Hello everyone! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Let’s make 2014 a good one 🙂 I feel quite ready to leave the misery of 2013 behind me, and this year I am anew. I’m letting go.
This post is going to overview my time since I’ve been away.
>> To begin with, all seemed well. I was in my old home Salisbury this Christmas (or last Christmas, I guess ?), and on Sunday 22nd December I went to the Cathedral for a service. This service was something I deeply needed: while I was sat there, in the nave of this cathedral, I listened to the choir sing and I watched the candles by me gently flicker, and I observed the deep shadows from the stonework and I felt the camaraderie of the entire congregation… I wanted to cry – not tears of sadness, you understand, but tears of comfort. For me, that service was a great big hug. I didn’t realise until then how big a hug I needed.
Below is some footage from the BBC’s ‘Song of Praise’ which was once at Salisbury Cathedral. If you would like to hear Salisbury Cathedral’s wonderful choir and see it in all its full beauty, please give a moment of your time to watch the video 🙂
>> But then the weather came…. Although this affected the whole UK as we were battered by stormy gale winds and endless rain and flooding, so it seemed, I’ve been extra disappointed by the mild temperatures – for winter, anyway. Christmas Day was wet, mild, bleugh. This weather really has been rather grim, and it still is.
‘They said there’d be snow at Christmas, they said there’d be peace on Earth, but instead it just kept on raining – a veil of tears for the Virgin Birth.’ – Greg Lake, I Believe in Father Christmas
How very apt those words seem for Christmas 2013.
>> Now, for some reason, I can never sleep on Christmas Eve. Obviously because I’m too excited about Father Christmas coming with the presents! I jest. I actually refer to myself as ‘Scrooge’ all the time because I am very un-Christmassy. I cannot remember the last time I felt festive. Contemplative, sober, reflective, peaceful: yes. Festive: no. I also enjoy my own company far too much, to the extent where I often wish I could be alone at Christmas. Isn’t that miserable? I’m so miserable. I am Scrooge, as I said.
Anyway, I couldn’t sleep on Christmas Eve, and was tossing and turning until gone three in the morning. Ugghhhhhh. I wake up early on Christmas Day (6 o’clock), and so because I can never sleep on Christmas Eve, I wake up feeling lousy. Every year. This year (or last year ?) was exceptionally bad. I finally did get to sleep, but I was awoken by, “Jenny, do you want a cup of tea?” I forced my eyes open, dazed and confused, wondering who and what and ehhh ??? You know how it is when you’re woken up. My first thought was, Why have you just woken me up for tea?, but then I looked at the clock. 07:32. I was mortified. And then I was annoyed because I wasn’t woken sooner. I sprung out of bed in an instant. That was my first mistake. I collapsed down to the floor, overcome by the weight of illness. Yep: I woke up on Christmas Day feeling ill beyond words. I felt so ill that I genuinely thought I was never going to get off the bedroom floor. I was so devastated.
You’ll be pleased to know that I did eventually get up off the bedroom floor. I then made my second mistake: looking in the mirror. I was that sickly, pale green. So bad. As I thought I was going to collapse again, feeling all feverish, I could not help but compare myself to the Grinch. That’s how green I was. Thankfully, I wasn’t that ill all too long, and later on I managed to stagger my way down to the living room where I was given a peppermint tea to drink (because I asked for one – it’s one of the few things I can drink when I have a sensitive stomach).
Through the glass doors in the living room I saw one of our chickens, Nova, stood on the patio (yes, we name our chickens, with Nova being short for ‘Supernova’. There is a reason why I named her that. If you would like to know why, let me know and I shall tell you). It is not uncommon for us to find a stray chicken who has got out from their area, so we ignored the fact she was there, saying we’d put her back later. But then I realised something wasn’t quite right… I know she’s just a chicken, but something wasn’t right. I stood up and looked down the length of the garden. And that’s when I saw what was wrong. “There’s a fox!” I screeched. We rushed down to the chickens to find that half of them had been massacred – and we had a fair few chickens. Feathers were everywhere, and their bodies were dotted around the place, with mangled necks and blood from their eyes. Losing your chickens to a fox is awful at the best of times, but on Christmas Day? Seriously, it was not a good morning.
>> Later on in the day, when we came to sitting at the table to eat, I insisted on having a seat I could leave quickly, “in case I need to evacuate the table and throw up,” as I said. I hadn’t eaten anything all day because of being ill, so I highly doubted I would be able to eat Xmas dinner, but I wanted to at least try. I am thrilled to say that the contents of Christmas dinner did actually stay in my stomach, but I had the smallest dinner I think I’ve ever had at Christmas, and I did not enjoy it with quite the same relish. Although I was so disappointed that I couldn’t enjoy dinner properly, maybe not gorging myself to near exploding isn’t such a bad thing. We all eat way to much at Christmas.
>> I managed to be around until the evening, but I was in bed by 9 o’clock on Christmas Day…*sigh*… My Christmas Day was a reflection of my entire 2013 year: pretty miserable. I guess I should have expected no less!
