It’s been a while since I’ve done this. Too long, according to the man.
There are, of course, some legitimate reasons for the hiatus. I spent November writing a ‘novel’ during National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo for those in the know, which now I am. And then, of course, there are ‘the holidays’, bound to consume anyone with a heart, right? Before that, but after my little trip to the Deep South, there were visitors and jet lag and, and, and. . . .
The truth is, though, it’s all a lot of hot air. Or, if we’re to be accurate, a whole lot of rain saturated, absolutely soaked, wade through it in thigh-high gaiters air.
The truth is my days haven’t been full. Well, not full of anything but my own distractions.
My visit to the South was wonderful, really. Good in ways I wouldn’t have imagined. The weather was excellent. Just as hot as I had hoped. Reconnecting with friends was, well, it was fun; it was nice; it was energizing; it was interesting. Spending time with family is always lovely. Lovely, and, let’s be honest, filled with its own stresses and strains. And, in truth, this visit had some added stresses and strains that I hadn’t been prepared for.
Such is life.
Still, it was more good than not.
I did not find the quiet or the solitude I had been craving. People fail to realise that this is not a just a choice of mine, not a luxury, but a requirement, a necessity. People fail to realise that life in a city like London allows one to become invisible, allows people like me to find the solitude we need. Interestingly, moving to the middle of nowhere removes that luxury. It has done for me, anyway. And I was hoping to find a bit of that in September. I did not.
Still, it was more good than not, and I returned tanned and delighted to be back with the man. And the dog. And the cats. And the chickens. And the mountains.
And October brought visitors and fairly nice weather. And that was nice. And a distraction. And a way to put myself into another space and enjoy the company of people I like, people whose presence does not irritate me.
And November brought NaNoWriMo and a little challenge for me. And that was good. And hard. And not always hard in a good way. I want to write; I do. But I don’t want to write the book I sometimes think other people want or expect of me. What I want to write is dark and it’s ugly and it’s really not easy to get into or out of. Is it worth the efforts? I don’t know. The man has just given me some initial feedback. It’s not all bad. There is probably something salvageable in there. I will continue the pursuit.
November also brought rain. And wind. And more rain. And that has not stopped. Of course, yes, there have been moments without rain over the last eight or nine weeks, but not many, and I do not recall a full day that wasn’t damp at best and soaked as normal. People will say: “But what did you expect when you moved to Snowdonia?”. They usually say it with a smirk. Those people are irritating and, frankly, rather ignorant. Yes, it rains here. Yes, the man and I knew this. But, we are, I believe, now in the midst of our third ‘named’ storm since November. That’s unusual even here in Snowdonia. No, we’re not flooded, and for that we are grateful. But we are saturated. And that is tiring. Very, very tiring.
We have had guests over these last few weeks. The Christmas Holidays. Honestly, I’m not a fan. I tire of hearing all the chatter about the wonderfulness of the season. I am exhausted by the buying and buying and talking and talking. Arguing over leaving the ‘Christ’ in Christmas and are atheists allowed to celebrate, while ignoring the fact that the dominance of this holiday discriminates (yes, it does, there’s no way around it) against those of other religions, those who must mark this one holiday over all others, while being forced to use their personal vacation time to mark their own religious festivals. Worn out by the false generosity of the season, this time of year when people go out in droves to serve food to the homeless, as if there is no poverty, no need the rest of the year.
I am cynical.
Bah humbug, she says.
But, I do enjoy an opportunity to see people I care about. To see friends who have travelled from far and wide to mark the occasion.
And this year we got to do that. Twice we had ‘Christmas visits’ from friends. Twice we were able to play ‘Christmas season’ host. And twice it was positively lovely. The comfort of sitting and talking with people who might not be of like minds but who are mindful enough to debate and discuss and relax and enjoy. ‘twas lovely.
Lovely for me, anyway.
Because after they left, these two sets of visitors, I took a step back and looked at this space from their perspective. Imagined what they must have seen. Wet. Wet. Wet. Rain, rain, rain. Wind to blow you away. Quite literally.
Our garden is a mud-based slip’n’slide. The house smells of damp and wet animal. There’s no way to get it out, to get the smell out, that is. There is no way to air the house. Any open window simply results in a wet window ledge. There is animal fur everywhere. I mean everywhere. We are, unsurprisingly to you I’m sure, the kind of people who have fully incorporated our animals into our house. Where we go, they go. They are wonderfully social and loving creatures, and we enjoy that immensely. Of course it also means that we are now also the kind of people whose every piece of furniture is covered either in fur or in a fur covered throw (in an effort to keep off the fur. . .).
Our lovely city house, decorated in a style that can only be described as North London Liberal, is no more. We consciously left that behind, opting for damp and fur and mismatched plates and cups. We’re settling into it. But what oh what must our guests think. I understand the slight panic in their eyes when they first set foot in the house. I love them for letting that go once they settle in front of the fire. I should, I realise now, provide them with lint brushes as going away gifts, so that they might, at least, shed some of the fur before they return to their own clean, dry houses.
And, certainly, now that we’re approaching the end of 2015, I wonder if it’s all been worth it. Now that the dust, or fur in this case, has settled and the excitement of the new is gone, and the second winter is setting in. Was it worth it? Picking up a safe and wonderful and, truly, exciting life in a diverse and cosmopolitan city and trading that for what, for city dwellers like us, is not far from the wild frontier. Was it worth it?
I like to think so. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. And that doesn’t mean that there aren’t times when my mind wanders and my focus veers here and there and everywhere. That doesn’t mean there aren’t times when I lose my focus.
So, that’s what I’ve been up to. What I’ve been doing instead of updating this little space here. I haven’t been busy enough to justify not writing.