Hoping for a better year all round

Well, January has certainly shown its teeth here in Ireland and I think the same – if not worse – in the UK.  In the last few weeks we’ve had the big freeze, complete with frozen pipes and no water before Christmas.  This was followed by some torrential rain and a leaky roof.  In my last post I was hopeful about the roof but, alas, my optimism was unfounded.  When the rain returned in the New Year so did the leak.  Faster, longer and much worse this time.  Morgan came back to inspect the damage and his joke about a new roof was no longer funny. We had hoped for a better year but it is starting with a serious, and very expensive, problem.

Absolutely useless!

We have also had a few issues in the bathroom (the ball cock fell off last week!)  This shouldn’t have been too much of a problem but we couldn’t turn off the water.  There is a penny valve on the pipe, but it is facing the wall with less than 2 inches clearance.  Sometimes I almost despair at the small glitches that lead to big difficulties. 

Spot the moorhen

The cold returned last week and because it is so damp it feels much worse than the thermometer indicates.  The pond over the road froze for a couple of days but is back again and so are the birds.  The geese flew in last week, honking and wheeling overhead and yesterday I saw a heron gliding over the house.  There are a couple of moorhens enjoying the open water too.  The sun is still low for much of the day but the colours in the trees and bushes are very beautiful.  I think I’ll need to move my desk away from the window.  It is too much of a temptation, gazing out and drifting into a daydream.

Puppy Brain in Easons

I need to focus more as I’m finally returning to writing seriously.  I’ve several projects in hand and some deadlines, which concentrate the mind wonderfully.  These include editing and publishing the fifth Alex Hastings book, “A Long Shadow”.  Although it was accepted by Impress way back in 2021 nothing came of it. The new owners floundered and finally bankrupted the company.  Now I have it back and can get it ready for launching towards the end of the year.  I’m also plotting out the next book in the “Puppy Brain” trilogy, working with Jem to move the story forwards.  Jem’s still smiling after seeing his name on a real book and has some good ideas for the next one but with spring and the show season heading our way will probably take more of a back seat this time.

I have managed to recover a number of Impress books, saved from pulping.  The first lot are on their way and the second are hopefully being located next week.  I don’t know how many there are or which titles either yet.  If anyone wants any of the earlier Alex Hastings books please let me know and I can arrange to sign and send direct.  “Puppy Brain” is doing well, both paperback and e-book. The paperback is currently on offer at Amazon with 20% off so why not grab a copy?  Thank you to everyone who has bought it.  An even bigger “thank you” to the readers who have added a short review and rating.  It makes such a difference to the availability as this is set by an algorithm.  Perceived expressions of interest lead to more publicity and orders which drive sales.  What a strange world we live in.

With postal strikes in the UK and very inclement weather in both countries we are still receiving notes and cards intended for Christmas.  This means we haven’t been too worried by longer silences.  However I’ve had a number of messages from old friends in the past week.  It seems the last year has been very unkind to many.  We are still extremely tired, for longer than we expected following the efforts of the move.  Although we are recovering, this is slow and not helped by delays and problems in the house.  We are lucky compared to some of our friends however. 

A sunrise to make you smile

There has been a lot of ill health, some but not all Covid related.  People have lost relatives and loved ones. It feels almost as if half the world has PTSD from the past three years.  There’s a general air of weariness, a dusting of depression surrounding so many people.  I feel it will take a long time to recover from recent events.  We are lucky, living in such a beautiful place.  Even the freezing mornings give glorious sunrises.  The birds are singing, flying in formation through the wood and occasionally peering in through the windows.  We are meeting some new people and making friends despite still being quite isolated.  The roof will be a pain but is necessary.  There’ll be more insulation too so next winter shouldn’t seem so cold, looking on the bright side.

We are hoping for a better year ahead, for us and for all our friends and readers.  May you all recover, keep safe and prosper.  May some of your dreams come true.

Thank you for reading and I hope to see you in two weeks.