>> Boxing Day was better all round. The weather was better: we had no rain or wind and it was quite chilly! I wore a jumper and everything 😉 And I wasn’t ill – turns out I simply had a one-day bug. And it was also a special day because it was my little elephant’s birthday!! Or Kodi, should I say. He’s an old man dog now, bless his soul. We attempted to get a half-decent birthday photo of me and the dog…
This picture just sums up the whole thing (I am laughing there by the way, I’m not in horrific pain or anything). It didn’t go all too well. It was either a good photo of the dog and a bad one of me, or an acceptable one of me and a bad one of the dog. It doesn’t help that I’m so un-photogenic. I’m not one who particularly cares about appearance – I hardly ever wear make-up and I wear slobby clothes 90% of the time – but sometimes (often) I see myself in a photo and think, Is that actually my face? But hey, at least I don’t have to look at myself all the time, unlike the rest of the world 😉
You see? A nice one of Kodi and a bad one of me. Look at the state of my face. I don’t even know what I was doing. (Don’t mind the other dog in this one)
And again: you see? An acceptable one of me but Kodi isn’t looking at the camera.
We took a million pictures, and we have one that is half-decent.
And one that is decent:
I hate my face in this, but we are both looking directly at the camera! Therefore, it is decent. Anyone who has tried to take a picture of or with an animal will understand.
>> And then New Year came. I never do anything for New Year, and 2013 was no exception. I just sit at home and reflect. I wrote this on my Author Facebook Page:
Exactly 8 months and 5 days ago, my first novel was officially published. 2013 has proven to be an emotionally gruelling year for me, and on more occasions than I care to admit, I wished that I had never started writing in the first place.
It’s funny where life can take you. Not once did it ever cross my mind that I would have a book available all over the world, with the greatest support coming from the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. I don’t even know how to phrase my gratitude to all who have supported me – it’s impossible to put into words. Thank you all so much.
2013 has been a strange year. Truthfully, I don’t really understand half of what’s happened. Although it has not been the best (or happiest, should I say?) year for me, I cannot deny that it has been a hugely significant one. One I will not forget.
Despite wanting to give up on the Ilimoskus trilogy many, many times this past year, I am entering the new year with renewed motivation and determination. I am currently redesigning my website; it may be an awful lot of effort, but it will be far better, neater, and contain much more information. It’s definitely worth it. As well as a new website, I have plans in place for more promotion, and I’m going to crack on with writing Book 2. I’ve neglected the second book way too much over the past 6 months.
Whatever it is you may be doing tonight, I hope you enter the new year with a smile on your face, and I hope that smile lasts the entire year. I wish everyone all the best for what is yet to come.
2014? Bring it on! 😉
Let’s make it a good one.
In other news:
>> I’m going to be a way from posting for a little bit (again, I know, I’m sorry). And this time round, I shan’t be lurking in the world of WordPress anywhere near as much. I’ll probably be back in the latter half of January.
>> Between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, I had a total burst of inspiration and wrote a few poems, which hasn’t been the case for an awfully long time. Darling Moon was the last poem I had written, and that was the first poem I had written in months and months. I also went back over old poems and really polished them off. This spark of poetry was welcome. I won’t lie, one of the new poems I wrote is… a little bit… different, I guess? Even I’m not entirely sure what’s going in it, so if I ever decide to share it with you, good luck! 😉 I really like it though, purely because it’s so different from my usual thing!
>> Once upon a time, I said I was never going to design my own website again. I am hopeless with technology, I get stressed out due to being hopeless, and it was such a lot of effort I can’t even… So, the fact I’m RE-designing my website… What am I doing? The other day, I spent ten hours on it. Ten. And that was merely a small scratch on the surface of all I need to do for it. I genuinely think I might go insane. But it’s coming along well! It’s already a billion times better than my old one, so I’m looking forward to sharing it with you all!
Thanks for reading, everyone! This hasn’t been a particularly interesting post, just boring information about my life. But maybe there is something you can take from this… Or maybe a few things:
1) Just because my Christmas Day wasn’t ‘perfect’, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. We all plan for that perfect Christmas, but there is no such thing as perfect, so why do we try to achieve the impossible? My Christmas Day was life. It wasn’t a pretty scene on a Christmas card, nor was it an ideal chapter in a book: it was real. And despite the upsets and disappointments, we all smiled still. So if your Christmas Day wasn’t ‘perfect’ either, don’t worry 🙂 For it was real, and that’s the best thing it could possibly be. And as long as you smiled, surely that’s all that matters.
‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’
It may have seemed hopeless that we were going to get a decent picture of Kodi and I, but we kept on trying, and we succeeded. Don’t give up on something important to you 🙂
3) No matter how cruddy things have been for you, it will get better! I have entered 2014 with such hope, but it is not just any hope: it is a unique and special hope. So much so that 2014 is already my best year yet 🙂 If you are low or down or struggling, keep holding on! Even if you are holding onto hope by one lone, fraying thread, you are still holding on, and therefore it can and will get better! What is life without hope?
Best wishes for your 2014!