There can be no mistaking that we are now just a day away from Midwinter. The days have been dark and the weather so gloomy, we have been desperate to seek out as much daylight as possible. This last week, more than most, we have endured a run of grey skies and damp misty mornings. In fact, on Monday morning it was so very dark, Lily was questioning the time we were setting off for school. A low mist hung in the valley and it seemed as though it never managed to get light all day.
The weather has also been wild. I never did get around to making a festive door wreath but I'm not concerned. In fact, if I had hung one on the door, I would have been amazed for it to have withstood some of the howling gales and lashing rain which have been battering us here in the north. The kind that keeps you awake at night hoping all the roof tiles will still be intact by the morning. Small branches have been scattered across the roads and I even had to stride over a fallen tree earlier in the week.
At the weekend, we went for a walk through the woods. This short circular route is one of our favourites, possibly because it was one of the first ever walks Lily managed all by herself when she was a toddler and also because it is close to home. Even when the weather isn't so great, we can be back home, warming our toes by the fire before we know it. It all seems quite effortless now, seeing as little legs keep growing all the time, but it felt good to blow away the cobwebs and there is still beauty to be found there, even in these darkest of days.
I'm happy to say the Nativity went well. Lily remembered her line and gave a beaming smile of pride when she delivered it. I was so very proud of her too as, even though she was nervous, she was brave enough to put herself forward for it in the first place and played her part beautifully. What a star!
The last week of the school autumn term has finally arrived and with it has come a deluge of Christmas activity. There is some event or other happening every day and, along with my own Christmas preparations, I am doing my very best to avoid feeling pressured and becoming overwhelmed because, no matter how hard I try, it is so very easy to fall into that trap at this time of year.
Therefore, on Monday I took myself off for a walk. I had the morning to myself and usually I would have spent the time tidying the house or wrapping presents but I made a conscious decision to take some time out, to switch off and relax for a while. It had been a long time since I had been for a walk all by myself. Not to go shopping or even to work, but a walk for the sole purpose of walking, and I had forgotten how much I enjoy it.
It was a dark day but, as I headed up the hill away from home, I broke free of the mist clinging to the floor of the valley and, as I reached the narrow lane, the silence was welcoming. I briefly lost myself in the stillness of the morning, only to then jump out of my skin at least three times as squirrels suddenly scampered across the path in front of me! So much for relaxing, but I made a new friend....
My Christmas preparations are all but complete now. There is just the small matter of gift wrapping and the food to buy, so I am sure it will all be sorted in time, although, there is a strong probability I will have forgotten something. Once the weekend arrives, however, I am looking forward to relaxing and enjoying this festive season.