These pics were actually taken a few weeks ago – but not in summer as they might seem – just back in early November when we had that random heatwave. Feels like a distant memory now though as I’m snuggled up listening to Christmas music on my lovely Roberts digital radio (thanks Mr. Roast Chicken xmas prezzie c.2016).
Now the leaves have fallen and only the red berries remain, pecked at my hungry birds. The shops are bustling with busy people, the markets bursting with locally-produced goods and everywhere is starting to twinkle. This time of year is just magical. Despite the likely outcome of grumpy families and bloated bellies, the anticipation is the human desire to bring happiness and be amongst loved ones. Not gonna argue with that.
This week I have been smiling at:
1. The winter light. Annoying while driving, but magical when illuminating the edges of trees beginning their slumber for the year. This week I managed a really steep buggy walk up to a beautiful little waterfall that I’ve never been to before, even though it’s just a two mile stroll from Ambleside town centre. Maybe due to the gradient it was really, really quiet. I passed a couple of men building a wall, a wellied-woman walking her dog and that was pretty much it as I left the town behind me. I stomped through the puddles and the becks traversing the track until I came to a beautiful little picnic spot by a waterfall and a bridge. The sun was shining as bright as it can for December, and there were tiny little birds (thrushes?) busying about in the trees. The river was almost bursting at the seams to rush down to the lake, and the hills were illuminated with the low sun. It was a morning well spent, and I sat down to my picnic feeling jolly content.
2. Finding time to laugh. It doesn’t take much, but you certainly notice it when it’s not there. Laughing at nothing in particular is good for the soul.
3. Ice skating. I just love it. I’m extremely awful at it, but that doesn’t stop me trying. Our town has installed an ice rink for the season and it’s the perfect excuse for a little gathering of old friends. It even has a German yurt. Are yurts German? It’s definitely a German yurt though – big stews and bratwurst and everything! I digress… We span and fell and grabbed onto the side for dear life. And laughed and laughed. Brilliant.
4. Christmas songs. I’m all about the Christmas songs. I’m all about the Christmas traditions generally. The Carol Service. Getting the fairy lights out. Getting the wreath out. Wrapping the presents and writing the cards. Mulled wine. Mince pies. Stollen. Ringing up old friends. Comforting, reassuring, relaxing, settling, grounding; traditions have the ability to put one at ease if one goes with it. Pass the Quality Streets. Ooh – and the Terry’s Chocolate Orange. I don’t think I’ve ever had a Christmas without a Terry’s Chocolate Orange.
5. Staying in. So you all know I love my yoga. I practice seasonal yoga, which is (funnily enough) inspired by the seasons. So with this being the end of Autumn, we’re in a busy, windy, cold, blustery, unsettled season – bright one moment, torrentially pouring down another. So, we’re told, this is the time through our yoga practice, but also in our daily lives, to settle down, to be still, to nourish ourselves, and to hibernate until things warm up. I had a whole day of autumn/wintery yoga recently and it was fabulous. Made even better by the AMAZING food we tucked into in the middle of the day (think creamy coconut curry and beetroot brownies followed by the most delicious of spiced hot cashew nut millk drinks).
6. Looking after my body. It’s just so important. I find it incredibly difficult to stay ‘on the bandwagon’. I just love wine. And crisps. Chips. Sweets. Afore-mentioned stollen and Terry’s Chocolate Orange. But… Everything in moderation, right? This week I’ve made a special effort to do all the other things – the camomile tea, the hot milk before bed (soporific) and the fruit and veg. All of this is giving me a bit more energy and making me feel a little happier.
7. First. Have you seen it? It’s GERAT. Sean Penn starring in a near-futuristic mission to Mars. So addictive. I watched 8 episodes over 3 days.
And that’s my merry little list.
Hope you are happy and jolly at this chilly time of year and are finding time to remain at peace with yourselves amidst the chaos.