For the first time in 16 years Wellyman and I had a whole 2 weeks off this Christmas and what a joy it was. Apart from my Christmas Eve blog post I didn’t touch the computer for the whole time. There were lots of frosty mountain walks, we met up with some lovely friends and caught up with family, ate more than enough dried fruit in all of its festive guises and snuggled in front of the fire watching films and reading books. But, as I’m realising, the longer the break that harder it is to return to the real world, and the fact that it is January, my nemesis, makes it all the more difficult. Oh to be like Anna Chancellor’s character Lucia in the fabulous TV adaptation of the Mapp and Lucia novels, wafting around in a kaftan, picking flowers from the garden, painting on the beach and practicing Beethoven. *whispers* Between you and me, I’d be fine at the first two but rubbish with the brush and the piano.
Instead I find myself ensconced once again in front of the computer, in my slightly bobbly cardigan clutching a cup of tea as the light fades. New Year’s resolutions might not be everyone’s cup of tea but for me they’re one way of motivating myself and giving me a sense of focus. I’ll be celebrating a significant birthday this year and I’m only too aware of how quickly time seems to pass. I know how easy it is once the routine of daily life takes over to forget to book those tickets for that play, or to sign up to that course that caught my eye. Probably the best bit about having a long break this Christmas meant I had a chance to clear my head. For the first time in months, maybe even a year, my brain didn’t feel like it was constantly whirring with thoughts about work, the house, moving, shopping lists etc.
For me New Year’s resolutions should be an encouragement to do the new and interesting or to pick up something I haven’t done for a while rather than a stick to beat myself with. They should be goals or aspirations but if they aren’t achieved I don’t feel as if I’ve failed. In fact we’re only 7 days into 2015 and I’ve already foundered with one of them. The great thing though is that there are another 358 days left to give that particular resolution a go.
So in 2015 I hope to:
– juggle more. Wellyman taught me to juggle when we first got married but in recent years I’ve let my practice slip so much so I can’t remember the last time I picked up the juggling balls. I was always in that forlorn group of kids left to the end when team sports were being picked. It was fair enough to be honest, I was pretty rubbish when it came to hand-eye coordination. I was always more concerned about self-preservation partly due to a rounders bat in the face on one occasion and being taken out by a basketball to the head on another. So it was a huge surprise when Wellyman showed me I wasn’t a lost cause when it came to throwing and catching. It’s fantastic exercise too, particularly when you’re learning as you spend most of your time picking up the balls that you keep dropping.
– read more. This is one I haven’t had great success with so far this year. I was lucky enough to receive this fabulous stash of books for Christmas. Before Christmas I had developed the naughty habit of working through my lunch break, sandwich in hand showering the keyboard in crumbs, so my plan for 2015 is to spend 30 minutes at lunchtime reading. So far, after only 3 days back at work, the plan hasn’t worked but I’m hopeful that I’ll achieve it at least some of the time.
– make more. Rather than dwell on the number of years I’ll be celebrating this coming birthday I’ve decided to use it as a spur to try my hand at a few new crafts I’ve always wanted to learn. There’s book binding, willow weaving and how to navigate my way around a sewing machine for a start. Hopefully there will also be the completion of my winter project of a crocheted blanket. I’m at about the halfway stage at the moment and starting to think if I ever see another granny square it’ll be too soon.
So where does growing fit into my plans for 2015. Well, I have a feeling it’s going to be a year where my plans have to be very flexible. I’m keeping the allotment for the foreseeable future at least, and I’ll be trying to treat spring and the early part of summer as normal, after that, well, who knows. If I need to dig up and move a cut flower patch mid-growing season well so be it. My blog posts may be a bit less welly/garden based this year as a result of possibly moving so I hope you’ll bear with me. It’s been quite hard reading about everyone’s plans for the forthcoming gardening year on twitter and blogs when I feel in such a state of limbo myself. In some ways the resolutions I’ve picked are a way of distracting myself from this state of mind and forcing me to stay positive about the year ahead. I do have plans though for a series of blog posts entitled ‘Inspired by Nature’ so I’m looking forward to writing those, hopefully you’ll enjoy reading them.
