January ramblings

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This has felt like the longest month ever. It seems like an age since the Christmas decorations were up and I was rather dreading taking them down, to plunge the house into January gloom. A horrible head cold floored me for what felt like forever, but I still managed to get out on the brighter days.

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The first two weeks were spent mainly lying low and getting some writing done, but a visit to the new Deal Kitchen café on the pier provided glorious views on a sunny day.

Mid-January I headed to Rye to meet a friend, visit the Ypres Tower and generally wander through the streets, admiring the buildings (and marvelling at the contrast with a previous visit on a sunny summer’s day years ago). The following day, after a muddy woodland walk, I had a welcome veggie curry at the Goods Shed in Canterbury.

Flowers inside and out helped to lift the January blues – some of the most beautiful roses I’ve ever received (a gift for storing logs and a chicken house for a neighbour…) brightened, and scented, the dining room. Outside, winter honeysuckle offered a few tentative blooms, as did the Daphne odora by the front door.

On a chilly afternoon I gave my first-ever library talk in Sandwich Library, full of nerves, but supported by friends and a lovely audience. There were at least three people there with Yorkshire connections (the books are set in west Yorkshire) and the questions I was asked at the end showed real interest and engagement. I came away feeling quite buoyed up – so good to have face-to-face contact with real people, rather than social media conversations.

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We had some spectacular sunrises, not always easy to catch via my phone camera, but this one was particularly special.

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Still on the subject of skies, the day leading up to the lunar eclipse (the last for 29 years?) was a chilly one. The moon over the sea was spectacular and I managed to catch a glimpse of the super blood wolf moon at 5am in all its glory. A small orange ball in the sky, I couldn’t photograph it, but at 7am it was a huge silver disc, vanishing over the horizon. And it gifted us a really sharp frost that took most of the day to lift.

A glorious sunny walk along the River Stour heading out of Sandwich towards the sea was followed by a day of snow, sleet and gloom.

I spotted my books on offer in The Works and I got my first statement via PLR from the libraries, showing 1200 books borrowed in around 5 months (mainly for one title), which felt like a real achievement. I did my second library talk, in Broadstairs, and was so flustered by arriving with only minutes to spare after unexpected road closures caused terrible traffic delays, that I failed to take any photos. But it was another great audience and a little less daunting than the first time!

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In the final days of January, a sunny walk in Deal was accompanied by a windchill of what felt like minus 5. But, with a trip to India just days away, I can hardly complain…

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December ramblings

Horse fieldIt felt as though December was rather a gloomy month, with lots of leaden skies, although looking back at my photos perhaps that mainly applied to the latter half – when I was also poorly. The month opened with me getting into the Christmas mood much earlier than usual, with a bit of shopping at an Open Studio weekend in Deal, quickly followed by putting up the new Christmas wreath, and decorating a large pot plant instead of a tree. A scented candle and a card from my lovely publishers added to the festive feel in my writing room.

There was sunshine to be seen in the first week, with a fiery sunrise one morning. A lovely crisp walk through the orchards and past the horses alarmed the blackbirds, thrushes and maybe redwings feasting on the fallen apples, causing them to take off in frenzied flocks. And the berries on the Asparagus (a new one on me…) added a welcome splash of colour when the skies turned grey.

The writing group I belong to produced an anthology, launched at the Astor Theatre in Deal with lots of lovely readings, and I now have three volumes to dip into, with the most beautiful covers.

Christmas week brought a bit of publicity for ‘Sarah’s Story’, my third book, in the local paper and a delicious lunch at Namaste in Sandwich – Goan fish curry and dum biryani in the photo – was a non-festive treat.

Christmas itself, and the weekend before, was spent with Ellis and family, who provided much joy – as well as a couple of viruses!

I’m writing this on New Year’s Day 2019, which began with some glorious sunshine. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a bright year ahead!