January ramblings

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This has felt like the longest month ever. It seems like an age since the Christmas decorations were up and I was rather dreading taking them down, to plunge the house into January gloom. A horrible head cold floored me for what felt like forever, but I still managed to get out on the brighter days.

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The first two weeks were spent mainly lying low and getting some writing done, but a visit to the new Deal Kitchen café on the pier provided glorious views on a sunny day.

Mid-January I headed to Rye to meet a friend, visit the Ypres Tower and generally wander through the streets, admiring the buildings (and marvelling at the contrast with a previous visit on a sunny summer’s day years ago). The following day, after a muddy woodland walk, I had a welcome veggie curry at the Goods Shed in Canterbury.

Flowers inside and out helped to lift the January blues – some of the most beautiful roses I’ve ever received (a gift for storing logs and a chicken house for a neighbour…) brightened, and scented, the dining room. Outside, winter honeysuckle offered a few tentative blooms, as did the Daphne odora by the front door.

On a chilly afternoon I gave my first-ever library talk in Sandwich Library, full of nerves, but supported by friends and a lovely audience. There were at least three people there with Yorkshire connections (the books are set in west Yorkshire) and the questions I was asked at the end showed real interest and engagement. I came away feeling quite buoyed up – so good to have face-to-face contact with real people, rather than social media conversations.

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We had some spectacular sunrises, not always easy to catch via my phone camera, but this one was particularly special.

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Still on the subject of skies, the day leading up to the lunar eclipse (the last for 29 years?) was a chilly one. The moon over the sea was spectacular and I managed to catch a glimpse of the super blood wolf moon at 5am in all its glory. A small orange ball in the sky, I couldn’t photograph it, but at 7am it was a huge silver disc, vanishing over the horizon. And it gifted us a really sharp frost that took most of the day to lift.

A glorious sunny walk along the River Stour heading out of Sandwich towards the sea was followed by a day of snow, sleet and gloom.

I spotted my books on offer in The Works and I got my first statement via PLR from the libraries, showing 1200 books borrowed in around 5 months (mainly for one title), which felt like a real achievement. I did my second library talk, in Broadstairs, and was so flustered by arriving with only minutes to spare after unexpected road closures caused terrible traffic delays, that I failed to take any photos. But it was another great audience and a little less daunting than the first time!

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In the final days of January, a sunny walk in Deal was accompanied by a windchill of what felt like minus 5. But, with a trip to India just days away, I can hardly complain…

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