Wishing you all a fabulous 2015. x
I’ll enjoy whatever you decide to write about Louise; I always love reading your blog! I wish you a very Happy New Year too and hope that you will know soon what is happening about your move.
Hi Christina, Aw! Thank you, that’s very kind of you to say. Yes, hopefully things will start to work themselves out over the coming months. We have a bit of a plan but life doesn’t always follow plans. 😉
I can relate to your feeling in limbo with your garden for the very same reason, its an odd way to feel. But your plans to post Inspired by Nature blogs sound really wonderful and I am looking forward to reading them.
It’s such an odd state of mind. Even though I’ve decided to keep on the allotment, it isn’t the same as so much gardening is about the mid to long term. Oh well. Hopefully it will all be worth it in the end. And thank you. I really hope the Inspired by Nature posts are interesting. I need to get working on my ideas. 😉
It’s a difficult time of year to be enthusiastic about gardening, short days, cold, windy and not much growing, never mind flowering. I take heart from Monty Don who sees December as the worst month in the garden and January as bringing hope with it. Thanks for your post.
Yes, it is. Although I have spotted the first snowdrops and daffodil so spring isn’t too far away. I’ve heard Monty say that. I suppose for me Christmas is such a welcome distraction that once it has passed I find January a bit gloomy. But it won’t be long before we start to see longer days. 🙂
Didn’t realise you were 21 this year! Congratulations! It’s a tough time of year isn’t it. I like your approach to resolutions. As an aim to achieve new exciting things not threaten yourself with harsh penalties. I never make resolutions because I never remember to keep them! But I could like you aim to achieve things during the year. So first off, I would like to spend more time visiting family and friends and enjoying time with all the good people in my life. Looking forward to lots of happy times in 2015! Happy new year to you!
Ha ha! 21! I wish. That sounds like a pretty good place to start with a resolution for 2015 and one I want to do more of too. Sometimes was the year gets going, especially for us gardeners it’s almost as if it carries us along and before you know it it’s October and you’re wondering where the year has gone. That’s why I’m spending the next couple of weeks booking courses. 😉 Hoping 2015 is fabulous for you. x
Happy new year, hope it’s a good one. Mick always gets the whole of Christmas and new year off work and it’s the only time when we feel as though we’ve had a complete rest. Even going on holiday can be a bit stressful so I love this time of year for allowing us a complete break. As for new year’s resolutions, I don’t make them myself but instead set myself some fun challenges, much easier to stick to.
Hi Jo. Yes, hopefully 2015 will be good. It’s only the 2nd time we’ve had a 2 week holiday. We can normally only fit in a week. It was so lovely and I think the first time in a long time that we’ve felt so relaxed. Getting back to normal has been a bit of a struggle though. 😉
I will look forward to reading about your Nature inspired posts, your posts are always so interesting. I have given up making resolutions, They always fall by the wayside very quickly, I will just have to try harder, whatever I’m doing.
Happy New Year!
Hi Pauline, Thank you that’s very lovely of you to say. The resolutions are a good way for me to achieve goals. I know what would happen otherwise – I’d have a long list of things I’ve always wanted to do and I wouldn’t have got round to doing any of them. 😉 Happy New Year!
Laura Bloomsbury said:
whatever you write about, it’s always a pleasure to read. Hoping you manage to keep your wellies well planted through the ground shaking event of a move
Hi Laura, Thank you, that’s very lovely of you to say. As for the move and wellies, well, who knows but I’ll try and keep growing regardless. Happy New Year. 🙂
Charlie@Seattle Trekker said:
All birthdays are significant and special…Time for another cup of tea, life is to be enjoyed and to be savored.
