At last January is crawling toward its close. Next week will be February which sort of gives us hope for March. Of course March will still be snowy but then we will concentrate on April and the possibility of a daffodil. January is the longest month of the year by far. It seems inconceivable that Christmas was only about four weeks ago. Talking of which, we still have not been able to get to Ottawa to spend a belated Christmas with the kids and grandkids. Their pressies are still all sitting wrapped in their Christmas finery in a corner of my bedroom. We are going to try for Christmas in February next weekend.
I will not write about the weather, I will not write about the weather, I will not write about the weather. There! I’ve got that off my chest
So what on earth is there to write about? The cat and I have cabin fever but Joe doesn’t seem too bothered. Because of the weather - sorry, lack of humidity, I have been having frequent nosebleeds, culminating in a great big gusher and a night in hospital. Since then I have been stuffing my hooter with Vaseline and the problem is no longer. Who knew? Feels sort of weird though.
It’s been a busy month for me work-wise as January is the month I put out my client’s six-page (personally addressed to over 12,000 recipients) newsletter. Working from home suits me very well. I have never responded well to a regimen of any sort and work best to deadlines – no doubt a trend acquired in my editorial days. Working on a magazine in the olden days, we were required to produce two issues a fortnight. So, we partied for a solid week and then worked our arses off the second week. The system worked just fine!
In our icy fastness - sorry, nice little bungalow – here on top of a hill in Bancroft, I have an office in the rec room downstairs, looking out at the snow pretty white stuff and the starving black squirrels. At least they claim to be starving so I feed them bits of dry bread etc. I think some of them are nesting in the barbecue which stands by the back door and is well draped by a heavy cover. We’ll find out sometime in May I expect.
When not busy working on my computer, I have been playing on my laptop. The laptop as its name suggests, can be played upon while sitting on the sofa in the living-room. Which is a nice break from sitting in my chilly – sorry, climatically challenged – office. I have no idea how it occurred, but somehow I have found myself at a Facebook site called Old Broughty Ferry. BF is the seaside part of Dundee where I was brought up so a lot is familiar. Old school photos from primary days pop up, I found mention of many places I used to hang out and best of all, I have received an invitation, from the owner himself, to revisit the Italian ice cream parlour where I had my very first summer job when I was sixteen. I remember being comforted by the old man, the original owner of the establishment , when I was sobbing my broken heart out, having been ditched by some now unremembered boy. I recovered quite quickly though as he assured me I would! Visocchi’s is now an award-winning establishment with its own master gelatier. It has been there since 1954!
As I write this, thoughts of haggis, neeps and a good malt whisky are filling my head. I could even imagine smelling such a feast if my nose weren’t full of Vaseline. For years I have been threatening to celebrate Burns’ Nicht with a complete enactment of Tam O’Shanter (actually wrote O’Shatner – good grief, not that!) for Joe’s enjoyment. Joe, however, maintains that he would not much enjoy it. He doesn’t drink whisky so cannot be relied to get into the mood of the occasion. (Mind you, I’d be very distressed if he decided to read Hungarian poetry to me, with or without the numbing effects of alcohol.)
Being confined to the cabin by the weather – sorry, elements – always brings us to consider the prospect of holidays ahead. So what to do, where to go? For a while Joe was pining for yet another last trip to Hungary (very like Frank Sinatra’s final concerts) – he still is, I suspect, but it gets less practical every year. Joe is now 80 and I am 70 so the cost of medical travel insurance has soared through the roof, more than double the cost of flights! I have been there twice and we have travelled quite a bit within the country, but the language problem still looms large for me when Joe visits his relatives – and that is really why he wants to go. So for now, that is not on the cards. We have booked a few days at a most lovely winery inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake around my birthday at the end of May and will see a play or two at Shaw and Stratford festivals. Must see what’s on. I know that Lear is the major (but by no means only) production at Stratford. Colm Feore is playing the old geezer. I saw Christopher Plummer doing Lear there about 10 years ago and he was absolutely stunning. I will never forget it.
On consideration, right now I would be happy to spend the summer pottering in my garden which is now quietly sleeping under its fluffy white blanket of snow – sorry, you know what I mean. Snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils are storing up energy for spring and moles and beetles are scurrying around underground eating the roots of our dreadful lawn (also known as the dandelion patch). Am thinking about installing a thyme lawn instead. Would take a while to mature though… I am now having summer dreams of dancing around barefoot in a cloud of fragrant herbs, being eaten alive by Bancroft’s amazing variety of ever-ravenous bugs.
Before I go and cook and liver and onions for dinner, I leave you with a wee bit of Rabbie Burns
“Some hae meat that cannae eat
Some hae nane that want it
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the lord be thankit”
And that is about as religious as I get, folks.
Cheers – got my Glenlivet! Hic!