I know we’re over it, but I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was peaceful; the usual hectic rush beforehand but it all came together on the day – everyone had wrapped gifts which were well-received, there was plenty of food, the house was decorated. We all welcomed the excuse to eat, drink and be merrily lazy. We chatted, played Scrabble, went to a few lovely parties and watched a few programmes on our fabulous new tv (trying to watch Blue Planet II on our rubbish old one was the last straw). The best Christmas telly for me, by far, was Little Women; such a beautiful adaptation. All the women in our house loved it. Some of the men did, too.
That’s all we did, really, for about a week. The boys were supposed to be revising for their mock GCSEs and A-levels – honestly, what school would set their mock exams straight after the Christmas holidays? Well, theirs would. And I’ve heard of a few others. Sigh. My sons took a very dim view of this meanness, so only did some cursory revision. I took the view that I wasn’t going to spoil Christmas by being on their case. To be honest, I secretly admire their refusal to feel the considerable pressure and I’m sure they’ll gear up for the real things in the summer.
We all went back to school and work last Tuesday (2nd) which was a rude shock of a start to the new year but I’m getting in the groove now. Normal routine is on hold while the boys have exams; they only need to be in school when they have an actual exam so I’ll be taxi-ing back and forth to the station for the rest of this week. Back to normal, normal next week.
I couldn’t bring myself to take down our lovely tree last week – that would have been too harsh – so I waited until twelfth night on Friday to pack Christmas away again for another year. I’ve been cooking vegetables (that urge for green and crunch and vitamins and minerals that you can taste after all the rich unhealthy food; this roast aubergine with curried yoghurt, caramelised onion and pomegranate recipe is outstanding); peeling and chomping on oranges and grapefruit to stave off winter germs; and going for long, muddy dog walks (the mud!). David and I did venture into the garden yesterday with the thought of pruning our apple and pear trees but it was so shockingly cold that we had a quick walk round, looked at what needed doing and promptly came back indoors to put the kettle on! Brrr. That job will have to wait.
I know many people find January a difficult month in the northern hemisphere – the seemingly never-ending grey, wet, dreary days and dark evenings – but I don’t mind it. It’s David’s birthday month, there are fires and candles to be lit, and there are signs of spring already. I spied fat hellebore buds peeking out from the leaf litter yesterday and the snowdrops are coming. There is a lot to look forward to.
A couple of recommendations if you need a pick-me-up: the first is The Greatest Showman – a wonderful, exhilarating and life-affirming film with a corker of a soundtrack. My 13-year-old has been humming it non-stop. The second is the awesome Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globe Awards. I’m sure you’ll have heard it by now but do click on the link if you haven’t. Oprah for President?
A single glass of champagne imparts a feeling of exhilaration. The nerves are braced; the imagination is agreeably stirred; the wits become more nimble.
So said Winston Churchill, reportedly, and I agree. (Several glasses will have the opposite effect, but let’s not dwell on that.) I feel the same about the first mug of tea of the day, a morning coffee after walking my dog and a weekend G&T before dinner. There are times when only a particular drink will do. Champagne is for celebrations, for toasting, for hopes and dreams, so I raise my imaginary glass to you and rather belatedly wish you a Happy New Year. Here’s to 2018 – nerves braced, imagination stirring, wits creaking into action. Hurrah!
Have a great week.
PS You may have noticed that I haven’t made any changes to my blog. A little rest did me good and I’m content to plod on with it as it is for now. Thank you for your kind comments back in November x