December ramblings

Weather 3Another very wet month, with many gloomy days – so I’ve chosen photos that picked out the rare moments of beautiful sunshine, sparkling frost or stunning sunsets. After an election month, let’s hope the rainbow signifies better things on the horizon…

It was a month with plenty going on – the best meal of the year, for example. At the Salutations restaurant in Sandwich, in the company of my book group – a lunch beyond compare, with an amuse bouche of cauliflower pannacotta and beetroot jelly, carrot soup with onion bhaji (totally undersold by this description), fillet of sea bream with a crab ravioli on a bed of fennel, and a dessert featuring a frozen soufflé (from memory…), cracknel, coconut and lemon curd ice cream. Wonderful flavours – now just need and excuse to plan another visit…

Christmas has to be a big feature of this month, of course. It’s always fun to visit a glamorous bar in London and to put up the decorations and transform the house with some sparkle and glitter.

The best bit, though, was witnessing a 22-month-old’s puzzlement and delight in Christmas. From decorating the tree to being taken on a visit to a scary man with a white beard, wearing a traditional green Santa Claus outfit …

to getting presents as big as yourself and being more interested in a refuse truck than your Christmas lunch, there were so many new and exhausting experiences. And it was such fun to watch.

The days between Christmas and New Year, when every day is surely Sunday, were, with rare exceptions, some of the greyest days. The perfect time to visit The Turner Prize exhibition at the Turner Contemporary in Margate. It was interesting to see how much two of the artists relied on words in their work: films relating to the incarceration and torture of Syrian prisoners, and to the troubles in Northern Ireland. Being alone, apart from the ‘guard’, with the papier mâché figures was pretty spooky, while the room-filling installation by Tai Shani was curiously compelling.

Tate 1Later that day, it was on to a New Year’s Eve party and my first experience of the countdown to the New Year at the Timeball Tower in Deal, waiting for the timeball to drop and the fireworks to begin.

Christmas brought the page proofs for my new book, too, The Margate Maid, due out in March. Exciting times – Happy New Year everyone!

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