2017! Gosh, we made it... And though our numbers are depleted somewhat and some of us are anxious for the coming year, I think the first day of January should be one of hope, some contemplation too, and reflection. Turkey is off to such a terrible start I can't be jubilant in this post, but I am hopeful. I hope that things will get better, and I intend to remain hopeful, and I stand by what I wrote yesterday when I said I believe we all have some power in this world to make our corner a little brighter and kinder.
Last year began with a very cold grey day and the first picture I took in 2016 looked as bleak as can be. By contrast it's a beautiful day here: cold, but not shockingly so, and very bright indeed. My first pictures of the year (below) are of the hens and for the first time in well over a year I managed to get a decent picture of Ruby!
|Florence (left) and Meg (right)|
The first thing I'm really looking forward to for 2017 is the 6th January: there's been a Protection Zone Order in the UK because there was bird flu in Europe and the Middle East, so all poultry had to be kept separated from wild birds and also they must eat their food indoors. So I have let the hens on the patio once or twice but only when supervised (so wild birds didn't go near them and they didn't dig or pick things up off the ground: not much fun for them), and other than that they've been stuck in the aviary since 6th December and eating their food in the utility room. I know they've missed digging in the garden so it'll be a very happy day to let them roam about as normal.
Other than that, of course I'm looking forward to spring and being back in the garden. I gather snow and very cold temperatures are expected first, and there's been little snow this winter so far so I must admit it would be pleasant to have a few snow days, but yes, I am very much looking forward to getting back in the garden! All my bulbs are planted, and a few early irises and daffodils are beginning to come through (just tiny green tips in the soil right now). I'm so excited to see the them and the snowdrops! I planted some bluebells too, but it was my first attempt and I don't know if they'll like the soil. If not I'll try again later in the year in pots. I'm also very excited for night scented stock - I grew that for the first time last year and it's true what they say - it is the nicest scent in the world!
And, you won't believe this - after what I've written about snow just now, it is actually snowing now! It's very light and think it'll sharp turn to rain...
Book plans this year are as ever numerous, and I think I'm off to a good start: last night I read The First Part of Tamburlaine the Great by Christopher Marlowe (I'm always by myself for New Year's Eve - my boyfriend being an entertainer is working and everyone else round here is asleep!) and this morning, as I was up early with the hens, I read the very short Utopia by Thomas More. Later today if there's time I plan on reading To Let by John Galsworthy, the final of the first Forsyte Saga trilogy. As for the rest of January - I'm particularly looking forward to reading The Heir of Redclyffe by Charlotte Mary Yonge and Émile Zola's first novel Claude's Confession. I would also really like to read Plato's Protagorus and Meno, and at least make a start on Aristotle's Politics as well as read, or again make a start on, a Russian novel for the Russian Literature Challenge. I'm thinking either Crime and Punishment or On the Eve by Turgenev. I shall see - I don't want to be too prescriptive with my reading this year. As of now though that's what's on my radar! Oh, and the Deal Me In Challenge: my first title (which I'll say a few words on later in the week) will be The Normal Dean of the Present Day by Anthony Trollope, that I would like to read today, and the eleventh instalment of The Pickwick Papers: chapters 30 - 32.
Apart from all the reading and gardening, my only other resolutions are to take more pictures and share them on here. I'm always fascinated by other people's gardens and I'd like to show mine: it's certainly not Sissinghurst and I'd be sharing them more out of interest in looking at the changes over the year and how things are progressing (the garden is still in its early stages - only a few years ago it was just a lawn). And aside from the garden, I'm also planning on a big spring clean with a little redecorating (but you don't need to see my attempts at painting so I'll refrain from pictures of that!).
So, there's nothing else to say but Happy New Year! May your new year be happy, healthy, safe, and full of excellent books :)