I’m pretty sure that a year ago I wrote something like I can’t believe that it’s the end of January already. This year I’m glad it is and this month really feels like it’s been dragging. We’ve had a few unexpected things happen that has made the month more stressful than it might otherwise have been and some of these are going to be expensive to put right. Others just are, and there is little that we can do about them for the time being.
Firstly we had the boiler in our “new” house serviced and discovered that there is a small problem with the gas supply. The problem is not urgent but is going to need to be fixed and will cost quite a bit to put right. On the positive side we also had the chimney swept and can now use the wood stove. I have mixed feelings about this as I have concerns about the air quality and climate change issues surrounding it but it has been a definite boost to morale and when our tumble dryer broke a helpful way to dry clothes.
We also discovered that the old conservatory has a leak somewhere and this will also need to be attended to, probably means we need to replace the building itself. Again more expense.
Most recently we have had groundwater flooding. This is basically where the water table reaches such a height that it breaks the surface of the ground and causes flooding. It’s not been as bad as I know it can get, but it has meant that we’ve had to be careful with out water use as it has impacted on our sewerage system. I’ve had to rig submersible pumps and think about things that I’ve not had to for some time and would really rather weren’t an issue. Other houses in the local area are much more badly affected by it, but sometimes it is difficult to see beyond your own immediate experience.
All of this has made January feel like it was never going to end and why I’ll be glad when the days start to lengthen and the weather gets warmer. I’ve realised how much I hate rain. It has become something we are hoping will not happen (as this exacerbates the flood impacts) and it has had a big impact on my mental health at times.
I’ve had a little less time to read this month and have mostly been sticking to crime novels. Nothing has really jumped out to me as something that I think I should mention here, some were better than others.
We haven’t been watching much TV, and in reality what we have watched was catching up with things we didn’t watch over the Christmas period. Christmas specials of All Creatures Great and Small and The Detectorists as well as other shows that we would normally watch if they were on as well as highlights such as The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse and reruns of the Wallace and Gromit claymations.
I have made a little bit of progress in the garden when it’s not been too wet or cold to get much done. I’ve managed to start to repair the raised beds that were already here and have recently discovered that I have more spare bits than I thought I did so will be able to do some more work on these in due course. I’ve also made a start on this years crops with potatoes that are chitting ready for planting towards the end of March (hopefully) and some onion sets and other seeds ready to get started in the next month or so.
It’s been a quiet start to the year which wasn’t entirely unexpected, but I do need to get things going again and get some income in (as mentioned above we have some unexpected expenditure on the horizon). I had a meeting with a client at the end of the month, which was the first time that I’ve seen them face to face since before the pandemic.
This still remains one of my highlights and daily walks have really helped my mental health and deal with some of the low points over the last few weeks. It’s hard to overstate how much this is one of the pleasures of living here now.
In other news I’ve reached the Fiftieth post in my Fifty Things From Fifty Years newsletter and decided to keep going. You can read more about what that means here. It might also have an impact on what happens here to, here’s what I wrote about that:
Away from the newsletter I’m thinking about using my blog more. Perhaps as more of a status update or more immediate news. I haven’t quite thought this through. You can also subscribe there (if you really want an overload of me in your inbox) or use an RSS reader or just stop by now and again. I’m thinking of this more as a replacement for Twitter unless by some miracle that’s rescued by someone sensible, which seems increasingly unlikely.
Well I think that’s it for this month, thanks for reading, stay safe and take care. Expect the occasional extra post over the coming weeks as I adapt to my new ideas about how this site will be used.