This January it has mainly rained.
Nearby Eglwyswrw was in the news for having had more days of consecutive rain (85 days, in total) than anywhere else in the UK for many, many years. Anywhere else IN THE UK, note. Landskeria had 86 days of rain. But we don’t like to brag about it. Our garden has been sodden and inhospitable. Our dog has been reticent to go out. Our clothes have been wet. Our car has been filthy.
Rewinding: Christmas was a lot of fun. We stayed at the Lower Mill Estate in the Cotswold Water Park. It’s a sort of de-Americanised Centre Parcs, or a South English art project conceptualizing a modern middle class utopia. It was a great place to walk dogs, and exercise children. The children had a lovely time, and I actually lost weight, which I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to do at Christmas – but I haven’t died, so it’s probably nothing sinister. I must have got quite unused to regular exercise, but I decided not to make any New Year resolutions this year because last year I made too many plans and kept looking at them and feeling disappointed with myself.
This year I will just try to stay alive. Hopefully it won’t prove difficult. If anything else happens, or I achieve anything, that will be a bonus.
So, what bonuses so far?
Mainly that a cluster of thick white jelly-like substances coupled with small collections of little black balls that look like eggs have appeared in our garden. Extensive internet research has revealed that nobody actually knows what they are. The most likely explanations are that it’s frog-related. The temperature has been very warm for the time of year, and yesterday’s frost was the first proper cold snap of the season. Could it have been spawn laid too early? Doubtful: that usually looks like spawn.
- Frogspawn laid on land, separated and distorted by heavy rainfall.
- Frogspawn swallowed (as part of the whole frog) by a large predator then regurgitated close to the area of consumption in its separated state.
- A white fungus that also happens to have little black fungi underneath it, invariably, and mainly happens next to, or near to, ponds.
- Giant jelly-like creatures living in local space, circling the atmosphere around Earth, somehow fallen from the sky and landed very near ponds or wetlands.
- The government.
What can I say? I’m going for a fox eating a frog and vomiting it up again. But it’s great that nobody actually knows. You’d think someone would. We’ve been around a while. And so have these weird clusters of white jelly stuff. Crazy, huh?
The dog likes it. She keeps trying to eat it, but I won’t let her because I suspect it’d make her vomit.
What other news? Floods and flooding. A new river in the field opposite. We contacted Ordnance Survey about it, but they didn’t seem that interested.
Mum and Keith have moved to Pembrokeshire! That’s exciting. We saw a lot of mum the first week because her internet wasn’t working. It is now, but hopefully we’ll still see her – and Keith too, when he stops working in England during the week.
Sybil is back at kindergarten and enjoying it very much. Fury has decided she doesn’t want to go to nursery just yet, but we might ask her again after half-term. Victoria has been working a lot and going away to London and Edinburgh. I wrote a long, rambling corporate blog post (that turned into a sort of existential tract) for our work website. It’s probably not very SEO, but I think it’s good, which I think is more important.
I haven’t been writing much poetry, but I did knock out a sestina the other night by way of procrastinating and delaying getting on with the novel I’m (re-)writing. I also made a brand new under-stairs table/desk by way of extreme procrastination. But I’m very pleased with it. I’ll post a picture when I’ve finished the under-surface storage compartment. Promoting the book I just published seems like a bit of a lost cause. Not a single reply to the PR email I sent out to all the places I thought (or rather, vainly hoped) might be interested in reviewing it. Never mind. I still love you, book. I’ll send a load of them out anyway – but it certainly seems like there’s no hurry.
I’ve been meaning to do some painting but haven’t found the time yet. Time being elastic (and very stretched at the moment) I’m keen to try and worry less about it, and give myself less hassle for not getting on with things, when I’m getting on with other things. I’ll try and just do what I feel like and see where that takes me. Rather than piling up endless to-do lists and sweating and gnashing my teeth as less and less of the to-dos don’t get to-done.
I had a day off yesterday because the kids were being looked after, so I took the opportunity to walk up a bit of the Golden Road in the Preseli Hills with Uncle Michael and his dog Tatty (and our dog Frida). That was hugely enjoyable, but also incredibly cold. Nice to get a feel for what future jaunts might be like when the kids are a bit bigger. Note to self: bring gloves.
Tractors are outside, on the road – possibly plotting against us, but more probably mending pot-holes in the road. It is a bit of a state at the moment.
What else? Victoria has employed a cleaner once a week, because I’ve been cleaning to an unsatisfactory standard. That’s fine. It’s hard to find the time to clean.
I migrated the three websites I own to another company after Bluehost took £300 from my account on CHRISTMAS DAY(!) for their hugely overpriced “services”. It took ages, and was boring. But I’m glad to have our domains and hosting with another company. You can’t let people get away with that stuff.
The singer from my favourite death metal/death folk band bought a copy of my book. So I’m officially happy for the rest of the month. It’s been a bit cold to hang around in the shed looking at all the unsold copies, and though it’s early days I reckon I will print fewer copies of future books. The money’s all been made back, but I can’t realistically think of a way to sell 80ish copies of the first and 140ish of the second. We’ll see though. Maybe if I try a few more live shows or accidentally write a poem that wins a competition. Or a best-selling novel. There’s still time, while there’s still time.
Oh – I’m collecting audio artworks for a new Doubtcast. Have a think about doing something for that if you like.
Affairs of state are ticking along, but nothing major is in the pipeline at this time. We two joint first ministers need to convene and discuss. Get a map out – push some miniature canons around…
Sybil keeps joking about buying her mother a flagpole for her birthday (knowing how much V hates the idea), so this is a source of constant amusement at dinner times.
I had the opportunity to take Sybil to Carmarthen for a dinner at Prezzo and a film (The Good Dinosaur) at the beginning of the month. We had a LOVELY time, and I hope it becomes a semi-regular thing. Oh – we’ve also been getting Hello Fresh meal-plan deliveries for 4 meals’ worth of… erm… meals… every week. That’s been fun, and meant me cooking more, but in a more organised way. Less pizza. Less wine too; but more whisky. And lots of toast, and toast crumbs all over the place – floor, clothes, cheeks, probably ceilings too…
Sorry for the rather random and hasty order of events here. It’s no kind of historical record. But it’s better than nothing!
The weather is soggy. The environment is mutating. The economy is good.