Farewell, January. The extra minutes of daylight that February's arrival brings are already having an energising effect on me.
I ended January at my parents' house, the acres I grew up in suddenly covered in snow. I think it quite fitting that in a month that is so much about making things new, I can return to square one and be reminded of the things that are a constant in my life.
When my two day stay is over, I'll have jogged a few miles, gave myself a manicure, checked our car's tyres/oil level/windscreen washer, cleaned a stable, cleaned the stable's inhabitant, reconnected with those nearest, and caught up on sleep in a bedroom that knows me entirely. It's almost like a spa break without having a stranger see me in my underwear. Good.
January saw me kick off my 'Travel at 21' series on this blog - inspired, obviously, by the cities I saw this month. I returned to Kraków, a city that will always hold a strange charm over me, and London, whose charm I always question and try desperately to repel. However, it housed Amanda, Jake, Rosianna, Dodie, Evan, Orla, Tom, Dave, Danny and many others, so I suppose the irony of the big, impersonal city is that it's for its people I am happy to return. I stood as witness on a publishing contract whilst there, the coolest thing my new signature will ever be scribbled on, surely. I briefly shook hands with Brussels and Luxembourg, and ended this month with some serious foot blisters serving as a reminder of all.
What does February hold? Two weeks of living alone, blitz-writing a dissertation, kicking off my final two modules of university, and seeing how long my headstart on the reading list can hold out. My husband returns for his birthday, and we'll continue to conspire to cover the continent before the year is out. February is the shortest month, but a month of Oscars. A month of lovers. And as the Sunday afternoon sun forces last night's snow to drip drip from every surface visible from this kitchen window, I think it's a month of thawing. The seasonal affective disordered winter is letting go, and as it does, I feel like I have a lot more clarity on the future. We'll see.
I just finished reading Chris Guillebeau's 'The Happiness of Pursuit', which I'll review for a Non-Fiction Week on my channel within the next fortnight. I turned quickly to Elizabeth Bowen's 'The Last September', a story of Irish Big Houses that is only fully appreciated when there is unspoiled countryside all around, I think.
I find myself returning to The New Pornographer's Adventures in Solitude, a song I wish I'd written.
I finally got round to seeing Whiplash upon returning to Belfast from Belgium, and I don't think I'll ever forget it. It reminded me of the power of passion. And that I have terrible rhythm.