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Hogmanay 2020

I’ve decided not to do a yearly round up like so many others. Every time I switch on the telly or listen to the radio they seem obsessed with summarising events from the year gone by. It’s not that I don’t at times reflect on life but come on, it gets quite ridiculous at this time of year. Are the days between Christmas and New Year worthless then? Are the 27-30th of December not worth considering in their own right but merely regarded as a time for looking back?

Right now outside my window the sky is the palest blue with wisps of white clouds. Sunshine tinges the Sutherland Mountains with a slight orange glow. While back in Ross-shire white edges everything as the frost has decided it is going to stay with us for the day. This time is worth remembering for its beauty alone. It is unfair to use it as a stop gap between the festive events alone.

It is a time of long walks. A trip to a frozen loch where ducks may mingle at our feed in search of food. Bosie will ignore them hoping to pick up a morsel before they can. As we walk around the winding path the noise of the ducks will echo like demented laughter around us. Our breath will mix with the cold air leaving swirls of mist in our wake. Frozen cheeks and tingling fingers will encourage us home to coffee laced with something tasty and perhaps finally the Christmas cake will be cut.

This time should not be dismissed by mere reflection these are glorious days in their own right. Today for example is the perfect winter’s day that we so love in the Highlands. Cold, clear and full of promise.

So I am looking forward instead of back. I’m hoping that my third Grumpa book for Gàidhlig children will be out in 2021. A little late I grant you but still it is coming. Blàs; Roots in the Soil, the second in the Blàs series for readers who like contemporary light hearted women’s fiction should also make it into the public domain in 2021. The cover is in development at this moment. Notice I am skipping over the editing but that will happen in time I’m sure.

I am looking forward to hopefully getting back to school visits and Bookbug sessions at the libraries. I have really missed all the children and young families. Having you own helps but meeting new parents, babies and young readers are a privilege I so enjoy and miss.

I don’t however look forward to the increase in road traffic or the clock watching which will be an inevitable part of things returning to ‘normal’.

However at the moment most of all I will be enjoying the days between Christmas and New Year. I’ll help out a fellow writer, I’ll take the dog for more walks than she may like. I’ll pass the time of day in gentle conversation with family and friends at a safe distance which means video calling and old fashion phone calls. I’ll feed the birds and wonder at how tall the tips of the spring bulbs have become. I’ll crunch my way around many a loch and woodland. I may even venture to the frozen beach where the wind will whip the sand into my face giving me a facial scrub.

I won’t fritter away the time reflecting on what could have been or should have been or actually did happen. I will bathe in each day and make the most of what it brings.

I will celebrate when the chimes ring at midnight on the 31st of December and wonder at how many will be doing the same despite the lack of mixing. I will consider at how I managed to actually keep writing this weekly blog despite all the events life threw at me.

I will raise a glass or maybe two to all my family and friends, readers and writers and wish them and you health and happiness. But firstly I will enjoy all these days in between and relish them for their own worth. Bliadhna Mhath Ùr/Happy New Year when it comes.

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