Today I have woken up feeling alive. As though for once I have slept all night despite my Fitbit telling me that I have managed just four hours and nineteen minutes of undisturbed sleep. (I think my Fitbit lies).
The dog is restless. Though the wind is chopping up the air outside my door I do believe a walk suitably wrapped in a warm coat and a scarf wrapped three times around my neck might just be refreshing for both of us. I need to get out the house, to escape the drone of the news I can’t switch off while simultaneously resisting shopping. You see lately I cannot resist the lure of all manner of shops, wandering around them aimlessly, buying nothing and feeling irritated by the remnants of sale time. So a walk through the wet leaves of this little town is the answer for there isn’t a shop to speak of, and even I can resist the charm of the post office counter.
But before that I will fashioning little pasties. Short crust pastry enfolding mushrooms, potato and brie to serve for this evening’s meal with a salad of warm cherry tomatoes and smoky beetroot. A perfect nibbly tea for a blowy January night, eaten in front of the television with a glass of non-alcoholic mulled cider.
I love January. I always have. Though I am frequently told that it is the most awful of months, I cannot help but revel in the opportunity to hibernate, to indulge in the gentle bliss of hygge and to gather myself after the whirlwind that is December. I like the silence of the days. The lack of social obligation. The possibilities of the New Year. I like having casseroles slow cooking throughout the day and the fire blazing in the hearth. I like welcoming home family with faces pink from the cold and getting in to bed at silly o’clock to read Nigel Slater and sip spicy, warming Yogi tea.
For I love Nigel Slater too. His books have become January. There is always his latest tome stuffed in my stocking and as, to my mind, no one writes about food with more atmosphere than Nigel, there is nothing I like better than whiling away the quiet hours of each Winter evening with the latest of his Kitchen Diaries, comparing and contrasting our taste in food and endlessly admiring his ability to fashion a meal out of what I would usually consider fridge remnants.
Gosh. I cannot stop thinking about food. About how we are programmed to believe what constitutes a meal. I cannot stop thinking about the way we allow unspoken rules to shackle us. And I cannot stop thinking about moving house. Though this house is showing no sign of shifting and the receiving of viewers is nothing short of a demoralizing drama, in my mind I have already left. As if the marriage is over and I am only waiting for the decree nisi to be signed. As if the sale is but a formality when the heart has already flown on to pastures new. I want to be gone you see. Before Richard is released and takes it in to his head to come looking for us. How odd to want to escape a house I have loved for so long. For that is it: I cannot stop thinking about escape.
Tonight then we will escape to my Dads house. For he will be gone again to my sister’s house and his big, warm bungalow will once again welcome us, pasties and all, for the weekend. So after our walk I shall close the door on this house, neat as a pin, take my Dad to the railway station and then spend the next few days wandering around rooms that do not suffocate my thoughts but instead offer a kind of emotional freedom I did not know I was missing.
We do not know do we? We do not know to what degree our surroundings shape our thoughts until we escape them.
So tonight I am running away, and taking mulled cider, candles, my favorite yellow quilt and the heaven that is January with me.
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