Hi Charlie, I so agree. That’s why I like to make my resolutions, it helps to focus my mind on those things I’d like to do and achieve in amongst all the stuff which needs to be done. 🙂
David Marsden said:
Sounds like you had better weather than us, Lou. We were up in the Lakes for Christmas week and only had a little sun – and lots and lots of rain. But we did get up on the Fells three or four times which was great. The 11 hour drive home wasn’t. Good luck with the move if it happens. You may have said already but will you stay local? And the problem with reading at lunchtime (or so I find) is putting down the book! Dave
I haven’t been to the Lakes for a while now. The last time we were there pretty much the whole week was rained off. 😦 Did you do the M6? It’s such an awful stretch of road, as bad as the M25 now. We got stuck on it coming back from Edinburgh. As for the move, the plan is to move away from here. There are still a few things which are up in the air but we’ll possibly be somewhere near Bath. As for reading, that’s the problem I have with reading at night and I’m not disciplined enough to stop so I end up having too many a late night. 😉 Lou
David Marsden said:
Yes, four hour tailback on M4 and then another snarlup on M40. How we laughed. D
Happy New Year to you, Louise, and glad to hear you had a good break. I’m not a believer in New Year resolutions as such, but I do find New Year to be a time when I naturally re-focus on my aims for the future and set out my action plans. Or is that what New Year’s resolutions are? Anyway, after our spate of home improvements, I’m glad to say that I can start thinking about the garden again. And I do have a new design project to plan for. January is all about new hope! Good luck with your moving house!
Happy New Year! Good that you can start the New Year and focus your thoughts on the garden and your exciting new project. Thank you. 🙂
Diana Studer said:
We have moved, but the garden is still half in pots in limbo.
Must. Wait. Till the builders are gone. Before I rush into planting.
Potting up my treasures was one of the ways I got thru that LONG waiting to move time.
And yes, I’ll be reading along as your year unfolds.
I was so keen to start gardening when we moved here that I did make a few mistakes. I’ve told myself I need to be more patient next time. Ha ha! I’m not so sure that’ll happen. ;0 I’m so pleased to hear you’ll reading my posts throughout the year. 🙂 Happy New Year.
Judy @ newenglandgardenandthread said:
It sounds like you have a plan for the new year. I’ll be interested in your new projects as well as your gardening adventures. I’ve been reading a lot thanks to the shelf on my treadmill because I’ve kept my 10,000 steps per day resolution, at least for the 7 days so far. 🙂
Hi Judy, A plan is always a good start. I’m very impressed with your 10,000 steps resolution. I’m sure I don’t get anywhere near that. I like the idea of you multi-tasking, reading whilst walking – fab! 🙂
Excellent resolutions. It’s a good idea to carry on with the gardening until you actually move, I think you’d be sad without it. No doubt you will be able to move things if you need to. I’m very impressed with the juggling, I’ve tried it with no success at all. Bobbly cardigans and cups of tea in the gloom here too. But like you I know I’d be excellent at wafting around in a kaftan. Glad you had such a good Christmas. I love the Brecon Beacons, although I haven’t been for ages. Must go again this year. Wishing you and Wellyman a very happy 2015. CJ xx
It’s good to see that you enjoyed yourselves over Christmas and New Year. Well done on keeping your computer turned off as well.
I generally don’t make resolutions but happily agree with reading more.
One way and another it looks like you’re going to have a busy, and hopefully enjoyable, year.
Thanks, and to you too. xx
Deborah Louise said:
Hello from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Lovely to find this blog. I searched “best gardening blogs”, and there you were.
I left Hertfordshire at the age of 7, but I never left in my heart, and (coming from a long line of very serious English gardeners, not the least of which is my orchid-growing father) I have recently begun to delve into urban gardening. So far, so good. We ate loads of arugula (rocket) and baby spinach last summer, and I actually had anemone blooms to decorate the house on Christmas Day.
I have not seen the new Mapp & Lucia, but the original version with Geraldine McEwen and Prunella Scales was fantastic. Can’t wait to see the new one. I love Anna Chancellor.
I remember hearing once that seed catalogues get a lot of people through the winter who might not ordinarily survive it, so we must trowel on—if only in our dreams for the moment.
