old beginnings

It’s the first weekend of a new year. Whether you think it also counts as a new decade may depend on whether you’re the sort of person who’ll get lost down a rabbit-hole if they google “why numbering should start at zero”.

The fact that last sentence took me over an hour to write would tend to suggest that I am a rabbit-hole explorer who thinks 2021 will be the start of the new decade. But I also think I really can’t justify the year 2020 not being part of the Twenties, so it looks like I’ll stay sitting on the fence.
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the calm before the storm

I think a lot of people feel that 2019 hasn’t been the easiest of years. There have certainly been highs and lows in my own life, and I gather that even the Queen recognised something of the sort in her Christmas speech. I didn’t watch the speech, but the report on Time website says:

Talking about the need for reconciliation and forgiveness, Elizabeth says: “The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference.”

Perhaps that’s why my attention was caught by the weather forecast this morning, which showed a constant and unexceptionable temperature all day long.
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mostly monotone

We all know that, as the year turns, Mother Nature’s palette of colours changes. But while we indecisive mortals might hum and haw about redecoration for weeks or months on end, visiting different shops, compiling mood boards, comparing colour swatches, holding fabrics alongside wallpaper samples, and trying out tester pots of paint, she just gets on and gets the job done.
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snakes and lions

It’s April, but we don’t seem to be enjoying Chaucer’s “shoures soote” – the sweet showers that bring forth spring flowers. Yes, the parks and gardens are bright with blossoms and blooms aplenty, but the weather is as changeable as it has ever been.

I haven’t actually seen snow here this month, but there’s been hail and temperatures below zero, as well as heavy rain, brilliant sunshine, strong winds and days of constant grey sky and mizzle.
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small gratitudes

There’s been a lot written in recent years about the importance of being grateful.

The traditional definition of gratitude is probably focused on the recognition and appreciation for things we receive, or actions that benefit us, particularly when we’ve done nothing to warrant these.

The problem with that idea, though, is that it implies the existence of a benefactor – someone who does something for us, or gives something to us. There are so many things in life to be grateful for and many of them just seem to happen without any external intervention; if you don’t believe in a Higher Power, there’s no one specific to thank. Perhaps the thing to do then, is to convert gratitude into an attitude.
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beginnings and endings

The long hot summer is forgotten, the grass is green and straggly again and there is a distinctly autumnal nip in the air.

The horse chestnuts seem to have really suffered from the drought – rather than turning colour with the season, their leaves are all shrivelled and mottled – and I’ve hardly seen any conkers, though there are at least some sweet chestnuts.

There’s also more beech mast than I thought possible, and a fair number of acorns, too, so hopefully the squirrels should have a reasonable chance of surviving the winter.
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things worth celebrating

The August bank holiday weekend is just about at an end.

Despite it having been the longest, hottest summer in who knows how long, yesterday we had torrential rain and today has been as grey and breezy as might have been expected if global warming had never been invented.

Essentially, there are no more national fiestas now until Christmas.
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