About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

New Year Ramblings

As I started typing this post the sun came out and shone in through the window*. This feels like a rare treat and I'm tempted to jump up and go straight outside to appreciate it, but Ian's just made a cup of tea, and it's too wet out for sitting and drinking tea. It's been raining almost continuously since I wrote about the beautiful autumn weather we had in September and October. Apart from three or four days, we've had variations on light rain, heavy rain, and that kind of closed-in weather we get here where it's not exactly raining or foggy, but you get wet when you go outside anyway.

Since I usually suffer from seasonal depression, with my mood strongly affected by light, I'd expect to be feeling pretty dreadful about now. I'm glad to report that it's different this year. I'm certainly not enjoying these dark days, but they're making me feel grumpy rather than listless. I feel like a reasonably active human being who could get stuff done if only it wasn't so cold and wet. And if I didn't have a cat sitting on me.

As I've mentioned previously, I've had depression throughout this year, and I've been working through several issues. That is to say, instead of looking at depression as an illness in need of a cure (or treatment of symptoms), I've tried to find the underlying causes and address them directly. I know that for many people, depression doesn't have identifiable, psychological causes, but I suspected that in my case it did. That's not to say it's a straightforward response to currently depressing events, but that there are things buried in my psyche that are causing me problems. Some of the things I found were well buried indeed, relating to the death of my mother twenty seven years ago.

Without much in the way of responsibilities this year, I had the luxury of space to deal with my mental health. Time will tell how much healing has actually taken place but, cautiously, at this point in time, I feel that I've made a great deal of progress. I feel ready to start again with the garden, ready to reconnect with friends - I've been a hermit this year. If I said to you, You must come and visit! I really meant it, I just couldn't quite manage the necessary to make it happen - and ready to put my life back on the internet in the form of intermittent blog posts. In short, it feels like new year, and that looks a lot like a set of new year's resolutions. That makes me a bit nervous, knowing how such resolutions usually go, but hey ho, let's roll with it and see what happens.

In the meantime, here are some pictures of starlings coming in to roost under Aberystwyth pier, on a day of actual sunshine that we took advantage of, shortly before Christmas:

Here come the first of the starlings

Looking south along the seafront, there was a beautiful sunset

and in the other direction, the moon.

More starlings heading for the pier...

... and down to roost under it.

One more picture of the moon, with lamps and a few late starlings.


* This event was remarkable enough to make the news. I say news - this is a joke news site, but still, they were very quick to report this remarkable sighting!


  1. That sounds like progress to me! I think it's very tempting to chalk emotional issues up to things like "brain chemistry" and while I don't doubt that physiological things play a role, I do think that it's also a convenient excuse that keeps us nicely insulated from our "issues."

    So congratulations on facing some of your stuff... it really does make a difference. My current struggle is that I'm always waiting for the time when I will be "finished" or "healed" or something like that. I'm slowly and reticently coming to the conclusion that it doesn't work that way - at least it doesn't work the way I fantasize that it would... you know... "all better now, never have to think about any of that uncomfortable stuff again!" So my current struggle is to really own and embrace it all, each and every day.

    But as they say, it's like an onion, so I look forward to the new layers and challenges, whatever they may be.

    Big Hugs!

    1. Yes, I'm trying to resist the temptation to think, "Done that, better now!" I have to keep in mind that facing issues once doesn't make them go away entirely. Owning and embracing it all every day sounds tough, but I think I know what you mean. If the alternative is to shove it out of the way, then it's not really dealt with, and it's bound to come back and cause trouble later.

      The brain chemistry/psychological things is a curious distinction for me, because I don't believe in a human spirit, or soul, that's separate from the body, therefore every psychological thing is also a brain chemistry thing and vice versa. However, the two ways of looking at the thing lead to different approaches to dealing with problems, either chemical treatments or psychological treatments. Both work in their own ways, but I feel the chemical approach rather lacks the subtlety of the psychological approach, though sometimes the latter is so difficult that chemicals are the only option, in which case they can be life saving.

      Thanks for hugs :-)

    2. I totally agree. I tend to look at the chemical/medication approach as treating the symptoms and not the problem. But sometimes that's really all one can do.

  2. BTW, the photos are gorgeous! I'm hoping you get some sunshine soon, sounds like you're overdue. :-)

  3. Love the photos - I've never seen starling murmurations before. I can now, unfortunately, relate to your depression (and lack of blog pots). I'm not used to depression at all and it sucks big time. I hope you can work your way out of it and am glad you see some light at the end of the tunnel.

    1. Depression's not like ordinary responses to bad things, is it? Even when it is a response to a bad thing. I'm very sorry that you now know first hand what that means. There is light at the end of the tunnel, even if you can't see it yet. The thing I always hang on to is, "This too shall pass." And it does.


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