Hi Deborah Louise, So glad you found the blog. I’m very envious of your anemone blooms at Christmas, they’re such pretty flowers. I haven’t seen the original Mapp and Lucia but I’ve heard it was good. The new one was a three-parter for the Christmas TV schedule and was brilliant.
I will be turning to my seed catalogues in the next few weeks to make my orders. They are a delight at this time of year, filled with so much hope and promise. 🙂
It sounds as if you had a most invigorating break which you thoroughly deserved. I think that I would have been standing even further behind you in that unpicked group of forlorn kids 🙂 So well done on the juggling prowess, do keep it up and do also make sure that you get that 30 minute lunch break (minimum thereof)! Eating hunched over a keyboard is no good for either your digestion, keyboard or concentration for the afternoon ahead. Lecture over – wishing you a most Happy New Year and I look forward to all your blog posts gardening related or otherwise xxx
P.S. Love the granny squares – such vivid colours.
Hi Anna, The eating through my lunch isn’t good & I chastise others for doing it so I should practice what I preach. 😉 It was such a treat to have a whole 2 weeks off. I’m at the ‘arrrggghhh more granny squares’ stage
but it’ll be worth it when I’m finished. 🙂
And I at least expected a picture of you juggling – but perhaps that’s what the book is going to be, ‘The beginners Guide to Juggling’…. 😉 Perhaps for many of us New year is a time for dusting off our thoughts on all sorts of thing, assessing them and often putting them back on the shelf – although I am sure few of those reading your blog are likely to be satisfied purely with wafting about in kaftans and plucking the odd flower or two (whether or not there is any painting or piano playing going on too). I know I wouldn’t! I do hope you don’t have to wait too long to find out what is happening move-wise though, Louise.
Hi Cathy, Ha Ha ! I’ll run that juggling book idea past the publishers. 😉 No I’m sure they wouldn’t be. I very rarely just watch TV now. I either have my crochet hook in hand or a notepad and pen whilst watching. 😉 We have a plan regarding a move but then there are the vagaries of the housing market. The more I dwell on it the more I’m put off by the idea. ;))
As other have already written, I also enjoy reading anything you write, so shall be looking forward to your non-gardening posts 🙂 – I’m not good with New Year resolutions, but have been thinking about what I’d like to do differently in the veg patch this year and I really hope I’ll be disciplined enough to do at least some of the things. Ooh juggling, my husband’s quite good at it, I’m rubbish, wonder if it’s a man thing?
Happy New Year.
Hi Helle. Thank you, that’s very lovely of you to say. Good luck with the new ideas for the veg patch. It’s good to give something new a go, although I am sticking with a few tried and tested plants this year simply because they are so good and I don’t want to try something new just for the sake of it. I once saw a juggler at Cirque du Soleil juggle 7 balls and she was a lady so maybe there’s hope…. 😉
I too want to stick with the things I like, broad beans, peas, strawberries etc. They just haven’t performed as well as I’d like, so what I meant was that I want to try to do things a bit different, better, so hopefully I’ll get good results instead of two beans here and three strawberries there.
Always good to strive to be a better grower. I do it every year. I’m not sure how successful I am though 😉 Beetroot tend to be my nemesis and last year wasn’t a good year for peas, so I’d love to have more success this time with those veg. 🙂
Reading, yes, and mastering new skills, definitely! I’ve noticed that with the years clocking up, actually since is lost my last parent and then turned a ‘significant’ age, my response to intriguing courses and workshops tends to be “oh, sod it, where do I sign up?” rather than “I’d love to but…” My curiosity and wonder seem to increase with the years rather than diminish and every new season is a time for goals and aspirations in my book!
Have fun with the willow weaving & bookbinding, and have a grand 2015.
Hi Meg, I need to be a bit more like that. I still have a habit of procrastinating about things and then miss the boat. 😉 Thank you. Wishing you a fab 2015 too.
