Well, goodness me... I needed that week.
I have revelled in going nowhere and having to do precisely not a lot, though by the miracle that is Skype and an iPad I was able to take part in the first of the Fiction Uncovered judges meetings in London. All from the comfort of my kitchen table and without the early start, the hundred mile round trip to the station (twice for Bookhound), three hours on the train, the dash across London, three hours home on the train. Sensible and easy and it worked, I may never go to London for a meeting unless I absolutely have to ever again.
In fact it had snowed too, a soft light eiderdown amount rather than a blanket, but we were iced in so I would not have got far anyway. This was our view earlier this week...
...and this year our ever present winter parliament/ murder/ congress/ conspiracy of crows, rooks, ravens, jackdaws... who knows. They are all big and black and they all seem to make the same noise.
Thank you once more from the bottom of my heart for all your wonderful comments, advice, suggestions, encouragement and e mails etc. I am feeling SO much better than I was a week ago. Allelulia for drugs, how on earth did people manage episodes like this before they existed... though how anyone manages to ride a bike and win a race on steroids is a mystery to me. I could just about make it up four fields to the woods with the dog before staggering back home again to the sofa.
I will be writing much more about the woods through the year but they were looking perfectly shaped, exquisite and throughly majestic as we walked up there on Sunday afternoon... praise be whoever had the foresight to plant it however many years ago.
With so much to look forward to, and so many exciting things happening, and now with the added gift of more time in which to enjoy it all, I am genuinely and very positively over the whole work thing. I have just enjoyed my first Sunday evening without what I have always called the 'Songs of Praise Cloud'. You know, the moment that you hear the theme music and remember that it is Monday and work the next day.
All of a sudden I don't want to watch Call the Midwife either.
I was ready to stop. Someone, albeit unexpectedly stopped me, and surprisingly I don't sense a big work-shaped gap in my life. No ambitions at this stage to 'do' or take on anything new, or interesting, or worthy, or join something... we just want to welcome the Tinker to Tinker's Cott and enjoy our time with him here with us, share our lovely home and our garden and our view together.
...and I shall carry on writing dovegreyreader scribbles of course.
I must sing the praises of Bookhound this week too, and chocolate and hot water bottles, and a pile of good books... and the Hudson Bay blanket, and the right week to remember the pair of long thermal socks I had for Christmas, and to sleep (at all the wrong times, my circadian rhythms are in complete disharmony, but it matters not if I don't have to work) and to sit by a woodburning stove.
As if by magic a Retirement Kit arrived from the Knit Angel last Monday morning and it included this...
A tiny little hot water bottle in a doodle-scrumble crochet cover. Now I knitted a few of these for Christmas gifts but nothing quite to this standard, and this one cleverly lined with thermal wadding so it retains the heat for hours. It has proved endlessly fascinating, almost in a Mandala-type way... encouraging my fingers to follow the patterns and the ridges and it has been clutched to my person day and night for a week.
I have put prize-judging reading on hold for a few weeks in order to read what I want, not what I must (though I am enjoying some of the submissions very much) because reading for pleasure always has to take priority at times like this.
I have almost finished Emma and will have plenty to say about my revitalised Jane Austen encounter.
And as if by more magic a proof copy of The Last Runaway also arrived in timely fashion. This is Tracy Chevalier's new novel that she talked about at Port Eliot festival. Treats in store with this when it is published in March, I am loving it.
Oh and I almost forgot. I did do one thing... I made a cake, blame Mary and Paul and the Bake Off. Just a bog standard all-in-one Victoria sponge, left the food mixer going while I went to sort out the washing machine and forgot about it for a while. Slopped it into the tins, threw it in the fan oven (Aga hopeless for sponge in my limited experience) and out popped one of the very best cakes I have ever mustered... has to have been the steroids.
Ambrosia, food of the Gods on a cold January day and, blessed with the nectar of a forgotten jar of spiced bramble jelly found on the top shelf of the larder, it was soon disappearing...
So there we are, that's caught us up, almost back on schedule... please consider the new 'normal' service is now resumed, and how very lovely it is to be back and talking to you all again.
Are you still there??
What have I missed??
Cake...snow...hot water bottles where you are??
Or is it so hot you don't know where to put yourself??
Joys and pleasings ??
You know I can't bear to miss a thing...