And here we are, into another year again. Happy festivities everyone and here’s to a cheery, if not prosperous, annee. If the media is anything to go by then it may be a troublesome time with much doom and despondency but we don’t really believe their rubbish anymore, do we? We may or may not even concur with all those global eco-mentalists either when, here in Scotland anyway, its cold enough to freeze a monkey’s bum right now. In our 8 years in East Fife, today is only the second time I have seen snow on the beach and the sea giving off steam, with the distant Isle of May white-over also. The last time some beast from the east had brought it. This time we still blame Greta Thunburg, or the train drivers strike? Gotta be someone’s fault, surely? In France too, some 1000+ miles away, the ground is frozen and poses a threat to the pipes of our swimming pool although thankfully we have a handy young chap living in and monitoring things for us with his gloves on. December was a manic month for me, with 3 new books out in time for Christmas and podcasts being recorded left right and centre before we closed down for a few days’ hibernation. It was a tough time this year since we lost the last of our original animal family together, namely Pooper, who had been a fantastic companion for the last fifteen years. Her time had come but it was still hard to say goodbye.
Now we just have the Haggis or, to quote Terry Pratchett, ‘the big wee Hag!’ who keeps us entertained but is a big scaredy cat when it comes to some cold weather. Considering she is a Border Terrier from the actual Scottish Borders, you really would expect something a bit more hardy. Our few winter months here in Fife go by all too quick but it is good to catch up with old friendships and getting folks round while I ‘get-the-pan-on.’ The crowd of Scotts that came in to watch England bow out of the football world cup were particularly enjoyable although their berets and French outfits were a little unnecessary! It is absurd to realise we have been in this house by the sea for four years already and that the high-speed train of life has passed through so rapidly. I have recently been helping my son move house and the realization that a sixty-something overweight man can no longer lift the heavy goods with ease, let alone keep up with the younger bodies on the job, has caught up with me quite suddenly. My super-recall of names and places is certainly slowing down too. Thankfully I can still out-drink most of them although I am not sure that is a real blessing. In January we are heading to Spain for a few days to stay with friends and get a break from the weather and maybe get some more writing done, as per last year. Downtime is getting more and more necessary but also well enough deserved. Today I am quite pleased as we have had in a craftsman joiner to build us a trophy cabinet. Well, an oak cupboard and shelves where we can display the two silver cups we won last year in pride of place. The jury is still out whether we revisit the battlefield’s next year for another go at the prizes. My heart says no but my wife says yes. We will wait for the sheep to have the final vote on that score. We also have a rugby World Cup to consider, in our back yard in France later in the year. How much more disappointment could we take!