, doing things with Joe then once he's bathed, read to and put to bed, we tend to just collapse in front of the T.V.
Saturdays we shop, clean, do the laundry etc. (around Joe). We try and get outside too. And by the time Sunday rolls around we can take it *easy: a late breakfast, a walk, afternoon baths, a roast dinner. Sundays are for home and family.
*As easy as it gets with a four-year-old early-riser.
So, that's my little update of my week. I hope you're enjoying your weekend. And that the rain stops tomorrow, even if it's just for a while.