Hello, I hope you and yours are all safe and well. The rates of infection are running so high that I fear you may not be. These are scary times.
I am not coping as well with this lockdown as I did last year. Last March the Best Beloved and I found a good routine within a few days but this time it's harder, largely because we can't use the garden. It's simply too cold and if it's not too cold, it's too wet. He has been furloughed so we are both at home together, indoors, and I have flumped about in a listless fashion, drifting from one thing to the next in an unstructured way which really doesn't suit me. January is a month in which we usually celebrate several family birthdays and the fact that we can't get together at the moment has been hard to bear. This unhappiness was compounded by the fact that I have spent a large part of the month trawling through eighty years of family photographs and remembering wonderful family holidays and parties, which really rammed the point home, although I continue to find something positive in every day which really is saving my sanity. So, here is most of what I have been doing this month.
January really is a month for being cosy indoors so every evening I light up the candles and lanterns on the mantelpiece and enjoy the glow. All over social media people seem to be looking for spring but it's not spring, it's winter, and I learned a few years ago that if I accept that fact and embrace it I'm going to feel much better about it. In a few weeks' time I shall be looking for daffodils on the mantelpiece but right now, candles are what I want.
At the top of my stairs, in the small space we rather grandiosely call "the landing", there is a bookcase and A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth has been glaring at me in a challenging manner from the second shelf for about fifteen years. Every time I climbed the stairs it reminded me that it was waiting for me. This book is 1,474 pages long which is why it has been on the To Be Read shelf for so long, I'm not a fast reader and I simply couldn't face it. When I decided to read longer books in 2019 I planned to build up to this one towards the end of that year but my resolve crumbled when I got there. However, at the beginning of January I decided that I felt ready to tackle it and if it's the only book I read this year, that will be fine. I started reading it on 2nd January and I am enjoying it very much. I'm more than halfway through and hoping to finish by the end of half term on 21st February but if I don't, I shall just carry on enjoying it until I reach the end.
I am knitting a jumper for Tom Kitten. It won't fit him until next winter so I'm not working to a deadline and I'm really enjoying the relaxed pace. It's ages since I've knitted anything like this and I'm not the best knitter in the world but the yarn is a merino and cotton blend which is a dream to knit with (I bought it in a sale last summer). I have remembered that I like knitting cables.
I have made some gift tags out of the Christmas cards. It's a very simple but very satisfying thing to do. When I was young my sisters and I used to sit around the dining room table together doing this, with pinking shears if my memory serves me right, as my mother crossed the senders off her own Christmas card list and this is the first time I have done it for many years. With something good on the radio to keep me company I spent a very happy afternoon. I am also enjoying the eco-virtuous glow of upcycling.
I very rarely bake these days but the baking tins came out twice this month. Firstly, I decided that it was time to introduce my Salopian grandchildren to their county dish, fidget pie. It went down very well and Tom Kitten was delighted to see that I had adorned the pie with their initials. Obviously, he had to have a slice with the T. Cottontail wolfed hers down in about five seconds flat and I shall definitely make it for them again. The second bake was a special cake, a streusal layer cake, my father's favourite baked in his honour because on Sunday we were
Celebrating Dad's 80th Birthday
Lockdown birthdays are difficult but Dad assured me that he had a lovely day. During the afternoon thirty-four of us gathered on Zoom to celebrate with him and my mother - all of his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and associated in-laws as well as my aunt and uncle. Some of us had baked birthday cakes and made special desserts, there was fizz and one of his grandsons had prepared a quiz. I felt very emotional afterwards because we should all have been together physically rather than digitally and I may have had a little cry. I also ate cake, and I have eaten cake again today. It is a delicious cake.
So that was January. Yesterday morning I woke up feeling strangely energetic and I put away my crib and Christmas decorations. Today is Candlemas, the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and I have a little plan to mark the day.
Take care and stay safe.
Love, Mrs Tiggywinkle x