Best wishes for 2014

I hope you have all had a restful time over Christmas.  I know for some of you it may have been a very difficult time and I hope you found ways to allow yourself to do what you needed to do - a challenge for all of us I think as the festive pressures take hold of us.  I seem to have just bobbed up to the surface again after time off over Christmas and New Year and am now beginning to really realise this is 2014 and that this autumn we will be running another festival in Oxford.  So plans are forming and people who are interested are gathering to help shape the festival including Sue Brayne of "The D Word" and Hazel May, a national expert on dementia.  It feels marvellous to have people involved in the planning stages and we are looking forward to building on the last Kicking the Bucket festival - offering some new themes and approaches as well as retaining what worked last time.  


Meanwhile, winter has come to the burial ground.  The leaves are all off in the recent gails and rain although they were very slow to leave and even in December we had some trees still holding their leaves around the farm.  I love the bare bones of winter once it finally arrives.  I never want the golden days of autumn to leave but once they really do I start to savour the clarity of the landscape, the varied subtle tones of colour that we overlook when distracted by leaves, and flowers and colourful buds.  The gorgeous wine coloured stems of the brambles for example and the dark black buds of the ash against the grey stems, the tips of the branches of the silver birch and its shining bark. I find it refreshing somehow but of course we are not in a part of the country that has been really battered by recent weather.  Some of our fields are pretty soggy but the burial ground drains well and we have heat and light in our house so we know we are very lucky.   Most of our cows are inside in the warm barns too so we can batten down the hatches, light the fire and enjoy the dark.  And of course the days are already pulling away from the winter solstice and the hazels are already festooned in catkins.  I wonder if you saw some of the wonderful shooting stars in December - so bright and crisp against the black velvet skies.  We are lucky here that there is not so much light pollution so we really notice the stars.


Best wishes for 2014.