I’m reeling here having just caught up with 2 weeks of The Archers ( I remember the dark days before iPlayer when I just had to miss everything).  No falling off roofs this year (6 years ago now) but a double surprise that had me gasping out loud – much to the consternation and annoyance of others who thought I had hurt myself.

I’m back from Christmas travels, reluctantly returning the hire car today.  The highlight of this Christmas has been being out of London in the countryside in the most glorious winter light.  The sun has been utterly beautiful and one morning in Yorkshire there had been a frost and the fields behind the pub we were staying at were white, and bathed in the light of the morning sun.  The temperature has been perfect: cold but no wind.  Proper winter cold to my mind.

Christmas Day was spent with one side of the family near the south coast, the in-between bit up in Yorkshire with the other side of the family, and New Year with a couple of dogs (and their owners) in the Home Counties.  When I returned the car, the woman said we had driven nearly 1000 miles.

The weather has veered between glorious winter sunlight and fog/torrential rain.  The sort of winter I like. But oh it made me want to leave living in London.  I miss seeing the seasons so, so much. We had a mad moment considering buying some Tea Rooms for sale in a small Yorkshire town.  The moment passed.

I was thinking what  I wanted from life:

Health for my family.  A job I love. A three day a week job. To live in Yorkshire.  And have a dog.

But probably not run a Tea Room.

And talking of animals the cat (who is seriously eccentric) has now decided to lie on my lap after 10 years of rarely being in the same room as her owners.  Her bed at the moment is lying under the Christmas tree.  Or knocking off a pile of paper and things onto the floor from the surface of a chest of drawers  so she can lie there.

Coming back from collecting her from the Cattery (the “cat hotel” where she has 4 beds while all the other cats are in cages), I caught up with some radio programmes I had downloaded.  I am well aware that I sigh a lot and so I downloaded The Sigh, which turned out to be a gem of a radio programme.  It looked at sighing in music, poetry and novels as well as the scientific reasons for it.  And yes animals do sigh too.  If mammals didn’t sigh we would die.  It’s very important for our breathing and was described as a “resetting of our breath”.  The  poet Imtiaz Dharker whose progamme is was, ended by describing sighing as being the body speaking without words, often just to itself and no one else.  I love that.

For other quirky and fascinating Radio 4 short documentaries go HERE (Seriously…)

I have been a bit sad this Christmas.  Apart from the deaths of so many famous people (I still can’t believe Victoris Wood,  Prince, Alan Rickman, Caroline Aherne, Terry Wogan, Ronnie Corbett, Carla Lane and Jean Alexander aren’t here any more), a relative and of a good friend both died, and  people around me are experiencing illness and bereavement.

My Dad is awaiting a heart operation which my Aunt has just had very successfully, and the cat is getting older and has hyperthyroidism.

Winter is that time of year for such things, and it makes you realise you have to get on with life.  I’m still wobbling between careers and not earning enough, but I have to focus now on being proactive in order to create change.

But I love the winter.  I love dark nights and dark mornings as  I sleep so well – as a lighting designer the irony is I hate light mornings as I wake up too early and spend most of summer and spring overwrought through lack of sleep.  One of my favourite ever books is The Wind In The Willows.  I am Mole.

I’ve spent time with family and friends and although I am sick of hearing about hygge, I have had, and continue to have a lot of it.  I count my blessings.

I’m trying and failing to think of my highlights of 2016.  My summer holiday was wonderful, spending long quality time with friends in France.  I loved seeing The Rheingan Sisters.  I have discovered The Foundling Museum.  I went to hear Ali Smith talk at the National Gallery and I was able to tell her I went to Ferrara because of her book How To Be Both.  I saw Guys and Dolls at The Savoy.  I made four new gorgeous dog friends (2 mixes, 1 Westie, 1 Patterdale).  I saw Showboat at the New London Theatre.  I saw Elegy and Faith Healer at the Donmar.  I saw a recording of Lemn Sissay’s Radio 4 programme.  I got 2 magazine article commissions.  I had my first paid lighting commission.

…and other things.

I’m a lucky man.

I love winter

January 2017.  Bugger I haven’t bought  a new diary.