I do sympathise about the limbo effect of thinking about moving. We have had a year of not knowing quite what to do, and that continues. I am trying to reconnect with the garden in 2015. I know gardening is important to my happiness but it is quite tricky to garden without a long term commitment to place. Hope things work out as you wish in 2015.
Thank you! It is hard, partly because I’m sneakily thinking about plans for another garden, one we have yet to find, so it’s hard to focus on this one. Spent this afternoon tidying up the back garden though and it felt good. Hopefully the motivation to make the garden look good for a sale will be enough. I also have added problem of using the garden for work. It’s often used as location for magazines and books which makes it tricky but I’ll work something out. Hope things work out for you too.
I really like your approach to New year’s resolutions Lou, and your crochet squares look lovely, but mostly I just resonate so strongly with your feelings of limbo re the garden. Like Elizabeth I have had similar experiences, and it can be really stressful. I hope the allotment will help, mine certainly did, and I think that the trick is to still do things in your own garden too, albeit not expensive long-term type things. When the future is uncertain, remaining at least a little grounded in my own patch was something I eventually found really helpful. What didn’t work for me was feeling i had to do nothing in my garden, “in case”. I found myself trying to concentrate on the things that I knew I would really regret not doing if I did find myself still there the following year. Things have a habit of taking longer than you hope/fear, and if you do suddenly find yourself moving the excitement will carry you through. I doubt you will regret the addition of a few perennials or pots to make you smile in your current garden. But as ever, your mileage might vary! Any which way I hope you find things become clear for you both sooner rather than later. Uncertainty can be very energy sapping.
Hi Janet, It is energy sapping. It just shows how stability and constants in our life are so important. Anyway, we’ll get there. It’s just the awkwardness of trying to now juggle work that needs access to a garden/allotment and a move which is making things worse. Lots of ideas for work but can’t do them because I don’t know where we’ll be. I know it’ll all work out just would like a crystal ball. I’m taking great heart though in how reinvigorated you’ve seemed since you moved. 🙂
Your two week break sounds wonderful – I spent Christmas with a heavy cold and flu but the enforced slow down at least had the effect of recharging my batteries! I also picked up my half finished crochet blanket over Christmas – and yielded to the temptation of ordering some more wool for it 😀 – I find it very soothing to sit with some crochet but it will be great when (if) it gets finished. Funny you contemplating a move to the Bath area – I was offered a home exchange a couple of weeks ago for a split level semi-detached house in Bath with its own garden. I can’t take it as I’ve just taken on more work locally and I hate letting people down. (The garden wasn’t really big enough anyway, I want one of those 120ft long south facing gardens! Haha – if only!) One day, though, Bath/Wiltshire is an area that definitely appeals to me. I hope this is the year we manage to meet up – I’ll look out for the lady juggler !! Best of luck, Lou, with everything in 2015; one way or another, it will all work itself out. Caro xx
Hi Caro, Oh no! Sorry to hear you weren’t well over Christmas. I definitely think colds are a way of telling us we need to slow down and rest. I ended up with a cold over New Year but fortunately it didn’t come to much.
Crochet is fab. I’m growing as addicted to yarn websites as I am to plant catalogues. 😉 Yes a 120ft garden would be nice. I haven’t as yet come across any on my house searches unfortunately, well, not within our budget anyway. Yes, hopefully we’ll get to meet soon. It’s so lovely to meet up with people after years of blogging. Wishing you a fabulous 2015. Lou xx
Hi there! You have a wonderful blog. I found the photo of your unfinished granny square blanket quite beautiful. My Mom, now 84, used to make granny square blankets and afghans, until the arthritis in her hands slowed her down! I don’t know how many of these I have in my closets, that she might still have, or how many she gave away over the years. On cold evenings I still get one out to huddle under or to throw across the bed. I hope you post another photo when yours is finished!
Hello! Thank you so much, that’s very kind of you to say. I’m still plodding on with the blanket. The last of the 208 squares was finished last night. Now I just need to stitch them altogether and crochet a border. It has been quite an epic project. 😉 Hopefully it’ll be ready in a few weeks time and I’ll definitely post up a picture. 🙂