New Year, New Start

Isn’t the tree *beautiful*?

Welcome to a shiny new year. What are your plans for the coming months?

We had a decent, relaxing holiday, with a very busy first half and a very lazy second half.

The Saturday before Christmas was perhaps our busiest day. This was the day we went out and did ALL of the Christmas shopping. We went out during the day to buy all of the Christmas gifts and wrapping paper and non-food items for the festive table.

On the way back we made a detour to a Christmas tree farm and finally bought our Christmas tree. They were just closing and we had to go into the field and choose one for them to cut down. Unfortunately, he didn’t tell us the price until he’d already cut it and we felt obliged to buy it.

Fortunately, we still had enough cash to pay for it. But we have to say – and so did everyone else who came to the house over the festive period – that it really was a beautiful tree.

Then we went out again on the evening to do our festive food shop.

Sunday was spent cleaning and tidying the house until it was spotless as well as wrapping all of the gifts and trimming the beautiful tree.

On Monday, Christmas Eve, we went down to Solihull to visit my mom and to drop off a present to our newest family member – our first great-niece. (My sister was going to see our mom on Christmas Day.)

On Tuesday, Christmas Day, first of all we went out to collect the poet’s mother, then we went to visit those kids we wouldn’t be having dinner with – they were going to either their other grandparents’ or to their outlaws’ this year. We picked up Son #1 and went back to ours for a wonderful Christmas dinner.

Both the poet’s mother and Son #1 agreed that the tree was beautiful.

On Wednesday, Boxing Day, Son #2 and his fiancée dropped in for a visit, and to see the beautiful tree. Then they took Son #1 with them to their mother’s for the afternoon.

On Thursday, we took the poet’s mother home, and we wormed the dog. (This could be significant.) By the time we got home again, I discovered I’d sold a short story to My Weekly, one that I’d completely forgotten I’d sent them. That was a lovely surprise.

The plan then was to go out for a walk, for an alphabet adventure, or just to blow the cobwebs out. But I don’t believe we left the house again until Saturday evening when the poet’s band had a gig. His bass guitarist picked him up at about 6:30pm and marvelled at the beautiful tree from outside through the window – he hadn’t even been prompted! I left a couple of hours later to join them.

When we got home, the dog had been sick. Everywhere. Both cats were already getting over colds, and now the dog was throwing up. We weren’t sure if it was a green plastic squeaky toy he’d got in a stocking, or if it was the worming tablets. But the poor thing wasn’t very well at all.

The following day he was sick a few times more, and green plastic did indeed start to feature … as well as a red substance that had gone all the way through him. It took me some time to remember there had been a stuffed robin in the same stocking that hadn’t even lasted 5 minutes before going in the bin.

By Sunday evening, the recent local tummy bug also arrived in our house via the poet. And the dog was sick again during the night. So our “going out” plans were scuppered for the rest of the holiday.

We had planned to go into town on New Year’s Eve, but we were determined to go out somewhere at least one day over the holiday, so we stayed in NYE in order for everyone to feel better by Tuesday morning. They did, and so we headed off to Cleethorpes, where we enjoyed a brisk walk along the beach on a crisp, sunny day, and we had fish and chips in the car followed by seaside doughnuts (bigger than mini-doughnuts, but smaller than regular doughnuts).

Then yesterday evening the poet discovered that he’d won a fishing prize, and a decent one at that. What a great way to start the new year, with a sale for me and a prize for him. Perhaps the tide was turning …

… until the dog was sick again … and the tummy bug reached me at 5:30 this morning.

So far today, the dog has been fine again, I’ve been okay since 5:30am, and the poet went off to work only feeling a bit tired. Saying that, it’s already dinner time and I’m still in my dressing gown and have only just felt like a bit of breakfast.

I’ve done some work (it’s amazing how much you can still do while still in your dressing gown), but already the “new start” diary has gone a little awry. Fortunately, it’s not cast in stone and only written in pencil, so I can rearrange things to suit the circumstances.

I didn’t finish the client edit before the holiday, so that’s the first proper job this week. I didn’t complete any of the book proposals either, so those will be next on the list. Then I have 2 other proofreading jobs in, both of which need to be back with the client before the end of the month. I was going to do a confidential assignment this week too, but I doubt now I’ll have the time. Hopefully there will be another one for me to do next week.

Once the urgent work has been caught up with, I’ll crack on with finishing the 2 books I want to get to final draft 1 and published stage, respectively. I’m also back working on short material again and currently sorting through which to keep and which to discard completely or put away until another time.

This weekend we’d like to manage that walk we didn’t over the holiday, and we may go and visit my mom again. We’ll also be dismantling that beautiful tree.

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