I’ve enjoyed these first seven days of Christmas. We’ve seen lots of family, and a few friends, and I’ve been alternating between cooking, reading, and doing absolutely nothing. Now we’re back home with the cat.
And I think I’m getting my brain back.
I could do with fretting less when we’re both away from home. I’m better now that we have a cat – because that means that we have someone coming in to feed her, and surely if the house burned down they would let us know – but I’d really like to be not quite so on edge until that first check-in.
The difficult and perplexing
Had to see some of the family from a distance, as they were struck down with the lurgy.
Letting other people do things. Though I still need to work on this.
Wintering (Katherine May). I bought this because a lot of people on the DecemberReflections Instagram hashtag named it as their book of the year. I have to say that there wasn’t a whole lot in there that felt revolutionary to me: the central idea, that some periods in one’s life are just bloody difficult and to deal with them one needs to take a step back, is one that I first encountered in Lesley Garner’s Everything I’ve Ever Done That Worked back when I was a student, not to mention something that has been brought home to me by experience this year. And the concept of living in season is something that’s explored in far greater depth in Waverly Fitzgerald’s Slow Time. I was unimpressed by the uncritical repetition of the factoid about Hallowe’en being ‘when the veil between the worlds grows thin’ (anyone who follows @Cavalorn on Twitter will know that this is an idea that dates back no further than the twentieth century) and was consequently preprared to distrust anything else May wrote about wintry festivals; fortunately she didn’t, much. However, there were some lovely bits of observational writing, and I’m glad to have read it even if I didn’t get my mind blown. And I have Winters In The World (Eleanor Parker) to read next, and I have much higher hopes of that.
Agatha Christie: a very elusive woman (Lucy Worsley) was a Christmas present: very readable. I found the constant use of the first name (Agatha this, Agatha that) rather uncomfortable, although since Worsley’s point was very much that Agatha Christie was a complex mixture of personalities, not all of them called Agatha Christie, I can see why the choice was made.
The Neujahrskonzert on BBC4 is on in the background while I write this.
Simultaneous soups, one vegan and one from the remains of the Christmas chicken.
What haven’t I been eating? Turkey, I suppose. I have not eaten any turkey this Christmas. I have eaten many other things. Roast lamb. Macarons. Smashed avocado and poached egg on sourdough toast. Fishfinger sandwiches with chips. Vegetable curry. Shepherd’s pie. Chocolate cake. Many types of cheese. Stollen fudge (just seems to be standard fudge with dried fruit in so far as I can tell).
Two different railway-building games: TransAmerica and Ticket To Ride. I lost spectacularly in TransAmerica and won Ticket to Ride by three points.
A huge Newfoundland dog – first peering under a gate, and then out for a walk with its owner. Various birds of prey I couldn’t identify (I am rubbish at birds of prey; they were probably all very common). The lovely sign on the A421 that points to Toseland Yelling Graveley.
My green corduroy trousers. People helping me with things and/or doing them so I didn’t have to.
I did pretty well in the sales in Milton Keynes. Brushed cotton pyjamas. A nice floaty top. Starry pants. And – in the rather incongruous charity shop – a gorgeous blue dress that might do for my brother’s wedding.
Several things in LionessElise’s sale. But I don’t need any of them.
Line of the week
Encountering the extremes of cold drew us both into that most clichéd space, The Moment, forcibly pulling our minds away from ruminating on the past or future, or tilling over an endless to-do list.
This coming week
Lots of thank you letters to write. News to share. Bank holiday. Back to work.
Anything you’d like to share from this week? Any hopes for next week? Share them here! And I hope 2023 brings you many good things.