My job is mobile and I split my time working alternate weeks in Norfolk and Nottinghamshire. I drive down country roads, enjoying rural England through the seasons.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Happy New Year, Happy New Decade

I started this last year, meaning to spend a few minutes reflecting on the end of another year, and the end of the first decade of the new millenium we were all so mad to greet just a couple of years ago, and then move on to my new year's resolutions. However, family visits, and general Christmassy activities followed by taking the decs down and then starting back into work on Monday have kind of got in the way of my good intentions.

New Year's Eve came and went in that usual odd combination of anticipation, angst and boredom - both my sisters and their other halves came to mine for the evening meal so the anticipation was on their part and the angst on mine as I'm not comfortable with cooking for large numbers of people (7 is a lot for me to cope with!). But the meal was fine and we all enjoyed it, although to be honest by the time midnight came round I was well and truly ready to tell everyone to go home and let me go to bed -I know, such a party animal as I am!!

Anyway, on to the New Year's Resolutions - which usually fall into 2 categories

First of all there's the usual "I want to look different" one: learn how to dress with style and elegance, to pick and wear clothes that suit my frame and age - preferably with timeless Chanel-like chic. Learn how to do my hair properly, stop my make up from evaporating, running or smudging by lunchtime, keep my nails perfectly manicured and polished. Master the art of walking in heels all day and every day - and then go out in the evening in even higher heels and dance the night away.

Following on from that there is the "I want to sound different" thing: I want to speak with a softer, lower voice, stop stammering and speaking in rushed half sentences, umming and ahhing as my brain tries desperately to keep pace with my tongue, stop shouting on the telephone as if I really do need to project my voice right across the miles between me and the person at the other end of the line. When I meet new people I will be able to make pleasant, interesting conversation, impress them with my poise and friendly manners, make friends easily and often.

A complete make-over and personality transplant in fact!

But as we're now well into the first week of the new year, and I'm still me, still addicted to black, comfortable and slightly grungy clothes, still speaking before engaging my brain and changing my mind half way through, I'm giving up on all that rubbish.

So here are my TWO resolutions for this year.

1) Accept myself for what and who I am, get on with living and stop fussing about it all so much.

2) Develop a habit of kindness; practice again and again and again until I get good at it.

Wish me luck!!!

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Still in a festive mood

So some pics as a memento. I have to admit I forgot to take my normal photos of the dinner table on Christmas day, so the cake shows some wear and tear. But it still looks good I think - mum made it in November and then spent the next month libating it every few days or so with brandy. Very nice!
The cutting of the cake - serious business. My father, like a lot of men, I think, has this thing about cutting cakes or carving meat. It becomes a military operation as he works out the best place to make the first incision, grills everyone in turn about how hungry they are, how big a slice they want, then caculates the angles, the position of the sun and the major planets...
I don't ever have turkey or whole chickens any more - only beef or pork, something off the bone. I can't cope with the stress otherwise.

Friday, 25 December 2009

And so this is Christmas..

And thank goodness for that is all I can think of to say right now. For the next week and a bit I get to put my feet up, catch my breath and have a bit of a rest - and after this past year, I feel that I not only need it, but actually deserve it as well.

Just me, mum and dad for Christmas dinner. We had loin of pork with all the usual roasted and veg stuff - big thanks to Aunt Bessie for the roast spuds, parsnips and yorkshire puds, but the rest was all our own hard work and effort. I feel I have to admit to using frozen and pre-prepared roast potatoes and stuff - both my sisters are kind of smug about how they do all their own roast spuds from scratch. But I'm happy to cheat and make life a bit easier. Having the 3 of us (mum, dad and me) in the kitchen makes for more hands to help, but in fact can make it difficult to get on with things as we end up fighting over the chopping board, cooker and sink if we're not careful. Anyway, the pork was tender and tasty, the crackling perfect, and the whole thing delicious.

After dinner, we watched La Boheme on Beeb 2, followed by a documentary on Botticelli's Mystic Nativity and are now watching CSI - dad can't do without his daily CSI fix, even on Christmas day!! I feel like I won't ever need to eat again - but at the same time my eyes keep being drawn to the tin of mince pies on the coffee table in front of me.

Jasmine is snoozing on mum's lap - with one eye on me in case I get up and go in the kitchen. She spent most of the morning in the kitchen worshipping the oven and feels that a measly 2 or 3 pieces of roast pork are just not enough to keep her from starvation. She has a bowl of her usual biscuits on her mat of course - but they apparently taste like poison in comparison to the pork.

Christmas presents were all lovely - new slippers, handbag, smellies, garden bird feeder structure-thing, jewellery. We opened them late this morning after I had been to feed Jo's chickens and cats. They're away until Sunday, so I took dad with me. The roads were still white and frozen, but the sun came out and made the road and fields glow with a golden haze. Put that together with a complete absence of traffic and it made the 10 mile drives there and back a perfect treat.

I actually read a book yesterday - just an ordinary, off the shelf, pick up and lose yourself in it kind of a novel. I think it's the first I've read since spring when life started to get all busy and complicated. It was wonderful - the story and the book of course, but especially having the time to read, time to lose myself in something outside of studying, shopping, travelling, working, changing career and life, helping kathryn move her horses etc etc. I think that was my Christmas present to myself - and I'm hoping I may even get chance to read another over the next week.