I hope the New Year brings you some of the books you hanker after (all would leave us nothing to look forward to, and what is life without something to look forward to); health, happiness and perhaps horses.
My one and only resolution last year was to review more books. I have an uneasy feeling I didn't manage to review more books in 2010 than I did in 2009, but frankly the desire to fossick about in the depths of the blog and check the statistics is not with me. As ever, I feel I Can Do Better.
My life seems to be a constant procession of things left undone, but now I am pushing on a bit, I know I just have to settle for the odd thing achieved here and there, however long it takes. One of these came about because our last minute change of plan for Christmas dinner (turkey instead of venison stew) meant there had to be some serious work done in our very small freezer to find space for the meat we needed to freeze. So, at last, I have done something with last year's (and by this I mean 2009's) redcurrants, blackberries and sloes, plus the lurking berry selections in numerous plastic bags we'd never got round to finishing.
The berry selection is now Mixed Berry Jelly, and jolly good it is too.
I do however have two resolutions; neither of which is even remotely bookish. Number 1 is to recover at least one of our kitchen chairs, as they are so vile even I am starting to think that asking guests to sit on them is a bit much (not that this stops me, I must admit).
I have four of these chairs, which I spotted in a junk shop while I was a student at Sheffield, and persuaded my grandmother to buy me for my 21st. The glorious leatherette with which they are covered wasn't especially wonderful even then, and my grandmother was unimpressed. She and I never really saw eye-to-eye on buying the secondhand and tatty. She had been brought up in Langford, with the family crammed into a 2 up, 2 down cottage until my great grandfather, who was a man of considerable business acumen, worked his way up, with his brother, to owning three farms. My grandmother was never ostentatious, but I don't think she ever forgot the struggle of early life, and she liked new and not make-do-and-mend. She'd had quite enough of that.
Still, she was prepared to humour me, particularly as I dwelt with some enthusiasm on how lovely the chairs would be after I'd had them recovered once I had graduated and had a job. Well, I graduated, and have had numerous jobs, but it is now 28 years on from my 21st and not one of those chairs has been recovered. Having lived in a succession of disaster areas of houses there has always been something far more pressing to do with any spare money.
However, this year will I hope be the year I manage to recover one of these chairs. I am hoping I can find a local upholstery class that is a. on at a time I can do and b. I can afford, or c. failing both of these, a good and useful book. All suggestions gratefully received.
Resolution 2 is to tackle our back attic - not in a meaningful sense of doing anything about the plaster (beyond dire) or floor (you'll have to wait for pictures of that for reasons that will become plain), but just to tidy up the junk. We are very, very spoiled in that we have plenty of space, but this means that you can tidy up by shoving everything into the space and closing the door, and that is what I have done. Look at the beautiful purity of the top landing:
Before Christmas it was full of junk - mostly my daughter's, whose idea of tidying her room is to shove everything outside her bedroom door onto the landing and pretend it is not there. Can't think where she gets that from. You can just about see a dark doorway in the picture; the doorway to the back attic. Daughter's cast-offs and rubbish are now in here:
Look at the elegant pathway I have created through the junk. It runs in a more or less U shape around the room.
I had wondered, as I was photographing the chair that is Resolution 1, where the fourth was, and lo, at the far side of the back attic, it is:
Collapsed seat and all.
Flushed with the success of that find, my hope is that if I post every now and then as I clear a section of attic that it will encourage me to actually get on with it rather than close the door and pretend none of it is there.