Into 2021

I’ve failed to document the last couple of months in my usual fashion, so I’ve run them together with the usual focus on the photos. I can’t keep track of which tier we were in and when, but in December the shops around here were allowed to open, while pubs, cafés and restaurants stayed closed. I put my tree up at the start of the month and hung a Christmas wreath on the door in an attempt to lift the mood. My log burner was fitted – I was hugely grateful for it in the weeks to come.

I began to plan a new novel and alighted on a local street as the focus for part of it, intrigued by the narrowness of both roadway and houses (on one side) and the variety of the buildings on the other.

In common with the whole country, I was focused on the promised window for Christmas celebrations, since everything else in our area was banned. The plug was pulled on that just a few days before – the rainbow over the sea on 23rd December and the arrival of large print copies of The Margate Maid were a couple of moments of brightness at a tough time.

With my planned trip to London cancelled, I did at least manage to see friends who had recently recovered from the virus on Christmas Day. And the family gathered in London and India via Zoom. The period after Christmas, always a difficult one, was redeemed by walks, edits on Book 3 of The Margate Maid trilogy and the prospect of being able to spend a couple of days with family at last. When it wasn’t wet it was cold, but we got out to the beach all the same, and Ellis even had a picnic!

January continued cold and wet, along with gales and a couple of named storms. Publication day for the paperback of A Maid’s Ruin was windy but sunny – a good day for a bracing walk along the beach to Broadstairs. And a glass of something fizzy to celebrate the following evening.

Spring flowers and lovely publication day flowers from my publisher, along with noticeably lighter afternoons, held the hint of better days to come as January rolled on.

A truly spectacular sunrise on a frosty Sunday morning had me out of bed and on the beach by 7.30 am – it was hard to do justice to the subtleties of the ever-changing colour in the sky with my phone camera, but the feeling of witnessing an amazing event stayed with me throughout the day.

The sunny skies on a beach walk the next day hide the fact that the paths were still slippery with ice at 10.30am and the shingle was actually frozen solid on the shady sides of the holm oaks on the beach.

Other than a slight dusting, which vanished by breakfast time one day, we escaped the snow which blanketed other parts of the country. Ellis, though, was surprised and delighted by his first experience of the white stuff.

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