And so that is Christmas over for another year. I hope, like us, you enjoyed a fulfilling break, however you chose to celebrate it. My gifts this year reminded me that the aspiration to a simple life is right for us. We were very lucky this year – we had some wonderful presents from our friends and family and each other, but the ones that stand out for me are the simplest: a new pair of slippers to keep my feet warm while I work; a mug which makes me feel like a real blogger and chocolate puzzles which kept me, D and my sister entertained and frustrated in equal measure for ages on Boxing Day. Even my cracker gift was perfect – a tiny stainless steel ruler, useless for most people I suspect but ideal for measuring curtain hems for me. Mind you, everyone has to have a bit of luxury in the simplest of lives and the Prosecco O’Clock clock makes me smile every time I check the time. We very much enjoyed the bottle that went with it on New Year’s Eve with our cheeseboard supper.
We started Christmas Day, as many families do, opening stockings, including one for the cats. They were very taken with the idea of having Dreamies on the bed before breakfast and it kept them interested while we opened the rest of their presents on their behalf. Their new toys (3 toy fish in a sardine tin) went down very well and we had a good game together before getting up. After a special treat breakfast for us all (Gourmet for the girls and pain au chocolat for us), we left them to settle down for a busy day sleeping and headed off to my extended family. We spent Christmas Day eating good food in good company (my gravy and stuffing and D’s clootie dumpling were all well received), telling daft cracker jokes and playing charades. A good old-fashioned Christmas that the post-ghost Scrooge would have recognised and very much appreciated.
And so I am beginning 2017 feeling refreshed and inspired. Inspired, not least by another gift from D, Monty Don’s latest book Nigel, which is beautifully written and is the canine version of the book I would love to write. It is, as the blurb says, a love story, the love of dogs, of gardens and the relationships that interweave them all. Nearly everything we have learned about having a garden over the past year, we have learned from Monty Don, through Gardeners’ World and through the magazine that goes with the programme but this is the first time I have read any of his books. The writing feels effortless (although I am sure it wasn’t!) and, although it sounds clichéd to say, it really did make me both laugh and cry. Cats and gardening perhaps don’t go hand in hand with gardening in quite the same way as dogs, and we will never have the 2 acres of garden he has, or the ability to tend it if we had, but that book epitomises everything I am aiming for in this blog. If you haven’t read it, I cannot recommend it highly enough – it was truly inspiring.
I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but I do have goals this year to follow my dreams as a writer, as an amateur gardener and, of course, as a maker of soft furnishings. I look forward to sharing 2017 with you all – the successes and the inevitable disasters, and I wish you all a happy and fulfilled year to come.