New Year Thoughts

I don't do New Year Resolutions, but pinning up a new calendar seems to generate a bit of reflection automatically.  The first few days of the new year always find me doing a bit of summing up - school report time. What were the high points of last year?  What didn’t go so well?  What do I need to do better?

Walking the dog at Peralta
I’ve just had a blissful Christmas and New Year in Italy, in a borrowed house, with two of my daughters, one son-in-law and five grandchildren.  We cooked, talked, had a few (well, maybe more than a few!) glasses of wine, Skyped absent members of the family, took turns to jiggle the baby, watched children’s movies and played lots of classic games like Snakes and Ladders and Cluedo.  The weather outside was either gloriously sunny or raining for Noah. There were days at the beach and days in front of the fire.  I didn’t get any writing done and haven’t spent much time on the internet.  It was a rare and precious family holiday.

Now I’ve got to get back to work.  There’s a book partially loaded onto Create Space that still needs some editing before we press the button, and I need to write a talk for a Library event in England on Wednesday.  Next week is the centenary of the Lakeland poet Norman Nicholson’s birth and there are a number of events to celebrate.  On Sunday, 5th January at 4.30pm, BBC Radio 4 are broadcasting a documentary called ‘Provincial Pleasures’, narrated by Eric Robson (moonlighting from Gardener’s Question Time) and involving Melvyn Bragg, fellow biographer Grevel Lindop and myself.  So I will be logging onto BBC i-player to listen in.  Hopefully a few people will buy my biography of Norman if they enjoy the programme, especially as it’s available at a reduced price for his birthday week. Fingers crossed!!  There’s a lovely review of it on Amazon by Sandra Horn.

Best bits of 2013?  Visiting my daughter in New Zealand in January.

Spending a week at an eco-writers’ retreat in the wilds of Northern Scotland, where I made so many new friends.

The birth of Lydia-Maya in October.

And publishing Norman Nicholson: The Whispering Poet.

Thoughts for 2014?  Write more poetry. Finish the collection of Italian short stories I’m working on. Find the money to go to Canada to finish the research into the islands of the Haida Gwaii. Oh, and eat less chocolate, drink less wine and exercise more. And because I don't do New Year Resolutions, I don't have to feel guilty if I don't manage any of them!


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